Daihatsu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, is in hot water after admitting to rigging vehicles to perform better in crash tests. The issue affects four models: the Toyota Yaris Ativ, Perodua Axia, Toyota Agya, and an undisclosed upcoming product.
During side-impact crash testing, these vehicles had a notch in the interior panel of the front door. This avoided the possibility of the collision creating a sharp edge that could have injured an occupant when the side airbag deployed. When the models went on sale, they didn't have the notch.
Daihatsu's announcement said it sold 88,123 examples of these models. It delivered 76,289 units of the Toyota Yaris Ativ to Thailand, Mexico, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The automaker also moved 11,834 Perodua Axias in Thailand.
The Toyota Agya doesn't enter production until June 2023, so none are in customer hands yet. Obviously, the unannounced model isn't on sale yet, either.
Daihatsu handled the development of these vehicles and their safety testing. Toyota then branded them as the company's own products.
"Since this problem occurred with a Toyota brand passenger car, we believe that the problem is not limited to Daihatsu. We will begin by conducting a detailed investigation and thoroughly collecting facts to understand the situation, determine the true cause, and work diligently to prevent a recurrence. We will also inform the public in a timely manner regarding the facts we learn through our investigations," said Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda.
A whistleblower advised Daihatsu about this problem in April. The company conducted an initial investigation to see if the claims were accurate.
It's not yet clear who decided to cut the notch into several vehicles during crash testing. We also don't know how many people knew this was happening before the whistleblower came forward.
Daihatsu is stopping sales of these vehicles. It will re-test them with inspection and certification authorities present.