Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toyota in trouble

The "Toyota Way" is no more the Holy Grail of automobile industry. Toyota is well on its way to set up a new record in the number of cars recalled for repairs. It is displacing Ford from this dubious position. Problems with accelerator pedals and floor mats have resulted in more than 8 million cars being recalled. Electronic systems also seem to be suspect.

Toyota has long been known for kaizen and quality. Why did Homer nod and Toyota recall? It has recently overtaken General Motors as the largest producer of automobiles. Focus on the topline seems to have diverted top management's attention from quality. The problem of sticking pedals has been aggravated by severity of cold conditions in the U S.

Spate of customer complaints is a new experience for Toyota and its CEO,Toyoda. It remains to be seen how the Japanese manufacturer will come out of this crisis. Japanese are infamous for their slow and studied response. They cannot afford that luxury now. American auto-makers are waiting on their wings to bounce back.

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