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Toyota subsidiary shuts down after admitting to tampering with safety tests

Daihatsu, the Japanese automaker owned by Toyota, has closed its factories in Japan, months after the automaker admitted to tampering with safety tests of its vehicles, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The closure follows Daihatsu Motor Co.’s announcement last week to suspend all vehicle shipments in and out of Japan after an independent investigation found problems with 64 vehicle models .

In the latest investigation, the company said investigators discovered 174 new cases of irregularities in safety testing and other procedures across 25 testing categories. This included evidence of tampering with safety tests, creating false information or fabricating test data, the company said.

The release of details of the investigation prompted Japan’s Transport Ministry to begin on-site inspections last week, according to several local media outlets. These inspections focus on problems that appear to have been present at the company for decades, with the first irregularity dating back to 1989.

Daihatsu announced this week that it began closing some lines on Monday and halted production at its four Japanese factories in Shiga, Kyoto and Oita prefectures, as well as at its headquarters in Osaka on Tuesday, the AP reported.

The company did not say when production would resume, but a company representative told CNN the shutdown is expected to last at least until the end of January.

The Hill has contacted Toyota for further comment.

Last week’s investigation and the ongoing probe by Japan’s Transport Ministry are the latest blow to Daihatsu, which has faced several problems over the past year.

In April, Daihatsu admitted to violating crash testing standards and procedures on more than 88,000 vehicles, including cars mainly sold under the Toyota brand in Thailand and Malaysia.

Later in May, the company said it discovered other issues during its side crash tests for two hybrid electric vehicles.

In a statement last week, Toyota apologized for the “inconvenience and concern” the findings caused stakeholders and stressed the importance of continuing reform.

“We believe that to prevent this from happening again, in addition to a review of certification operations, fundamental reform is necessary to revitalize Daihatsu as a company,” Toyota wrote. “Toyota will provide its full support to the revitalization of Daihatsu so that it can return to its roots as the “compact mobility company” that Toyota and Daihatsu strive to be, as well as regain the trust of all parties stakeholders.

Daihatsu’s closure is expected to impact around 9,000 employees working in domestic production, a company representative told CNN. Daihatsu factories have supply chains including 8,136 companies across Japan, with total revenue of about $15.53 billion, the AP reported, citing market research firm Teikoku Databank.

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