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Toyota chief says quality control training lapsed amid fast growth

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Everything is invisible in Japan from what I can see.

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The reason why so many people are aggressive with their comments here is because of how Toyota has not handled the situation, resulting in deaths. On the contrary, the government here is telling people its all lies. Yet now according to this article, Toyota are finally taking responsibility.

Just because the company is Japanese, doesnt mean people hate Japan. They probably just hate the company, which is surely justified.

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As a loyal Toyota driver I say hurry up and get back on the track of making quality cars.

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Toyota’s training of workers to maintain quality control failed to keep up with the company’s rapid growth

That's something very serious.

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Hmph. Toyota's standards are so high that Toyoda's mea culpa is like Peyton Manning apologizing for throwing an interception. The cause of the problems, if there actually are problems, has not been identified, and Toyota still makes great cars as far as I am concerned.

He is trying to find an explanation, and I don't think this is it. He needs to leave this to the engineers. Does he really think that 5000 more inspectors walking through factories would prevent whatever seems to be happening? Not likely. This company and its people should not lose their confidence. The guy sounds like he is starting to feel sorry for himself. Somebody slap him and shake him. They need to get back on that horse.

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The "Big Question" is, if a top executive warned Hdqtrs. of a drop in quality, would they in Japan acted? I saw this coming, though not so pronounced, in the mid 2000's. The rise was steep and fast due to the Hybrid. Toyota is now moving into a situation GM had - large scale, growing conservatism and quality issues. Executives, who now are moving toward maintaining profit levels rather than striving to be one of the best. Toyota will likely in the future forget that classic Lexus motto, "the relentless pursuit of perfection". Without goals, dreams stagnate.

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apec. Do you know how I know you are wrong?

Because the CEO of GM earned more than the top 26 Toyota executives COMBINED in 2008. So you think Toyota management is just too filled with hubris and wild-partying to know what is going on, right? MBA students were not studying GM in the 80s and 90s, I will tell you that.

The hybrid had been under development since the mid-1980s, so there was nothing steep and fast about it except for its sales. Hybrids STILL do not account for a large share of Toyota's sales. It was CAR OF THE YEAR for its design and vision, not because of its sales.

Profit levels? Toyota has thin margins and great employee morale. It gets profits by making great cars. GM made its profits by buying Suzuki chassis and selling them as GM cars. What did GM ever do but buy other companies and destroy them, and then destroy themselves? Is that what Toyota is? Uh-uh.

Toyota is doing just fine in the dream department and has met goals consistently. Until they find out what is causing these problems, this "Toyota is finished" rumor-mongering is horse-pucky.

Maybe you can enlighten everyone as to exactly what you "saw coming." Because your explanation seems very vague and shows that you can't even "see" what is going on right now, or what happened last year.

Just to get you on the record, what do YOU think is the cause of these problems with Toyota cars? And how will this play out in the near and medium term? You are obviously the smartest and most well-connected person on JT, so I really would like to read your opinion.

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Look recalls happen everywhere. Nobody can say Toyota cars are bad, they are good cars. The major problem is they tried to hide the problems they found, and that resulted in death of some drivers. That is murder, Japanese or not.

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"they tried to hide the problems they found"

I beg your pardon. How can they hide problems they have not identified yet? Even US investigators cannot duplicate or explain the problem. In fact, if you can explain the problem, you can claim a 1 million dollar prize. Did you know that? The prize waits unclaimed.

Please be much more specific in your bizarre accusations, because I do not know what you are talking about. Do you?

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"Rapid growth" aka "profit before people"

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To 5SpeedRacer5:

The CEO in the article stated clearly the problem was over expansion at the expense of quality. I am not saying the problems are inherently wrong, but there are things that the CEO is stating he would have changed if he was more aware of the problems - not glaring problems, but problems nonetheless.

I believe the Hybrid was being developed in R&D, just like the numerous "Concept Cars", but was introduced due to unusual circumstances very few people knew about.

You are correct, I was not paying close attention to what occurred last year, and you are taking my comments more pronounced that my intent. Problems were apparent, how much is debatable.

How the Hybrid came about - I know something. I am mentioning problems that will arise in Toyota just from the magnitude of their global operations - they may or may not experience the problems I mentioned if aware of them, they may correct it before it happens.

