Toyota taking “devil’s advocate” approach to product development

toyotarandd 450x300 Toyota taking devils advocate approach to product development

If you don’t get pinched by the wiper arm on the new Toyota Yaris, you have the company’s new “devil’s advocate” product development philosophy to thank. The approach entails a team of engineers doing things with the car that Toyota wouldn’t normally be able to fathom. The events of the past year have shown that people will do wacky things with their cars, like making floormat layer cakes, and this spurred management changes like more local authority for North American operations.

Toyota has installed more executives in its American plants and given the U.S. arm of the business its own decision-making power on recalls, rather than waiting for word from the home office. A single database of internal and external vehicle quality discussions is also being put together to make Toyota’s reaction more nimble.

There are critics of the efforts. Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety doesn’t find a new attitude in Toyota’s response to quality complaints much of a departure from the past, calling it “pretty much the same-old, same-old.” Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies opines that Toyota is “biding their time” and still tends to blame the victims rather than solve issues like the ones recently plaguing the company.
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by dailycar - January 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

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Toyota recalls 245,000 Lexus sedans in U.S., 1.7 million cars globally

01 2006 lexus is630opt1 450x270 Toyota recalls 245,000 Lexus sedans in U.S., 1.7 million cars globally

We won’t blame you for reading this headline and thinking, “Oh great, another Toyota recall.” After all, the Japanese automaker dominated headlines in 2010 by recalling every single model in its then-current product portfolio, including the massive sticky pedal and unintended acceleration recalls that took place in the first half of last year.

Now, Toyota has issued a voluntary recall on about 245,000Lexus sedans here in the United States and an additional 1.5 million vehicles around the world. Here in the U.S., the 2006-2007 Lexus GS 300 and GS 350, 2006-2009 Lexus IS 250 and 2006-2008 Lexus IS 350 sedans are being recalled due to faulty installation of fuel pressure sensors. If this sensor has not been fastened tightly enough, fuel has the potential to leak between the gasket that connects it to the fuel delivery pipes. Including these North American vehicles, the fuel sensor recall affects 354,524 vehicles around the world, with Automotive News citing that the Toyota Crown and Mark X sedans are being recalled in the automaker’s home market.

Toyota’s other global recall involves faulty fuel pipes and fuel check valves, though none of the 1.34 million vehicles affected by this one are in North America. In Japan, the RAV4 crossover, Voxy and Noah minivans are being recalled, as well as the Avensis sedan and wagon sold in Europe.
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by dailycar - January 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

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Toyota teases FT-86 II concept for Geneva

toyota ft 86 ii 450x270 Toyota teases FT 86 II concept for Geneva

Subaru has already confirmed that it’s sports car being jointly developed with Toyota is coming to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Now Toyota is getting into the action by announcing today that its version of the jointly developed sports car, the FT-86, will be there… and it will be an evolution of the concept shown back in 2009 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The updated version is called the Toyota FT-86 II and promises to be our clearest view yet of what the production vehicle will look like.

Toyota is also going so far as to say that the FT-86 II will prove the automaker has a “reborn passion for sports car driving.” If the FT-86 II can evoke memories of Celicas, Supras and even a hint of the legendary 2000GT, then we say build it as fast as you can.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by dailycar - at 12:50 pm

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Toyota-based Subaru Trezia hatchback headed to Europe

trezia0lo2 413x300 Toyota based Subaru Trezia hatchback headed to Europe

When we think about Toyota-Subaru collaboration, the first thing that comes to mind is the highly anticipated rear-wheel-drive “Toyobaru” project. But while the FT-86 and its Subie sibling are first in our thoughts, it wasn’t number one to market.

Automotive News reports that Subaru is set to unveil the Trezia hatchback in March at the Geneva Auto Show. The roomy five-door, which closely mirrors the Honda Fit in most every measurement, will be a near spot-on match of the Toyota Verso it’s based on, but with an Impreza-style grille slapped on the front clip and some Subaru badging sprinkled throughought. Both the Toyota Verso (named Ractis for JDM consumption) and Subaru Trezia are being sold in Japan now, and both vehicles are destined for Euro showrooms this spring.

In Japan, the Trezia is powered by a choice of 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder gasoline engines mated to a CVT, but in Europe the 1.5 will be replaced with a 1.4-liter diesel. In Japan, the Trezia can be had with all-wheel-drive provided car buyers check off the box for the more powerful engine, which will likely be the turbodiesel in Europe.

With its roomy interior and diminutive footprint, the Trezia will likely do well overseas. But will we ever see Subaru’s Fit-fighter in North America? With gas prices once again on the rise, it might not be a bad idea.
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by dailycar - January 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

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Toyota remains world’s largest automaker for third year in a row despite troubles

gyi0062137241 450x290 Toyota remains worlds largest automaker for third year in a row despite troubles

Despite weathering a rocky 2010 marked by repeated recalls, Toyota managed to remain the world’s largest automaker last year. According to Bloomberg, the Japanese manufacturer saw its sales rise by eight percent to 8.42 million units if you include Lexus, Hino and Daihatsu. That figure beat out General Motors, which saw its sales increase by 12 percent with 8.39 million units sold.

While Toyota’s sales in the U.S. market dropped by 0.4 percent due to safety concerns, the automaker saw large increases in China. The company’s sales in the People’s Republic jumped by 19 percent, though General Motors saw its Chinese sales increase by 29 percent.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, managed to move 7.14 million vehicles during 2010, cementing its place as the third-largest automaker in the world. That figure marks a 14 percent increase over 2009, and VW says that it fully expects to see sales increase by five percent in 2011.

Toyota is forecasting its sales to hit 8.6 million vehicles in 2011.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by dailycar - at 12:32 pm

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