Toyota and Lexus sales increased, while Daihatsu sales declined last month by 51% and production by 68% (Getty)

Sales of Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest auto producer, lost momentum in the first month of this year after the government announced the involvement of two of its main subsidiaries in fraud.

According to the latest Toyota Motor data, the group’s sales, including Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors, increased by 4.4% to 831,161 cars last January compared to the same month last year, while the group’s production declined by 3.8% to 788,670 cars. This is the first decline in production in 13 months.

Bloomberg News Agency indicated an increase in the group's sales of the luxury Toyota and Lexus brands, while its Daihatsu brand, which mainly specializes in the manufacture of trucks, is still suffering from the scandal of tampering with safety certificates that erupted last December, as its sales declined last month by 51%. Production increased by 68% annually.

This decline comes after a year in which sales reached their highest levels ever, with strong demand for hybrid cars, and the recovery of supply chains, making Toyota Motor Corp. maintain the first position as the largest car group in the world for the fourth year in a row, ahead of its German competitor, Volkswagen Group.

Last December, an internal investigation revealed that Daihatsu, which sells and supplies light trucks, had tampered with the results of crashworthiness tests since 1989, and the company has been fully owned by the Toyota Group since 2016.

Toyota recalled 381,000 Tacoma light trucks due to a defect in the rear axle (Reuters)

Last January, investigations revealed that the Toyota Automotive Components Company had tampered with the power data of many of the engines it produces and supplies to Japanese automakers.

The Japanese Ministry of Transport has canceled the issuance of certificates and suspended local production of a number of car models and types of engines, although most factories have either resumed work or announced the date of resumption of work.

Toyota said that it will resume production at its factories in the Japanese prefectures of Mie and Gifu on March 4, after the ministry lifted the ban on three types of engines produced by Toyota Industries.

Daihatsu also announced its intention to resume production of 3 models, including the Rocky, Toyota, Raysee, and Subaru Rex, on March 18.

On the other hand, Toyota announced the recall of about 381,000 Tacoma light trucks due to a defect in the rear axle that could lead to the separation of one of its parts, and increase the risk of a collision.

According to the recall statement, Toyota dealers will inspect the rear axle and reconnect the components free of charge.

Source: Agencies