Toyota Motor Corp announced on Tuesday that both the president and chairman of Daihatsu Motor will step down, nearly a year after the small-car unit admitted to rigging collision safety tests. These changes mark significant moves as Toyota aims to return Daihatsu to its roots as one of Japan’s iconic compact car manufacturers.
The safety certification lapses at Daihatsu and separate governance issues at truck maker Hino Motors pose reputational risks to Toyota. The recent scandals led to a rare apology from Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda last month.
In an official statement, the world’s leading automaker disclosed that Masahiro Inoue, the Latin America and Caribbean chief executive officer, will assume the role of Daihatsu’s president, succeeding Soichiro Okudaira, effective March 1. Daihatsu’s chairman, Sunao Matsubayashi, will also step down, and the position will remain vacant.
Although the outgoing executives faced significant changes, Toyota Chief Executive Koji Sato clarified to reporters that the organizational reshuffle at Daihatsu was not punitive.
Daihatsu represented 7% of Toyota’s total group sales of 11.2 million vehicles in 2023, including the luxury Lexus brand and Hino Motors. Due to the safety test certification misconduct, Daihatsu will be excluded from the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies (CJPT), a commercial vehicle partnership initiated by Toyota, Hino, and Isuzu Motors to facilitate technology development. Suzuki Motor and Daihatsu joined the partnership in July of the same year.
As part of this change, Daihatsu’s 10% equity stake in the partnership will be transferred to Toyota, according to a separate statement from the automaker.