Toyoda: Recalls Changed Thinking On Safety, Customer Focus

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
toyoda recalls changed thinking on safety customer focus

One day after Toyota agreed to pay a record $1.2 billion in a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department resolving a criminal probe into the automaker’s handling of a recall involving unintentional acceleration in its vehicles, president Akio Toyoda proclaimed the recalls changed Toyota for the better.

Automotive News reports Toyoda, speaking before the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association this week, said the recalls “marked a shift in how Toyota and the industry think about safety”:

The criteria for recalls used to be compliance with laws or whether there are technical problems. Now, I think it has become whether the products can assure customers peace of mind.

Regarding recalls overall, Toyoda stated they were good for the “long-term perspective of the automotive industry’s sustainable development,” noting the tool allows for product improvement and finding countermeasures from problems that arise down the line.

Though he remained silent on the settlement, Toyoda said the experience prompted Toyota to alter its approach to quality:

I think it provided a turning point for us to go back to our basic philosophy of “customers come first.” It is getting more and more important to handle recalls by seeing things from our customers’ point of view.

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  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Mar 21, 2014

    Fines and judgments, even billion dollar ones, are simply license fees, the cost of doing business. Stiff executive jail terms, on the other hand, would permanently correct the problem.

  • Pastor Glenn Pastor Glenn on Mar 21, 2014

    alsorl, I never listen to hate, don't even have TV. I'm a Pastor. I like to search out reality and truth, even when it isn't what I want to see or hear. Otherwise, how can good decisions be made, if one doesn't have truth on their side? You may not believe in absolute truth, but I do. But I just told you I really am a Pastor, in fact a Lutheran Pastor. And I don't hate my country; I just want it to return to something resembling my country. I'm required as a Christian to speak out against unlawfulness and injustice. Not just becuase I'm a Pastor. If you notice, I did not solely blame the current administration. So don't put words into my mouth assuming I am what you believe to be a hater, or a right wing nutcase. In case it escaped your attention, NAZI (well regarded in many circles as being "far right wing") stood for National Socialist Party. The far "left" and supposedly far "right" are so close to each other because they are both the same for all intents and purposes. But yes, why should over 300 lives be brushed off as inconsequential as probably will be the case? What is a life worth? Shouldn't someone be punished for intentionally hiding the fault on these GM cars?

    • See 2 previous
    • CRConrad CRConrad on Mar 25, 2014

      They seem to be applied either selectively or just cursorily.

  • BrianL BrianL on Mar 21, 2014

    When I read and article like this, my first thought it, what else did you expect him to say? It is typical CEO talk saying we made a mistake, we have learned from it, we have been changed for the better. We are going back to listening to our customers more to understand their point of view.

  • Jetcal1 Jetcal1 on Mar 21, 2014

    Nationalism does not matter. Many companies will do the expedient instead of the hard. I am tired of the bashing. Acknowledge the problem. Fix the problem. Move the right people in keep it from happening again. But, in this case Toyota has a bit of a corporate past. Koito Seating covered up crash test results for several thousand airline seats a few years ago. (Owned by Toyota)