By on April 5, 2010

From the unintended consequences dept. comes yet another humdinger. Some keep saying the recent Toyota spat was intended to put the Japanese competition in its place. Instead, it ups the competitiveness of Korean and Chinese auto makers, says The Nikkei [sub].

“Against the backdrop of increased consumer attention to auto safety, a trend sparked by Toyota’s recall woes,” Chinese and South Korean automakers are now placing increased emphasis on quality control, writes Japan’s business paper.

Geely, which just has snapped up Volvo, will build a big development center in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, where it will conduct crash tests and other safety experiments. The facility will cost more than $50m.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., a state-owned Chinese automaker that runs a joint venture with Toyota, plans to enhance its quality control in cooperation with the Japanese partner.

Meanwhile in South Korea, Hyundai’s labor union has urged its members to cooperate with management to enhance product quality, to avoid the troubles Toyota ran into.

The Nikkei is aghast: Korean unions demand better quality?  “This represents a significant change of practice for the union, a body known for its aggressive posture.”

Who would have thought it: Toyota gets a kick in the rear, and who reacts? The Koreans and the Chinese.

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9 Comments on “Toyota Troubles Cause Quality Increase. In Korea And China...”

  • avatar

    Hyundai was focusing on quality long before Toyota caught its “bad brake”. The only thing that has changed is that a wide door has opened in public perception. But so has a gaping tiger trap for the company which slips up. The stakes are just as high for Hyundai as for Toyota; maybe higher.

  • avatar

    The stakes are higher for Hyundai, because if they slip, people can say stuff like “Here we go again”, or “That’s not really surprising…it’s Hyundai. I still remember…” With Toyota, most people can say “Oh, poop happens…they’ll fix it.

  • avatar

    Two years ago (2007)Hyundai led in 5 categories in the annual vehicle quality study by Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego-based market research company. In a world of intense global competition, Toyota cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball.

  • avatar

    In Seattle, the Toyota problems continue…

    The Toyota Curb Jumping Syndrome (CJS) continues: Last Friday, a Camry jumped the curb and crashed into a bank, injuring two people. The 86 year-old driver was Ok.

    Within an hour, part of the façade of a downtown 80 year-old building came crashing down, parts hitting a Camry parked out front. Clearly the Toyota Storefront Façade Falling Syndrome (SFFS) has yet to be brought under control.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the key phrase is “86-year-old driver”.

      About 1.5 years ago a 70-something woman drove her Toyota into my favorite homeopathic remedies store. She had to climb the 6-inch bump stop (think of the torque required), traverse the 1-foot gap between bump stop and sidewalk, and then cross the sidewalk. Despite ToMoCo’s SUA problems I’m more inclined to think this was a case of old age (and one hell of a leadfoot).

  • avatar

    Hyundai has made so much head way in quality of their products, they will probably be taking down Toyota in a few years. They have good exchange rates and will be able to offer Lexus amenities at Toyota prices soon.

    • 0 avatar

      Considering that Japan has a strong yen in comparison to the US dollar…

      If Toyota had a brain, they’d be going hell-bent for leather into a crash factory-building course in countries that have had a long-term favorable exchange rate to the US dollar.

      Mexico, for one…

      That way, they can offer Lexii at the same bargain price as other’s Lexus competitors.

    • 0 avatar

      Though I’ve been a follower of Hyundai’s trends toward better quality, I don’t think they’ll necessarily dethroneToyota as the world’s largest car maker as much as they’ll simply grow to the point of keeping Toyota constantly on its toes and looking over its shoulder.

      I’d personally rather that Hyundai not aim so much for growth as much as for simply maintaining (a) strong market share and constantly finding ways to up quality and styling.

  • avatar

    “The facility will cost more than $50m.”

    No shit, that’s a world-class crash-test centre, though half what Volvo’s (most expensive in the world) costs. But considering this is in China and they’re probably porting some Volvo blueprints over, it’d be a pretty impressive facility.

    Gonna be interesting to see how Geely’s will do a complete safety image makeover.

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