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http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080313/japan_toyota.html?.v=4

Toyota President Says Rapid Global Growth One Reason Behind Quality Problems


TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota's president acknowledged the company's rapid global growth was partly behind a surge in problems that has plagued the Japanese automaker in recent years.
Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe said the company has improved quality controls, and is sticking to its sales targets, including those in North America, despite worries about a credit crunch and a slowdown in the auto market.

Speaking at the Japan National Press Club, Watanabe noted the reasons behind the defects were varied, spanning development, design, production, suppliers and maintenance.

But Watanabe said at least some of the problems, including time pressures and shortage of experts, stemmed from the company's dramatic growth in recent years.

"That is not zero," he told reporters, referring to quality problems rooted in Toyota's expansion.

Watanabe has generally been frank about acknowledging challenges facing the company as it enters markets and builds new plants.

Still, his comments highlight a sense of crisis at Toyota, which is trying to maintain its sterling reputation for quality as it seeks to expand globally, especially in emerging markets such as China, Russia and Brazil.

"The fact that Toyota is growing globally suddenly shouldn't be used as an excuse," Watanabe said.

Last year Toyota, which makes the Prius gas-electric hybrids and Camry sedan, overtook General Motors Corp. as the world's No. 1 automaker in global vehicle production, although Detroit-based GM still retains the top spot in global vehicle sales.

Toyota made a record 9,497,754 vehicles worldwide in 2007, up 5.3 percent from the previous year, beating GM at 9.284 million. But Toyota sold fewer vehicles at 9.366 million to GM's 9,369,524 vehicles. GM has been the world's top seller for 77 years.

Watanabe said he had ordered a six-month delay in some products since the problems surfaced to tackle quality controls. He did not give details.

Toyota has gone over, one by one, each problem, tracking root causes, analyzing and coming up with ways to prevent a recurrence, Watanabe said.

He even referred to a trend he dubbed "big company disease" caused by arrogance among its ranks.

Since 2006, when the alarming rise in recalls began to surface, Watanabe has apologized repeatedly at news conferences in Japan.
 

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Interesting... I have to admit that I admire the way that Watanabe is handling this. IMO, other CEOs should take note and emulate.
 

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I think Toyota is choosing to cheap out. Have you seen the interiors on their new cars? They chose those materials, maybe they should bring back some of the older guys they had the 90s.
 

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Interesting... I have to admit that I admire the way that Watanabe is handling this. IMO, other CEOs should take note and emulate.
Yes, the arrogance of GM management - Putz and Ole Wagoneer is profound. They act like they've launched string after string of hits. To date, they haven't had ANY!
 

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Toyota's reputation seems to remain untarnished despite sludge problems, growing recalls, warranty extensions to placate cutomers, many "service advisories" and other problems. The Tundra has defective ball joints and other problems and still recieved awards from MotorTrend (and others).

Toyota is highly supported by the Japanese Goverment, underpays its workers in Japan despite record profits and builds some pretty BORING vehicles.

How do you stop this monster?

GM, Ford & Chrysler's only hope against the Japanese is become committed to the Family Sedan again like the New Malibu, and build small vehicles that are really competetive. We need to take away their lunch since they are so intent on going after ours (trucks and larger vehicles).
 

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I think Toyota is choosing to cheap out. Have you seen the interiors on their new cars? They chose those materials, maybe they should bring back some of the older guys they had the 90s.

I agree. The Tundra, while I actually like the exterior styling, has the worst interior in a full size truck in terms of materials, design and finish. Its so hollow and chintzy...reminds me of the Trailblazer interior.

Its like Toyota hired all the interior designers away from GM and Chrysler.
 

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You want a CEO that is as frank as he is.........NO PR FLUFF......admit when your company has screwed up and let the public know you are going to fix it (does anyone doubt that heads are rolling and that some suppliers right now are probably afraid to answer the phone).
 

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Say what you want about Toyota, there needs to be more CEOs like this.

I think the people owning Civic Si's would cry if Honda said something to that regard. That corporate arrogance Watanabe talks about? Yeah...that's Honda. Tried and true. I have never encountered a car maker so obstinate when it comes to helping its customers. It's terrible.
 

