Toyota again the number one car brand globally, but not all is well

Despite posting an annual sales record, Toyota’s top brass are forcing change across the company.

For the fourth consecutive year in a row, Toyota has been crowned the world’s top car company – posting an annual sales record of 11.2 million vehicles for 2023.

While the figure represents a 7.2 per cent increase in global sales for Toyota, company Chairman Akio Toyoda has this week apologised for a series of recent scandals in which the Japanese car giant and its brands admitted to cheating official certifications.

Leaders of all 17 subsidiaries owned by Toyota were summoned by the chairman, after news broke this week of “irregularities” with engine testing – forcing Toyota to halt shipments of the HiLux, Fortuner, HiAce, Prado, LandCruiser 300 Series, and Lexus LX, among others.

The latest scandal follows admissions Toyota’s small-car brand Daihatsu had cheated safety tests, resulting in it stopping all deliveries of 64 models globally in December 2023 – including 22 vehicles and an engine sold as Toyota products.

Daihatsu has been forced to recall approximately 300,000 vehicles, according to reports.

In 2022, Toyota’s truck division, Hino, admitted to having falsified data on engine testing dating back to 2003 in order to pass emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

“I would like to express my deepest apologies to our customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and concern caused by the successive irregularities at Hino Motors, Daihatsu and Toyota Industries,” Toyoda said at a news conference this week, Reuters reports.

The Toyota chairman bowed in apology for the business’s transgressions, and revealed one of the instructions to his affiliates and their employees was to “Be honest and make things in a right way”.

“I will be watching what actions are taken,” he told the audience.

“As the person responsible for [Toyota Group’s] companies, I will be taking actions.”

The recent scandals overshadowed what should have been a moment of celebration for Toyota, with the company’s global group sales exceeding 10 million vehicles for nine out of the past 10 years – thanks to 2020 being marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the entire auto industry.

Toyota was able to stay ahead of Volkswagen Group, despite the German car giant reporting a 12 per cent rise in deliveries to 9.2 million cars globally.

MORE:Search Used Toyota Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Toyota Cars for Sale
Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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