Toyota suspends diesel, petrol models

News Story
- 20 Apr 2023 ( #1124 ) - Kariya, Japan
3 min read
TICO's Kariya head office
TICO's Kariya head office

Leading forklift manufacturer Toyota Industries Corp (TICO) has suspended shipping in Japan of forklifts equipped with two models of diesel engines and one model of gasoline. The suspension follows an admission that the engines exceed Japanese emissions regulation values.

The unusual admission from the Kariya head office explains that in 2021, while updating its US environmental credentials, “TICO became concerned about data used for past applications in the US, and began to voluntarily verify data used for past applications for forklift gasoline engines for the North American market and commenced an investigation led by external lawyers”. 

As reported in Forkliftaction News, in December 2021, Toyota Material Handling (TMH) announced a voluntary suspension of production of certain diesel forklift models at its Columbus, Indiana factory.

Ongoing investigations raised concerns about potential emissions violations in Japan as well, leading to a decision in March to suspend shipping in Japan of forklifts equipped with the engines in question, affecting production of around 1,400 forklifts made each month.

According to Japanese media reports, transport ministry officials believe prolonged use of the forklifts can lead to deterioration of the fuel injection mechanism that, in turn, could result in emitted particulate matter exceeding legal standards.

Japanese Transport Ministry officials have been investigating Toyota since its March announcement that it had fabricated results of emissions testing in forklift engines, which forced some forklift shipments to be halted. 

Toyota also confirms that its sales of its 1KD diesel engines, which are supplied to other manufacturers of construction machinery, will be also suspended in Japan “because procedures and methods provided by law were not followed”.

Falsification included the use of estimated values instead of the actual measurements, the changing of engine parts during the course of testing and other irregularities.

Hino Motors Ltd., another Toyota group company, was also found in 2022 to have falsified emissions test results, a practice that dated back nearly 20 years. 

Toyota has apologised for the latest incident and pledged to provide support to all impacted. Besides repairs of the affected machines and steps to ensure that future shipments meet the environmental regulations, Toyota is also showing contrition by withholding directors’ pay.

Chairman Tetsuro Toyoda and president Akira Onishi will forgo six months’ compensation, while other directors will lose 30% of their salaries for six months.

Meanwhile, there seems to be some confusion after a Japanese newspaper reported that TICO "is recalling two models of its diesel-powered forklifts for defects in its emissions control systems". 

The Asahi Shimbun reports that the company notified the transport ministry on April 11 of its intent (to recall the forklifts) and is offering customers free repairs. 

"The recall covers a total of 72,366 forklifts of the Geneo and Shovel Loader models manufactured between October 2014 and March 2023," the report adds.

Toyota officials have not confirmed the recall and the company states on its Japanese website that "until we contact our customers concerning corrective measures on already sold products, etc., they can continue to use their lift trucks without taking any measures on their own".

The shipping halt is restricted to Japan and other markets are not affected. A Toyota Europe spokesman tells Forkliftaction News all trucks produced in its factory in Ancenis, France use engines with relevant certificates needed for the European market. “Our engines used in Europe are not comparable to the ones used in Japan due to significant hardware and software modifications in order to exceed European standards for stage V compliant engines,” he explains, adding that there are “no implications for the European market” from the Japanese developments.

Similarly, a spokesman for Toyota in the United States stresses that “the stop sale announced by TMH parent company, TICO, only applies to the Japanese market”.

“There is no impact on the current inventory or product offering in the US,” he adds.

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