Toyota announces major leadership shakeup at Daihatsu following safety scandal


Toyota announces major leadership shakeup at Daihatsu following safety scandal

The Toyota-Daihatsu vehicle certification scandal that came to light just two months ago has taken a significant turn, signalling a new chapter in the ongoing saga of within the automotive industry.

In 2023, Daihatsu found itself embroiled in a safety scandal which not only tainted its own reputation but also cast a shadow over its parent company, Toyota. The fallout was inevitable with Daihatsu's president, Soichiro Okudaira, compelled to resign in January.

Now, with the dust still settling, Toyota has made bold moves to address the crisis head-on. In a joint press conference held in Tokyo recently, Toyota's president, Koji Sato, announced the appointment of Masahiro Inoue, former CEO of Toyota Latin America, as the new head of Daihatsu. The aim is clear: to tighten control over the subsidiary and overhaul its operations to ensure such lapses are not repeated.

Furthermore, Masanori Kuwata will step into the role of executive vice president, tasked with spearheading the reform of Daihatsu's corporate culture, starting March 1. Concurrently, Daihatsu's chairman, Sunao Matsubayashi, will retire, all signalling a significant restructuring within the company.

The restructuring entails the departure or reassignment of five senior management members:

  • Chairman: Sunao Matsubayashi (Stepped down)
  • President: Soichiro Okudaira (Stepped down)
  • Director, Sales & Customer Service: Yusuke Takeda (Reassigned as Chief Officer)
  • Director, Corp. Management: Toshinori Edamoto (Reassigned as Chief Officer)
  • Director Masahiro Yamamoto (Stepped down)

Additionally, the position of Chairman will be eliminated. The following senior management members will assume new roles:

  • President: Masahiro Inoue (Former CEO of Toyota Latin America)
  • Executive Vice President: Masanori Kuwata (Formerly with Lexus International Co. and Toyota Motor Kyushu)
  • Director: Keiko Yanagi (Formerly with DCO Toyota Customer First Promotion Group)

Inoue acknowledged the challenges ahead, citing the "distortion" caused by Daihatsu's rapid expansion that needed to be addressed. He expressed his commitment to rebuilding Daihatsu and restoring its integrity in the wake of the scandal. Kuwata's appointment, given his experience in electrification initiatives and production management, underscores the importance of addressing systemic issues within the organisation.

Sato emphasised the need for a measured approach, acknowledging that Daihatsu would temporarily scale back operations to ensure a thorough resolution of the issues at hand. The decision to halt shipments late last year was prompted by internal investigations that uncovered falsified safety data.

While no injuries or deaths have been linked to this, the repercussions have reverberated throughout the industry, with Toyota itself forced to suspend shipments of certain models due to inappropriate product testing at a group company.

Despite the turmoil, Toyota remains steadfast in its commitment to quality and reliability. By implementing decisive measures, such as replacing Daihatsu's leadership with trusted Toyota executives, the company aims to restore its reputation and reaffirm its position as a leader in the automotive sector.

Only time will tell if the measures taken by Toyota are sufficient to rebuild trust and ensure the integrity of its operations in the years to come.

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.