Toyota held onto its title as the world's best-selling carmaker for the fourth year in a row, but the company's chairman apologized for recent quality control issues at three group companies.
Global sales for Toyota, including its subsidiaries Daihatsu and Hino Motors, rose 7.2% in 2023 to a record 11.2 million vehicles. However, the company has been plagued by scandals involving falsified emissions data and improper certification procedures at its subsidiaries.
Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda expressed his deepest apologies for the inconvenience and concern caused by the issues, and emphasized the importance of honesty and integrity in the company's future.
Despite the scandals, Toyota's core car sales remained strong, reaching a record 10.3 million vehicles in 2023. Hybrid cars accounted for a third of those sales, while battery electric vehicles still make up a small portion.
However, Toyota's sales momentum could face challenges due to recent production and shipment suspensions triggered by the quality control issues. Daihatsu halted shipments of all its cars after safety concerns were found with 64 models, and Toyota itself suspended shipments of some models due to engine testing irregularities.
The scandals could damage Toyota's reputation for quality and safety, which has been a cornerstone of its success. The company will need to address these issues effectively to maintain its position as the world's leading automaker.