A key unit of Toyota Motor Corp faked emissions data on some engines dating back to at least 2003, more than a decade earlier than previously reported, according to a company-commissioned investigation released on Tuesday.
In a rare criticism of corporate culture in Japan, the investigating committee appointed by truck and bus manufacturer Hino Motors Ltd blamed the crisis on an environment in which engineers did not feel free to challenge superiors.
Hino established the committee, which is made up of lawyers and a corporate counsel, this year after admitting to fabricating data pertaining to the emissions and fuel performance of four engines. Its conclusions, issued on Tuesday, detail an inflexible environment in which employees struggled to feel “psychological safety,” according to the committee.
Management’s perception of prior achievement contributed to the culture, according to committee chairperson Kazuo Sakakibara, a former head prosecutor at the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.
“The magnitude of their past successes has made them unable to change or look at themselves objectively, and they have been unaware of changes in the external environment and values,” he told a briefing.
“The organisation has become an ill-organized one where people are unable to say what they cannot do.”
Satoshi Ogiso, Hino’s president, apologised to reporters and stated that management takes its obligations seriously. He stated that he had received a communication from Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, in which he stated that the misbehaviour at Hino had breached the trust of all stakeholders.
Hino stated that it would develop a new corporate governance system within three months.
According to the manufacturer, the committee discovered evidence of falsification dating back to at least October 2003, rather than the previously mentioned timeframe of roughly 2016.
The transportation ministry, which revoked the truck manufacturer’s certification of the impacted engines in March, announced an on-site inquiry of the company.
Hino has recalled over 47,000 cars manufactured between April 2017 and March of this year, and the company has stated that an additional 20,900 vehicles will be recalled.
There was no evidence that executives outside the powertrain unit were aware of the misbehaviour, according to the committee.
According to committee member Makoto Shimamoto, the division demands significant competence, which has hampered employee transfers and allowed wrongdoing to continue.
“Misconducts have been passed down within the unit, but there were no monitoring functions in other units, which is a major issue,” he said. “Even if there was no personnel movement within the organization, these issues should have been found.”
Ogiso stated that the corporation began to prioritise growth and volume over quality, compliance, and personnel development around the year 2000.
As a result, he claims, numerical criteria such as product development timelines and fuel efficiency took precedence over operating according to correct processes.
Hino is 50.1 per cent owned by Toyota. Hino’s stock dropped over 10% on Tuesday.
Hino has joined a long list of Japanese automakers implicated in deceptive emissions testing.
Mazda Motor Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp, and Yamaha Motor Co Ltd were charged with unlawfully testing automobiles for fuel efficiency and pollution in 2018.
The previous year, Subaru Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd were scrutinised for the same reason.
The veracity of automakers’ emissions data was called into question in 2015, when Volkswagen AG acknowledged to installing secret software in hundreds of thousands of U.S. diesel cars to cheat emissions testing, and that up to 11 million vehicles globally may have identical software.
(Adapted from Latestly.com)