TOKYO (AP) – Hino Motors, a truck maker that is part of the Toyota Group, systematically incorrectly falsified emissions data dating back to 2003, according to the results of an investigation released Tuesday.
President Satoshi Ogiso bowed deeply in a hastily convened news conference and apologized to customers and other stakeholders.
“I am deeply sorry,” he said. “Unfortunately, there was misconduct for a variety of models.”
Ogiso said the teams that developed the engine knew they could not meet the target and felt so much pressure that they falsified the test results. He said this led to more cheating, as the workers hid their wrongdoings.
Hino admitted in March that it had provided fake data on tests required by the government on emissions and mileage. A group of outside experts was formed to investigate.
In the 17-page report, it blamed an “inside-looking and conservative culture” at the company, which led to a lack of participation and solidarity among employees.
Experts told reporters that the company’s leadership failed to engage with frontline workers, put numerical goals and deadlines first, and sacrificed operational processes.
Hino said it takes the findings seriously and will come up with measures to prevent recurrence, including setting up a proper investigative system, amending the rules and strengthening corporate culture.
Ogiso promised to educate Hino’s workforce and nurture a more open corporate culture and proper work ethic, emphasizing that the problem was company-wide, not just with the teams in question.
“I am determined to see that we are reborn, and we do it in clear action,” said Ogiso, who previously worked at Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s top automaker.
The misconduct uncovered included changing emissions-related durability tests on a wide range of models and tampering with fuel efficiency information in heavy-duty engines.
Hino has recalled 67,000 vehicles in Japan related to incorrect data. Ogiso said how the latest revelations will affect Hino’s financial results is still unclear.
He said whether he and the former officials would resign to take the responsibility would be decided later after a thorough review of the scam.
Regarding models sold overseas, Hino said it was cooperating with US and European authorities in their investigations.
In addition to Hino trucks, Land Cruiser produces vehicles sold under the Toyota brand, including Prado sport utility vehicles. Hino has informed the Japanese government of the findings. Hino shares fell 10% on Tuesday in Tokyo.
The Hino scandal, the 50.1% owned by Toyota, is the latest of many that has proved an embarrassment to a country that prides itself on a reputation for discipline, craftsmanship and attention to detail.
In 2018, soon after Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru Corp. acknowledged similar misconduct in their fuel-economy data, Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. admitted to falsifying emissions data.
In 2018, Japanese prosecutors collected information on major steel maker Kobe Steel on a wide range of products shipped to more than 680 companies, including aluminum castings and copper tubes for autos, aircraft, instruments and trains, over a long period of years. accused of falsification.
In 2015, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. An investigation by the U.S. found widespread fraud on mileage data over 25 years. The automaker admitted to covering vehicle defects such as break-ups, faulty clutches and improperly installed fuel tanks in the early 2000s. That misconduct began in the 1970s.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter