By on October 14, 2010

When the whole “acceler-gate” scandal broke out, there were, pretty much, two reactions.


And 2. Witch-hunt. Witch-hunt. Witch-hunt!

Well, irrespective of who was right, an investigation of the whole affair needed to happen. The US government did an investigation of their own and didn’t like the results. But Toyota also did an investigation of its own. They found something.

Business Week reports that ToMoCo is auditing of their suppliers of their highest priority parts in North America. What Toyota found, so far, was surprising. Toyota is finding that some parts aren’t being tested as rigorously as Toyota thought. Toyota thought that certain parts were tested four times a year; it was closer to once a year.

“We have found areas where maybe there was a misunderstanding about some aspect of the process,” said Dino Triantafyllos, vice president of product quality for Toyota North America, “These improvements we’re making, if we’d made them two years ago, maybe some of these issues wouldn’t have happened.” But didn’t this whole debacle stem from a pedal design which was prone to sticking (which is still a dodgy theory)?

Hiroshi Osada, leader of a panel formed by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers to help Toyota boost its quality, said “The crisis was a problem that came from the design-development stage,” He also added that closer examination of components “should be able to help prevent quality defects.” In other words, TEST YOUR PRODUCTS MORE!!!

In a strange quirk of fate, CTS, the supplier of the pedal in question, was one of the first suppliers audited by Toyota (I can’t think why). But CTS has nothing to fear. “They remain a supplier,” said Mr Triantafyllos, “We have a good relationship with them.” That’s nice.

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3 Comments on “Testing Times For Toyota Aren’t So Testing?...”

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I am “surprised” that Toyota is “surprised’.  Having spent the better part of the last two decades beating up the supplier base for cost reductions (yes, I know.  They are not NEARLY as stupid about this as the D3 were/are….) Toyota is “surprised” that suppliers took out cost (or, shall I say, reserved a little money for their other stakeholders) by cutting back a bit on quality testing?  Cue the scene from Casablanca about gambling-shocked police chiefs and their winnings and so on….

    The whole scam of the Toyota and Honda American keiretsu’s is that the money, and therefore the strategic power, accrues to the top.  Toyota’s suppliers are actually under the complete thrall of Toyota purchasing.  The whole thing would be ripe for the Justice department’s anti-trust department due to the complete lack of competitive bidding, if the DoJ wasn’t completely brain dead under the last several administrations.

    Anyone who reads Toyota’s report and doesn’t realize that this is self-serving Toyota propaganda, that by throwing a few suppliers under the bus (Bad supplier!  Bad!  Now go stand in the corner!) they are deflecting their own accountability.  Their hasn’t been a true arms-length purchase transaction in the Toyota keiretsu since….well, since ever!

    Toyota knew.  Or they should have known.  Anyone believes anything else, I have a slightly used ES350 to sell you.  Only driven to church on Sunday by a little old lady from Pomona.  She never, ever engaged the cruise control.  Seriously.  I mean it. 

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