Daihatsu suspends all plants in Japan due to safety test scandal

Daihatsu Motor Co. suspended all domestic production on Tuesday, with it unclear exactly when its plants will restart operations amid a safety testing scandal that affects most of its models.

The automaker on Tuesday halted operations at its factory in Osaka Prefecture where the Copen minivehicle is assembled. Of the company’s four factories in Japan, it is the last to pause.

The suspension will last at least through the end of January, Daihatsu said Monday, dealing a blow to its more than 8,000 suppliers as well as its parent company Toyota Motor Corp.

The small-car unit of Toyota normally makes 4,000 cars per day in Japan. The automaker, which had about 9,000 employees at its domestic factories as of April, produced about 870,000 units in the last fiscal year.

The production halt has been a concern to Daihatsu employees, but the company said Monday it has agreed on a compensation package with its labor union to pay part of its employees’ wages during the production halt.

A 36-year-old male worker at the Osaka plant said, “There has been no explanation about if the company can resume production. I’m worried.”

Daihatsu said last week that a total of 64 models were found to be affected in the safety test falsification scandal, up from the six it found in spring.

The company subsequently decided to stop all shipments both in and outside Japan, though they have resumed in Indonesia and Malaysia after the countries’ government regulators approved continued sales.

By Mian Saeed Ahmed Khan