(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp has stopped sales and
deliveries of its Yaris Ativ in Thailand, senior officials said on
Monday, after its affiliate Daihatsu rigged part of the door in
side-collision safety tests, trend reports with reference to reuters .
The problem may have occurred due to pressure on Daihatsu to
shorten the development time of the Ativ, Masahiko Maeda, Toyota's
CEO for the Asia region, said at a press conference in Bangkok. The
vehicles customers were currently using were safe, he added.
Toyota was working with the Thai government to resume sales of
the model, which has been produced in Toyota's Gateway plant in
Chachoengsao province, and further investigation was underway.
"If development had been carried out under appropriate
conditions, this kind of problem would of course not have
happened," Maeda said.
"I think the fact that it still happened, means there was some
kind of pressure at the development site," he said, adding that the
vehicle's relatively large size may have posed a challenge to
Daihatsu, which specialises in the production of small cars.
Toyota and Daihatsu disclosed last month they were investigating
how part of the door in side-collision safety tests carried out for
some 88,000 small cars had been changed for the purpose of side-on
crash safety testing.
Daihatsu has said that some 76,000 of those vehicles were Yaris
Ativs mainly bound for Thailand, Mexico and the Gulf Cooperation
Council. The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda said he had visited the Gateway
plant for the first time in a decade to assure workers, also saying
he had come to the Southeast Asian nation because he loved it.
Toyoda has a personal attachment to Thailand, calling it his
"home away from home" at an event to celebrate Toyota's 60th
anniversary of operations in the country late last year.
He has said that late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the only
global leader who expressed his confidence in the company after a
string of massive recalls prompted U.S. investigations and forced
him to testify before Congress in 2010.
Toyota President Koji Sato, who took over the top job from
Toyoda on April 1, was not at the press conference.
For Daihatsu, which became a wholly owned Toyota subsidiary in
2016 when Toyoda was president, Southeast Asia is an important
market, with production facilities in Indonesia and Malaysia.