TOKYO (Reuters) -Toyota Motor Corp and others involved in a commercial vehicle partnership have expelled Hino Motors from the group over a scandal involving falsification of engine data by the truckmaker, Toyota said on Wednesday.
It is the most severe step announced so far by Toyota, which has a controlling 50.1% in Hino, since the scandal erupted in March.
The partnership, known as the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies (CJPT), was established in April 2021 by Toyota, Hino and Isuzu Motors to facilitate technology development for commercial vehicles. Suzuki Motor Corp and Daihatsu joined in July the same year.
“We believe that Hino’s participation will cause inconvenience to stakeholders, and we have decided that it is appropriate to expel Hino from CJPT,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a statement.
Hino’s 10% equity stake in CJPT would be transferred to Toyota, the statement said.
“We take this decision very seriously,” Hino said in a statement responding to the expulsion from CJPT, adding that it was working to correct the issues that led to the misconduct.
The expulsion meant Hino would be excluded from joint planning and other agreements in the partnership, Toyota said.
Toyota said Hino “will play a minimal role” in a previously announced project due to begin in 2023 to develop small electric commercial vans and light-duty fuel cell electric trucks to transport goods between Tokyo and Fukushima prefecture.
Hino said on Monday it would suspend shipment of small trucks after a transport ministry investigation revealed that some 76,000 of its small trucks sold since 2019 had not been subjected to the required number of engine tests.
Monday’s announcement followed earlier revelations that it had falsified data on some engines going back as far as 2003, at least a decade earlier than originally indicated.
(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Edmund Blair)