By on July 12, 2010

The Toyota acceler-gate provides for extra work for the nation’s sharpest brainiacs – on both sides of the Pacific. In the U.S. , the Academy of Science has been recruited by the NHTSA. Meanwhile in Japan,  Toyota drew on the expertise of Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). Today,  four experts appointed by JUSE presented the result of their review of Toyota’s quality assurance. In one short sentence:

“Good, but it could be better.”

In a report which can be found here, the scientists  found  four measures that “are convincing, and they promise to yield solid results if implemented as described.”

But they also “request further improvements” in seven areas, such as  “analyzing each serious accident and each serious customer complaint thoroughly,” “deploying even more field personnel than Toyota’s present plans call for,” or “stepping up training for dealers’ maintenance and repair personnel.”

Says The Nikkei [sub]: “A Toyota spokesman said the company will consider which of JUSE’s suggested steps to introduce.”

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8 Comments on “Japanese Scientists: Toyota Quality Good, But Could Use Improvement...”


  • avatar
    Stingray

    They invented lean manufacturing, then (following Mr. Niedermeyer’s editorial) applied the same philosophy to R&D. Is it possible that this people also applied lean to quality?

    I’ve read that other companies (like Hyundai) have passed them as leaders in quality systems. Which wouldn’t surprise me.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    What is Quality in a New Car?

    Is it high safety marks throughout?
    Is it all panels, inside and out, aligned within 1mm?
    Is it high marks for Noise, Harshness, and Vibration (NHV)?
    Is it “Fit and Finish”?
    Is it a positive tactile and driving experience?
    Is it a positive reliability, maintenance, and cost-of-operation experience?
    Is it suitability for intended purpose?

    You need ear plugs when driving newer Camry’s (and Honda Accords) over worn pavement. It appears all sound deadening has been stripped from the glass, floorboards, firewall, doors, trunk, and roof. Does this increase vehicle quality and value as Toyota (and Honda) would have you believe?

    Is it a positive experience to have closing the door sound like a car crash instead of a dull thud?

  • avatar

    Why do companies get so lazy after they reach the #1 spot?

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Companies don’t get lazy, per se…They get taken over by filthy little know-nothing finance people.

    • 0 avatar
      drivebywire

      Agreed.
      The Engineers build the company and product into something valuable.
      The bean-counters slowly dismantle and liquidate what has been built up.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      +1

      Or they get taken over by career managers. The types who think “Well, I ran a food company, therefore, I must be able to run a car company. How different can it be? I have a degree in Business Administration, for goodness sake!”

  • avatar

    Toyota–as well as other Japanese companies–has a reputation for having a secretive corporate culture. It is characterized by the following quote: “If it stinks, put a lid on it.”

    Furthermore, decision-making has been highly centralized in Toyoda City, Japan. And the leaders are a group of old men who thus far, have been unwilling to relinquish power. The recommendations from JUSE are good ones, but will the leaders in charge be willing to cultivate an environment where information is exchanged among competing departments? Given Toyota’s history and stature as the worlds’ largest automobile manufacturer, I am skeptical that the bureaucracy can be tamed.

    In the meantime the following survey of young people indicates that potential buyers will be leaving Toyota in droves:

    http://wp.me/pQr4T-97

    Timothy M Mojonnier

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    This LA Times Lexus ES chronology tells one all he needs to know about Toyota squandering its gold standard image for quality and integrity. Purchasers beware!

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/23/business/la-fi-lexus-chrono-20100523

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