Growth, Arrogance and Complexity: Fujimoto Breaks Down Toyota's Breakdown

University of Tokyo professor, author, and Toyota Production System expert Takahiro Fujimoto sits down with Wharton Business School professor John Paul MacDuffie to analyze Toyota’s staggering fall from grace [via Strada Blog]. Fujimoto largely skates over the “fat product” phenomenon, but acknowledges that high quality and increasing complexity led to debilitating arrogance at Toyota. As he says, Hyundai has been growing just as quickly (if not more so) in recent years, and yet has managed to avoid Toyota-esque quality scandals. The problem, he says, isn’t on the production side. Design quality problems stemming from arrogant middle-management at company headquarters, he says, are the fundamental deviations from the Toyota Way.

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  • Steven02 Steven02 on Apr 15, 2010

    I would probably say he is correct. And it will be tough to stop Hyundai's growth till the South Korean won makes it more expensive to build cars there.

  • Odomeater Odomeater on Apr 15, 2010

    Toyota deserves all the crap it is getting. Lies, cover ups should not be rewarded. Runaway Camrys. Rust bucket pick ups. Can't stop Prius. V6 sludge. Amazing how gullible the US has been in praising "Toyota Quality". Good riddance!

  • Esldude Esldude on Apr 16, 2010

    Anybody remember the Chevy trucks that while good, would rust if you looked at them with a damp eye? None of the Toyota's rust like that. And Chevy never offered to buy them back like Toyota did. Not to mention exploding Chevy gas tanks in some models. Toyota's quality is the standard others are judged by. Yes, maybe others meet or maybe even will be exceeding it. Which is good, but it doesn't change the quality they made virtually demanded by consumers rather than the shoddy workmanship that was once simply accepted.