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Rapid growth" aka "profit before people"

I see that so much in this world every day that I would love to pile on. I really really would. I even think that Toyota squeezes suppliers.. on occasion until they bleed. That was in fact one of the first places they looked when searching for causes of acceleration failure. No dice. It is something else, or nothing at all.

But you know, when the CEO is earning a multiple of about 20 times or less compared to what a line worker makes (not 100 times or 500 times), the accusation does not stick. They pay those employees well, support the community, and do a huge amount of R and D. They also cut costs using Just in Time production, and use kanban and quality circle systems. And they take all that money they save and do what? Buy jets? Put it up their nose? No. They give it to workers, pay dividends, and build the company. R and D.

The reality is that they are having problems. Thinking that they are the black hats in the corporate world does not follow. Toyoda should be hung by his engineers. He is putting the blame on his people and his product, and I cannot accept that. From what I can tell, your assessment is baseless, and his is too. Until someone finds out what is causing this problem (and nobody has), we don't know what is broken, or how to fix it. That is not opinion. That is truth.

As an aside. Are you old enough to remember the Challenger disaster? VERY advanced technology. NASA fer crying out loud. The culprit was an O-RING failure. They found the problem, changed procedures, and that problem was solved. Were they evil? Now what if they had never found the problem? What should they have done? What if they had tried another launch and never had a problem again? Toyota faces a much much more difficult problem scientifically even though it is NOT doing rocket science and even though it knows the components inside and out. Think of all the road conditions and driving conditions that Toyota has absolutely no control over? How do they test that?

It might even be sabotage. I am going to continue waiting for a verdict on what is wrong before I jump to conclusions. This is not tainted milk or frozen gyoza.

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To apec.

Thanks. I think you explained that as clearly as you are willing to, so thank you for your consideration.

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What an excuse?

Fast growth or greed for profit! Toyota is making cars not chinese gyoza. Where is the pride of Nihon Monodukuri (Japanese manufacturing) Made in Japan?

Toyota’s quality control chief may be a new scapegoat of this scandal. If it is truth that quality control training lapsed somewhere, we expect a resignation letter from Mr. Toyoda before he dismisses or transfers some other Toyota's staffs (low-ranking) related to this concern.

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To 5SpeedRacer5:

I could talk about this for hours, but I am not working for Toyota. I'll help them when necessary.

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"Toyota is making cars not chinese gyoza."

You are exactly right. The implications are telling.

If someone eats a tainted gyoza, you get people with symptoms. You pump their stomach and take stool samples and you can track it down. What Toyota has to do with this problem is basically play whack-a-mole with cases popping up here and there on an apparently unrelated basis among, basically, what 100 million vehicles?

Toyoda is being a wimp. He is acting like a grandson of someone who had the cojones to build something great. He should put his chin out there and say. Hey! We have the best engineers in the world and they can't track this down. We did the best anyone could have done, and there it is. If governments cannot find the problem, as far as I am concerned there isn't one. Let insurance companies charge more if they think there is a problem. From what I can tell, they are not doing so.

This problem, even as it is reported, is less dangerous than eating a pan-fried steak or taking a bath in your own bathtub at home. I think Toyoda is giving up without a fight, blaming it on quality control systems that have been used as textbook examples of THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT for decades.

He is being contrite, but he is not being honest. If he were honest, he would say he does not know what the problem is, and nobody else does either.

If he does not want this company, give it to me. Let me run it!

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If CEO Toyoda needs an answer, the old Celica/Supra division knows how to get a hold of me.

"If he does not want this company, give it to me. Let me run it!"

Are you saying you can build a Lexus from scratch if given the tools?

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No. I am saying that if he is blaming problems on people when even he does not know the cause of them, he is an idiot.

That company and its people deserve better.

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5SpeedRacer5: We have the best engineers in the world and they can't track this down.

Hey, think of the bright side. If they never find or fix the problem then you'll never have any reason to blame them.

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5SpeedRacer5: New Media Strategies blogger are you?

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Toyota chief says quality control training lapsed amid fast growth

Translation: we got too greedy.

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5speedracer5; "beg your pardon. How can they hide problems they have not identified yet?"

Better yet, how can you ethically and morally sell a product with known problems, many of which are potentially deadly !

