Toyota Japan back on the road after probably-not-cyber attack halted production

Malfunction took 14 plants offline for 36 hours. Oh, what a … nah, too obvious

Toyota Japan has recovered from what it's described as a "malfunction in the production order system" that halted production on 28 lines across 14 plants starting on Monday evening.

The automaker is famous for – and proudly promotes – its lean, just-in-time, Toyota Production System, which it feels is exceptionally reliable. The system means Toyota has very low inventories of components, as they arrive almost to the moment they're needed to be fitted into vehicles.

But when the production order system glitched, the system stopped.

Toyota isn't sure what happened.

"It is our understanding that the malfunction of the system was not caused by a cyber attack," reads a Tuesday statement from the automaker. "However," it adds, "we will continue to investigate the cause."

Japanese media reports that production resumed as planned on Wednesday. Some reports have suggested the malfunction was caused by ongoing work on the production system – implying that some dud code may have gone into production.

Whatever the cause of the glitch, it's another embarrassment for Toyota which in recent times has endured multiple data leaks. And who could forget that time it left they key to customer info on a public GitHub page for five years? Or the 20 years of faked emissions data?

Oh, what a feeling, indeed.

The vehicle giant has calmed buyers and investors by stating that the incident won't impact production volumes – suggesting it has some slack in its systems and can make up for the missed days of production.

That hasn't always been the case, particularly in recent years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on global supply chains and semiconductor shortages.

At least this incident hasn't resulted in wheels falling off cars – a problem that earlier this year saw Toyota and Subaru recall some models. ®

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