Automobile consumers place a great deal of trust that the cars and trucks they purchase have undergone rigorous inspections and countless safety checks. The smallest oversight on the most miniscule defect carries potentially catastrophic consequences.
Serious allegations that can undermine consumer confidence
Following a whistleblower report, Daihatsu, a Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate, faces accusations of rigging side-collision safety tests on part of a door. The oversights may apply to approximately 88,000 vehicles, a majority already sold and traveling down roads worldwide.
The problem involves a defect that could injure passengers during one of the more risky aspects of car travel, the deployment of an airbag. A notch on the door trim could break into a sharp edge, potentially leading to injuries to drivers or passengers. Despite the significant importance of ensuring a defect-free process, the production vehicle needed this modification.
Revelations lead to investigations
Toyota announced an investigation over the alteration in side crash testing that the chairman considers an unacceptable violation of trust that affects their customers. According to the auto manufacturer, no injuries related to the lack of testing were reported.
Whether Daihatsu senior management played a role in the rigging is unknown at this time. Affected models include current models of Toyota Yaris Ativs and Perodua Axia.
The revelation is ill-timed for Toyota as restrictions previously enacted due to a semiconductor shortage ended, and the automobile manufacturer is striving to restore production to normal levels. Their biggest obstacle now could be a decline in consumer trust involving what may be a deliberate oversight in testing to keep them safe.