Daihatsu Motor’s headquarters in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, has been raided by government officials after the Japanese automaker released the findings of an investigation into vehicle testing “irregularities” – reported by Just Auto yesterday.

The independent third-party investigation revealed that safety tests and other procedures on a large number of new vehicle models had been widely and systematically manipulated by the company’s staff and its suppliers since 1989.

The scandal comes as a major blow to Toyota Motor Group, which is still trying to put its house in order after its truck-manufacturing subsidiary Hino Motors last year was found to have cheated on emissions and fuel-efficiency tests over a period of at least two decades.

Upon the release of these latest findings, Daihatsu announced that it was suspending deliveries of all vehicle models in Japan and at its overseas operations until further notice. Daihatsu’s entire line-up of 64 vehicle models and three engines is affected, including 22 models sold under the Toyota badge and also some Mazda- and Subaru-branded models.

Daihatsu said it “apologises for the inconvenience and concern this has caused to all stakeholders, including customers”, adding that far it was not aware of any accident relating to this matter. It confirmed it is investigating the cause of the irregularities and will take necessary measures as soon as possible.

The Japanese Transport Ministry sent a team of inspectors to Daihatsu’s Osaka headquarters on the morning of the 21st December, a day after the Daihatsu announced, to begin a more in-depth investigation into the malpractice and to decide whether to take punitive action.

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A Transport Ministry official told local reporters “we have begun an on-site inspection to verify the report submitted by Daihatsu and whether any other wrongdoing has taken place. Before issuing any administrative orders we have to establish the facts”.

A lawyer and a member of the probe team, Makoto Kaiami, told reporters that Daihatsu workers were under pressure from management to meet tight development deadlines and that the blame should be shouldered by management.