Japanese car manufacturer Daihatsu, owned by Toyota, has halted all domestic production following a massive safety testing scandal. The company, employing approximately 9,000 factory workers in Japan, recently closed the doors of its last remaining four domestic plants, according to a Daihatsu spokesperson who spoke with AFP on Tuesday.

The suspension of production is expected to persist throughout January, with uncertainty looming over when Daihatsu’s domestic manufacturing can resume, as the company grapples with the fallout from revelations of safety test manipulation dating back to at least 1989. The scandal has impacted a staggering 64 models, including some sold under the Toyota brand, which are now also under suspension.

This dramatic development could have far-reaching consequences, potentially affecting more than 8,000 companies across Japan, according to insights from a private research firm. The widespread production suspension has sent shockwaves through the automotive industry, raising concerns about the broader economic implications and the reputation of Toyota as the parent company.

Last week, Daihatsu admitted to manipulating safety tests over several decades, revealing the extent of the deception that has compromised the safety of its vehicles. The admission includes the falsification of crash test results for four models, involving a total of 88,000 vehicles manufactured in Thailand and Malaysia in 2022 and 2023.

In a related move in April, the company announced the falsification of crash test results for two hybrid vehicle models, leading to the suspension of production in Japan. This included the Toyota Raize SUV, produced on behalf of Toyota, further denting the credibility of both Daihatsu and its parent company.

Daihatsu, founded in 1907 with a focus on manufacturing internal combustion engines, took a significant hit to its reputation after being implicated in these widespread safety testing irregularities. The company, originally based in Osaka, launched its first three-wheeled vehicle in 1931 before being acquired by Toyota in 1967.

As investigations continue and the full extent of the safety testing scandal becomes clearer, both Daihatsu and Toyota are likely to face intense scrutiny from regulatory bodies, consumers, and stakeholders. The aftermath of this scandal will undoubtedly shape the future of safety standards and practices within the Japanese automotive industry, with implications extending well beyond the immediate production halt.