By Jon Miller | Post Date: May 31, 2006 1:46 PM | Comments: 2
A Washington Street Journal article on May 31, 2006 reports that once again, Toyota Recalls Some Prius Cars. That's some 170,000 Prius vehicles. If you include the other models it's nearly a million cars recalled for parts not strong enough and at risk of cracking under stress.
What's going on at Toyota? It seems like nearly every month or two there is another wave of recalls. Is Toyota, famed for built-in quality losing its quality edge? Not likely.
The recall numbers are getting bigger because Toyota is doing design kaizen to reduce cost. As they move increasingly towards common designs for parts and the sharing of parts across a wider range of vehicles in an effort to drive down cost, recalls are increasing.
With common parts you have one part serving millions of vehicles instead of a dozen parts each serving hundreds of thousands. When more parts are affected, the recalls numbers will be bigger.
Parts designed for use across a range of vehicles pushes the limits of what the parts can do. Parts designed for one model of vehicle are more robust since it was designed and tested for that particular model. When a single part design is needed to perform for a variety of vehicles, it may not function so well for all models that use it.
Toyota is pursuing aggressive cost reduction through common platform vehicles and common parts. Just like the parts themselves are cracking under stress, the drive to reduce cost by design kaizen is showing cracks under stress. Toyota will weather these recalls as they learn from them and solve these design problems. Long-term it's a winning strategy.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.