Yamaha Certification ‘Scandal’: What Does it Really Mean?

Earlier this month a story unfolded regarding a reported certification and testing ‘scandal’ that affected Yamaha, although it’s not quite as bad as you might think


Earlier this month reports began to come in that a number of Japanese automakers were involved in a safety ‘scandal’ that related to certification and testing of two and four-wheeled vehicles.

It noted a number of four-wheeled manufacturers, namely Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Toyota, and also mentioned that the motorcycle maker Yamaha had ‘halted shipments of a sports motorcycle’. It stems from safety concerns raised at Toyota's Daihatsu compact car unit, which forced the Japanese ministry to order a raft of manufacturers to investigate certification applications back in January. As a result of this, a number of automakers were either ordered to halt shipments or did so voluntarily while investigations took place.

With Yamaha being noted as one of the affected manufacturers, and the original article published by Reuters not clarifying which models were hit by the issue, we reached out to Yamaha UK to find out what was actually going on.

The result is that four models were affected and had shipments halted, the Yamaha R1 and R1M, R3 and TMAX. The R1 and R1M seem to have been hit by Euro 5+ testing and certification issues, while the R3 and TMAX had an issue relating to the horn of the bike. 

Euro5+ regulations stipulate that a bike’s engine and exhaust system must continue to perform at the specified level for the entirety of the lifespan of the machine. Basically, the harmful emissions from the exhaust system shouldn’t increase as the engine gets older. This wasn’t a stipulation of Euro5 regulations, which didn’t specify a timeframe for maintaining emission targets and the bike only had to pass the test when new.

The other two bikes affected, the R3 and TMAX, seem to have been hit by a different and slightly less concerning issue for the average consumer. All we know is that it relates to the horn of both bikes, meaning it could be either the volume, tone or pitch of the horn used on the bikes, but we are purely speculating on that.

The full statement from the Yamaha Motor UK spokesperson reads:

‘The two incidents reported are related to Japanese certification tests for models in the Japanese market and do not affect EU certification or units in the UK. One test verified whether an R1/R1M silencer retains its silencing properties as it deteriorates during its life and the second test was related to the horn on the R3 and the TMAX. Yamaha take incidents of wrongdoing very seriously and following the investigation deliveries of the affected units were suspended while we revised our training  and testing procedures, along with changes to our record keeping practices.’

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