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Major Changes Help Toyota Put Focus On Its Customers

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
“I am taking the company back to basics … We are putting our customers, and the values on which our company was founded, front and center.” – Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporationtoyota emblem
Dec. 20, 2010 — Toyota has taken major steps to become an even more responsive, customer-focused organization – and to strengthen our leadership in automotive quality and safety.
Safe Cars Made Even Safer
•    Star Safety System of five accident avoidance technologies standard across all new vehicles.
•    Smart Stop Technology included on all new models for added customer confidence.
•    Enhanced Event Data Recorders in all 2011 model year vehicles.
A Transformation in Global Quality Assurance
•    Special Committee for Global Quality, led by President Akio Toyoda, examining all aspects of quality assurance.
•    Strengthened ability to monitor and evaluate customer concerns.
•    New vehicle development cycle expanded by four weeks to help ensure reliability and safety.
•    1,000 Toyota engineers assigned to focus on component design and quality.
Swift, Decisive Action on Safety
•    North American operations have a greater voice in safety decisions – with appropriate action taken whenever issues emerge.
•    Established SMART Teams of highly trained engineers and field technicians who can be deployed to conduct onsite inspections anywhere in the U.S. help quickly investigate customer concerns.
•    Six additional Product Quality Field Offices in process of being established throughout North America.
Fast and Thorough Response on Recalls
•    Nearly 200,000 employees, dealers and technicians across America focused on making things right for customers.
•    Floor mat and sticky pedal recall remedies substantially complete.
More Local Autonomy
•    Chief Quality Officer for North America (Steve St. Angelo) – a new position with a direct line to Akio Toyoda.
•    Independent Quality Advisory Panel, chaired by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, reviewing and making policy recommendations.
•    More Americans now leading our plants in the U.S.

Extraordinary Technical Scrutiny
•    Several thousand SMART Team evaluations since April, none of which has found a single instance of unintended acceleration caused by failure in our vehicle electronics.
•    An unprecedented level of independent engineering review, including NASA, the National Academy of Sciences and leading engineering firm Exponent.
Continued Economic and Community Impact
•    Ongoing focus on maintaining employment security – no layoffs among full-time employees at Toyota’s manufacturing plants, despite the economic downturn.
•    Significant new investments in our U.S. manufacturing operations, including capital improvements and 1,000 new jobs at our San Antonio production facility plus the impending completion of a new, billion-dollar plant in Mississippi, which will directly employ nearly 2,000 people.
•    Continued investments in local education systems, environmental programs and community organizations across the country.
Ongoing Support from Customers and Independent Experts
•    Toyota remains the best selling retail brand in America – Camry the #1 selling car in the U.S.
•    Seventeen vehicles rated most reliable by Consumer Reports, more than any other manufacturer.
•    Toyota has regained the number one spot as the most-considered automobile brand among new-car shoppers, according to Kelley Blue Book, one of the most trusted resources for new and used vehicle buyers.
•    Toyota and Lexus dominated Kelley Blue Book’s recently announced list of 2011 Top Ten Best Resale Values, taking four of the ten top spots. No other automaker had more than two.
•    Six segment awards in the 2010 J.D. Power initial quality study, more than any other manufacturer.
•    Eight Toyota vehicles named “top safety picks” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, is raising its full-year profit forecast as sales in Asia are growing more than expected and demand in the U.S. recovers following the recall of more than 8 million vehicles.sales up

Toyota may post net income of  $3.98 billion in the year ending in March, compared with an earlier smaller estimate, it said in a statement today. For the fiscal first quarter, the company swung close to 2 billion profit from a year-earlier loss.

The automaker raised its sales outlook for all regions except Europe amid a rebound in demand that prompted rival Honda Motor Co. to also lift its earnings forecast last week.

“Toyota is now at a point where they feel comfortable giving good news,” said Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive officer of Fukoku Capital Management in Tokyo. “The recall issue has settled down in the U.S. and China.”

Toyota’s first-quarter sales gained 36 percent in North America, its biggest market. While deliveries fell 3.2 percent in July, the North American market may improve from the third quarter, Toyota’s Senior Managing Director Takahiko Ijichi said today.

Toyota raised its global vehicle sales forecast to 7.38 million units for the year ending in March 2011 from an earlier estimate of 7.29 million.

The company left its forecast for the yen against the dollar unchanged at 90 yen, 5 percent weaker than the rate of 85.52 as of 9:29 am in London. A stronger yen, which traded near an eight-month high against the U.S. dollar today, may erode profit gains by reducing the repatriated value of overseas sales.

Toyota is posting profit gains after the global recession hammered earnings a year earlier and after the recalls that began late last year.

The automaker, which said in July it added 1,000 engineers to an expanded quality assessment group, is extending vehicle development time by about four weeks on average and is opening new regional offices in the U.S. and Canada to more quickly investigate customer complaints.

While Toyota’s U.S. sales dropped in July, industrywide sales increased 5.2 percent. Hyundai, which introduced a revamped Sonata sedan in February, posted a 19 percent sales gain in the nation, and U.S.-based carmakers reported a combined sales increase of 5.5 percent for the month.

Toyota’s average incentives surged 44 percent to $2,235 per vehicle in the first quarter from a year earlier, the highest amount for the period since at least 2001, according to auto industry researcher in Santa Monica, California.

“Recovery in North America is less than stellar,” said Naoki Fujiwara, a fund manager who helps oversee about $6 billion at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “I’m worried that Toyota’s sales incentives in the U.S. are ballooning.”

The company has been cutting back on incentive spending in the U.S. since July and will continue to do so through the fiscal third quarter, Toyota’s Ijichi said today.