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Interesting... I have to admit that I admire the way that Watanabe is handling this. IMO, other CEOs should take note and emulate.
I agree. Rather than spinning the problems, it's refreshing to hear a bit of candor from the top. As one example:

"The fact that Toyota is growing globally suddenly shouldn't be used as an excuse," Watanabe said.
I know that praising Toyota is akin to sacrilege to some, but I'm more of the school of knowing your enemy well and beating them at their own game. In fact, I think that that's in part why NUMMI was created. And good for GM. At the time, Toyota spun circles around GM in manufacturing; why not learn from the then master and then beat them at their own game? LGR is a prime example of how GM applied well the principles of the Toyota Way.

When people bitch that Toyota is favored in the press, I look at it more from the side that Toyota plays the press like a fiddle, and the sheep fall prey. Wouldn't it be nice if GM could duplicate the act?

When people complain that Toyota builds bland cars, have people seen for decades what GM has built? Making that accusation usually rings pretty hollow to me.

I don't envision myself ever buying a Toyota/Lexus/Scion, but as a company, I think it has lots to teach, and I think it has accomplished quite a bit. Again, admire them, learn from them, and beat them at their own game, GM!
 

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It almost appears as if the Japanese are dealing with what GM dealt with in the '80s. We will see what action they take in the coming years.
 

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Every time I see his name I want to pronounce it want-to-be! :lmao:
Not me... When I see his name... I think of Wanna-Be...

:fall: same differ...
 

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Interesting... I have to admit that I admire the way that Watanabe is handling this. IMO, other CEOs should take note and emulate.
If unions were outlawed, the first thing that would happen is, a big company would say "I can not afford to pay health insurance anymore". Then, the next big company would say " I can compete with my competitor because they don't have to pay insurance". This would start a snowball effect and before you knew it, we'd find ourselves in the days of the thirty's. Unions are a necessary evil whether you like of not.
 

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I agree. The Tundra, while I actually like the exterior styling, has the worst interior in a full size truck in terms of materials, design and finish. Its so hollow and chintzy...reminds me of the Trailblazer interior.

Its like Toyota hired all the interior designers away from GM and Chrysler.

I have to admit the interior of the new Tundra is kinda bland to the eye. The fit and finish is actually quite well put together though. We took in a 2007 Chevy Silverado the other day, and as I was appraising it I noticed how you can push up on the inside lining and see huge gaps between the lining and overhead console. I went inside and did the same thing to the Tundra with no gaps. Try it for yourself you will see what I'm talking about.
 

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Lets not forget about P|ss Poor Engineering and the arrogance of placing profit above quality as major root causes of their rapidly degrading reliability and quality workmanship.
 

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Say what you want about Toyota, there needs to be more CEOs like this.

I think the people owning Civic Si's would cry if Honda said something to that regard. That corporate arrogance Watanabe talks about? Yeah...that's Honda. Tried and true. I have never encountered a car maker so obstinate when it comes to helping its customers. It's terrible.
Say what you will about Honda, Mr Watanabe is not even close to deserving any kudos here - this lastest apology still represents a 1/2 truth at best.

The main drivers to their quality woes were cost cutting efforts spurred by the Yen dropping in the '90s to as low as 79:1 and a poorly planned out (greedy) lunge for extra big volume increases.
These two were combined with a complete unwillingness to regroup and slow down to a quality sustaining growth rate when it became apparent that execution was falling way short of traditional or desirable quality performance levels .
You can even see it in this statement - volume goals will be maintained - we'll catch the quality up as best we can.

A realistic estimate thats out there is that at best, quality 'restoration' to their own old levels of accomplishment (never mind beyond) will start happening with product introduction for model year 2012.

Mr Wantanabe has been one of the key architects in all that has gone wrong there.
This statement is more conspicuous in its lack of candor although it is a small improvement over previous.
 

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I think Toyota is choosing to cheap out. Have you seen the interiors on their new cars? They chose those materials, maybe they should bring back some of the older guys they had the 90s.
Very few cars - namely the Camry and Yaris and FJ Cruiser. Although, they claim it's intentional in the FJ.

Check out the new Highlander for an example of future Toyota interiors. Almost Lexus quality.
 

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I ordered and purchased a new 2008 Chevrolet Impala LTZ in November 2007. The car was delivered with several defects and with less than 1,000 miles of driving, the airbag system malfunctioned and had to be repaired.

GM sales in the US continues to decline - I wonder what is driving GM's inability to manufacture and deliver a new car without defects? Toyota says it has quality problems due to increasing sales. GM has quality problems with declining sales.

I read that "GM's quality is improving". I didn't see it in my new 2008 GM car. (And I am a loyal, long-time GM customer). GM will continue to drive loyal customers to Toyota if they don't dramatically improve their quality and reliability.
 
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