Like you, I have heard about the myriad of problems Toyota has been having lately. I heard about the sticking accelerator, the brake problem on the Prius, and a vehicle recall that will top 8 million. USA Today listed this as “Toyota’s quality fiasco” http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2010-02-05-toyota-recall-friday_N.htm. Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda has stated “Let me assure everyone that we will redouble our commitment to quality as the lifeline of our company” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/toyota_recall. As I read this, I wondered, is it really a quality problem?
No doubt Toyota has a problem, but was the accelerator problem caused by poor quality? You might recall that one solution to the accelerator problem was related to the floor mat. The floor mat would be modified so that the potential for it to cause the accelerator to stick would be minimized. So what is the root cause of this problem? Were the fibers used in the floor mat faulty? Were the floor mats sized incorrectly? Did the materials supplier produce defective materials? There are many possibilities.
Toyota is known for their precise specifications. So let’s assume that the floor mats, brake pedals, brake lines, etc. were manufactured to a tight tolerance and functioned as they were designed. If this is the case, isn’t the problem related to the design rather than the quality of the parts produced? If root cause analysis identifies that the problem is with the design, then the media should call it “Toyota’s design fiasco.”
Of course at the end of the day, what really matters is that all automotive manufacturers learn from Toyota’s problems and take steps to prevent an issue such as this from occurring again.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on “Toyota’s quality fiasco.”