Transport ministry starts inspection of Toyota unit's plant over engine tests

Japan's transport ministry has started an onsite inspection of a Toyota Motor group company for what has been termed "irregularities" in engine certification tests.

The inspection is taking place at a factory of Toyota Industries in Aichi Prefecture. The automaker told the ministry on Monday that it had confirmed test data was falsified.

Transport Minister Saito Tetsuo said: "This misconduct is extremely regrettable as it undermines the trust of industrial machinery and automobile users. It also shakes the foundation of the auto certification system." He added that the ministry will take strict measures based on the results of its investigation.

The factory of Toyota Industries develops forklift and automobile engines. The testing irregularities involve three types of diesel engines made at the plant.

The transport ministry said it plans to interview employees to confirm the extent of the misconduct.

Toyota on Monday said it will halt six production lines until Thursday because of the engine testing breaches.

Sato Koji, President of Toyota Motor, spoke to reporters on Monday: "We will make earnest efforts to restart production as soon as possible by ensuring the right procedures are followed to obtain certification."

The certification problems also prompted Toyota on Monday to suspend shipments of 10 models, including six for the Japanese market. The models include the Land Cruiser 300 and the Hilux truck.