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Toyota safety scandal - are UK cars affected?

  • World's largest car maker, Toyota, apologies for safety scandal 
  • Rivals Honda, Mazda and Suzuki are also due to be investigated 
  • Find out if this will affect UK cars 

Written by Paula Cullington Published: 5 June 2024 Updated: 10 June 2024

The world’s largest car maker, Toyota, has admitted to providing incorrect or manipulated safety certification data in its home country, Japan. Here we explain what the ongoing Toyota safety scandal is, and whether it impacts UK motorists.

On Tuesday 4 June 2024, Japan’s transport ministry conducted a raid on Toyota’s headquarters, escalating the ongoing scandal and leading to three of the firm’s car models being suspended from production. Rivals Honda, Mazda, and Suzuki are also due to be inspected by the Japanese authorities over similar issues.

What has Toyota admitted to doing wrong?

On 3 June 2024, Toyota Motor Corporation revealed six instances involving seven models manufactured since 2014, including some discontinued models, where the testing methods did not align with Japanese national standards.

This came to light after Toyota received instructions from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to conduct investigations into its model certification application on 26 January 2024.

As a result of the investigation, the company has halted the production of three car models: the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross.

The company has also been accused of using modified vehicles during safety collision tests for models that are no longer in production.

The June raid followed an apology from Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda to customers and car enthusiasts, issued just a day earlier.

‘We neglected the certification process and mass-produced our cars without first taking the proper precautionary steps,’ Mr Toyoda said.

Toyota sold over 11 million passenger vehicles in 2023, but the findings are said to not affect cars currently on the roads.

Last December, Toyota-owned carmaker Daihatsu paused production and closed all of its factories for over a month after admitting that it had falsified safety tests. 64 models were involved in that scandal, 24 of which were sold with Toyota branding.

Deliveries of Toyota's Yaris Cross halted over flawed certification data.

Are UK car models going to be affected?

Though the scandal has shocked the Japanese car industry, UK car models aren’t set be affected by Toyota’s faulty data.

Toyota spokesperson told Parkers: ‘This relates to a certification issue that is only applicable to vehicles sold in Japan. As such, any vehicle bought in the UK or Europe is not affected.’

Therefore, the UK version of the Yaris Cross will not be affected by the ongoing production halt in Japan.

Japanese carmaker Honda has confirmed that in the past there has been improper testing in relation to noise and engine power, but has assured Parkers that its vehicles are safe to drive and cars sold in Europe are not affected.

According to the BBC and other outlets, Mazda has halted the shipments of some cars and has said they will bear the cost to its suppliers. The findings also apply to one Suzuki car model that is no longer being produced.