Toyota’s Hino Trucks Faked Emissions Data Since at Least 2003: Report

An investigative committee found a company culture where engineers didn’t feel as if they could challenge their superiors. Sound familiar?

byStef Schrader|
A Hino truck.
AP Images

Hino Motors, a Toyota subsidiary that manufactures trucks and buses, falsified emissions data on four of its engines since October 2003, according to a company-commissioned probe Reuters reported this week. That means that Hino has been falsifying emissions data for more than a decade than previously announced. 

Investigators on the committee, who included lawyers as well as a corporate adviser, blame Hino's company culture, where engineers didn't feel as if they had the "psychological safety" to challenge their superiors. Now, where have we heard that line before? Oh, right—Volkswagen, the company whose Dieselgate mega-scandal brought emissions cheating to mainstream attention. 

Now Hino's in hot water for a similar issue, with a similar company culture driving the desire to fudge the numbers. 

"The magnitude of their past successes has made them unable to change or look at themselves objectively, and they have been unaware of changes in the external environment and values," said committee chairperson Kazuo Sakakibara at a briefing, Reuters reported. "The organization has become an ill-organized one where people are unable to say what they cannot do."

Sakakibara formerly served as the head prosecutor at the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office. 

According to Reuters, Hino President Satoshi Ogiso told reporters that the pressure to expand production and sales since 2000 has hindered its quality, compliance and talent development. Numerical targets like fuel efficiency or production timelines were prioritized to the detriment of everything else. 

However, unlike at Volkswagen, the committee did not find any evidence that executives outside of Hino's powertrain unit knew of the emissions issues. 

Hino established the committee to investigate emissions data issues at the company after it admitted to falsifying fuel performance and emissions data on four of its engines earlier this year. In response to the committee's latest findings, Hino has committed to coming up with a new corporate governance system in the next three months. 

Per Reuters, Ogiso apologized for the actions of his company to reporters and confirmed that Toyota president Akio Toyoda had sent him a message saying that Hino's conduct had betrayed the trust of its stakeholders. Likewise, the Japanese transportation ministry now says it will conduct an on-site investigation of Hino.

Previously, Hino said it uncovered emissions cheating dating back to only 2016. Japan's transportation ministry revoked the certification of the affected engines in March as a result, Reuters reported. So far, Hino has recalled nearly 47,000 vehicles from its earlier disclosed timeframe with another 20,900 about to be recalled, so uncovering a long history of emissions cheating will no doubt result in even more recalls for the automaker.

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