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@Branded: The only thing "wrong" and "deadly" are the people who can't drive. How many cases have you heard over the years of people loosing control of their vehicles? Majority of the cases ended up being driver error, and IMO that's the problem here. Stupid people who don't know how to drive trying to pass the blame and/or make a quick buck. Audi went though the same thing back in the 80s IIRC, media circus that blew things way out of proportion. Read an intresting article in Car and Driver where they did tests that showed you can stop a car on full throttle by simply applying the brakes or putting the car in neutral. They also went on to show that Ford has more saftey recalls then Toyota, yet the media doesn't go crazy over that. Why is that? Maybe it's becuase the government pretty much owns one of those car companies.

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Toyota’s training of workers to maintain quality control failed to keep up with the company’s rapid growth, its president Akio Toyoda said in an interview with a major Japanese business daily.

Toyoda don't overwork the employees and engineers because how are they going to provide quality control if Toyota goes after profit margins. Without good health of the employees quality control will be lacking.

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skipbeat; I have to laugh- Toyoda don't overwork the employees and engineers because how are they going to provide quality control if Toyota goes after profit margins. Without good health of the employees quality control will be lacking."

I would say all the evidence points otherwise. Toyota has been involved in numerous cases of both "unpaid" overtime and "Karoshi"- death by overwork. In fact Toyota is pretty much the poster child for both syndromes. And as you suggest, this overworked and underpaid workforce has produced nothing but defects for a good 10 years now ! Sad !

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Toyota really has paid alot of bloggers to write good things about them via marketing companies... totally on clean up patrol. Don't believe everything you read good about Toyota at the moment (even user posts here) they are really trying to dilute the internet with information so the problem goes away.

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gogogo; "Toyota really has paid alot of bloggers to write good things about them via marketing companies..."

There are many who suspect the same thing had been going on with "Consumer Reports" for years. It would explain Toyota's automatic seal of approval since 2003 and CR's current position to continue to support the company by going out of their way to say nice things. It really is odd that they would jeapordize their reputation just to protect Toyota- the money must be big !

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Branded: I know the marketing companies directly involved on cleanup for Toyota, I already named the main marketing company and could start to list their clients as well.

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Branded at 12:41 AM JST - 20th March. There are many who suspect the same thing had been going on with "Consumer Reports" for years. It would explain Toyota's automatic seal of approval since 2003 and CR's current position to continue to support the company by going out of their way to say nice things.

Are you serious? Another joke. "Consumer Reports" is just another tool for product information and doesn't mean much. Actually, the general public decides on whether Toyota is a good or bad product. This determines the product value based on supply and demand. If you compare 3-5 years old Camry resale value to Malibu and Fusion, you can see the difference. $12-14K for Camry, $8-10K for Fusion, $7-9K for Malibu. Even with Toyota's current problem, the resale value still about the same, less 3 percent. Why isn't the used Toyota going down dramatically in price? Because, still consumer knows it's a good value regardless of what JT critics says.

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gogogo said,

Toyota really has paid alot of bloggers to write good things about them via marketing companies... totally on clean up patrol. Don't believe everything you read good about Toyota at the moment (even user posts here) they are really trying to dilute the internet with information so the problem goes away.

and

Branded: I know the marketing companies directly involved on cleanup for Toyota, I already named the main marketing company and could start to list their clients as well.

One role of marketing is PR. Toyota is doing damage control through bloggers because there are some people on the opposite end who are trash talking Toyota without merits. Overall people should take everything with a grain of salt when it comes to articles, forum, blogs, and the media (even professional people).

I rarely read "Consumer Reports" because I am too poor to subscribe to it. :-) The magazine is just another opinion about car products among other things. When it comes to buying a product it has to have what I need and want. The answer is shop around. Trends are not the answer. They are only here today and gone tomorrow.

Branded said,

Toyota has been involved in numerous cases of both "unpaid" overtime and "Karoshi"- death by overwork. In fact Toyota is pretty much the poster child for both syndromes.

It is acceptable for many people to work overtime without pay because that is the society the majority of Japanese people live in. More than likely the Japanese people will not make waves because of harmony or it is expected of them to stay and work overtime. Whether it is right or wrong is up to the majority of the Japanese people to decide and change it. The labor laws in Japan need to be changed.

Toyota’s quality controls have been under fire after massive global recalls starting late last year for defective gas pedals, faulty floor mats and flawed braking affecting more than 8 million vehicles, mostly in North America.

Toyota needs to learn from Tylenol the correct way of responding to a crises. Or, it is about taking responsibility and being proactive to the recall.

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The best way to teach the "Toyota wannabes" is to ban the company outright from further business dealings in the USA- save lives, protect the public !

I agree, and I'm sure the ~30,000 Toyota employees in the US would be 100% behind such an obviously reasonable and rational position and gladly give up their livelihoods, not to mention the innumerable suppliers, because you're obviously looking out for their best interests.

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Branded at 12:53 AM JST - 22nd March. Now if we consider the ongoing success of American companies like Ford- who are enjoying dramatic sales increases- we see an opportunity for anyone being let go at Toyota ! Funny how that works.

Can Ford make their own version of hybrid Prius? 50-55mpg car? They don't even have in their drawing board a new technology of hybrid. Can Ford make their own version Focus, Fusion, Edge, Flex, Taurus rather than copy from Mazda and Volvo?

Moderator: Back on topic please. The subject is Toyota, not Ford.

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sfjp330 asks; "Are you serious? Another joke."

And then proceeds to make these comments-

"Even with Toyota's current problem, the resale value still about the same"

Seems sfjp330 missed the whole discussion on why a large portion of Toyota owners have filed class action lawsuits in the states- claims that stock and resale value have both plummeted at Toyota because of their "current problems" !

And I agree with this 100%; "Moderator: Back on topic please. The subject is Toyota, not Ford."

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Branded at 12:32 AM JST - 23rd March. missed the whole discussion on why a large portion of Toyota owners have filed class action lawsuits in the states- claims that stock and resale value have both plummeted at Toyota because of their "current problems" !

Yes, there is a pending lawsuits accused against Toyota. and Branded have been repeating about this lawsuits 89 times. If you didn't know, I like to let you know we all know this. Do you have something new to say for change?

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sfjp330; still grammarically perplexed is see;

"Yes, there is a pending lawsuits accused against Toyota."

No- there "are" pending lawsuits against Toyota- big ones too. Some say in excess of 3 billion dollars when all is said and done- I predict more, closer to 5 billion !

"Branded have been repeating about this lawsuits 89 times."

No- Branded "has" been repeating about "these" lawsuits 89 times. About as often as you try to drag an American auto maker into the conversation I imagine. The difference sfjp330- I'm on topic ! Now for something new, as you requested,

"In the Nikkei interview, he (Morizo) promised to beef up quality controls, including promoting non-Japanese employees, to better respond to different customer needs, to become a “small Toyota,” instead of focusing on sales expansion.

"Promote non-Japanese employees" ? See what I mean about Toyota's corporate culture of bias ? Sad that it took 10 million recalls, dozens of deaths (alledged) and hundreds of injuries (alledged) for this joker to finally pull the reins from the Japanese destruction machine !

And-

Toyota will now focus on other things besides market expansion ? I don't believe that for one instance ! Predatory practices aimed at overtaking market share is the nuts and bolts of Japanese business. They first implement a "divide and conquer" strategy and then insert their own suppliers forcing out the competition. These suppliers often times have to agree to be sole providers for Toyota and decline offers for joint ventures with other car makers. Many of them used the "me no speaky engrish" as a way out. I've worked with dozens of sales people in a variety of businesses in Japan- including major suppliers for Toyota- I've heard all the horror stories !

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"Toyota will now focus on other things besides market expansion ? I don't believe that for one instance ! Predatory practices aimed at overtaking market share is the nuts and bolts of Japanese business. They first implement a "divide and conquer" strategy and then insert their own suppliers forcing out the competition. These suppliers often times have to agree to be sole providers for Toyota and decline offers for joint ventures with other car makers. Many of them used the "me no speaky engrish" as a way out. I've worked with dozens of sales people in a variety of businesses in Japan- including major suppliers for Toyota- I've heard all the horror stories !"

So in brief, the competition doesn't have the power to outdo Toyota...right? Yes..that's a real horror story.

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"So in brief, the competition doesn't have the power to outdo Toyota...right?"

"Outdo Toyota" ? Only if they follow the same path of deceit, fraud, and scandal ! Yes, a real horror story.

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"Only if they follow the same path of deceit, fraud, and scandal !"

Ohh...didn't you know, Branded? They have been on that path for a long time already. You, being a recall expert for all those years now, should now that.

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