03 March 2010 /
TOYOTA NEW ZEALANDSUPPORTS
RENEWEDGLOBALFOCUS ON QUALITY
Toyota New Zealand supports the strong action being taken by its parent company at the conclusion of the Congressional hearing in the United States this morning [New Zealand time].
The hearing saw three senior Toyota Japan executives questioned about Toyota recalls in the United States and general quality and safety issues. This followed two hearings last week, one of which was attended by Toyota global president Mr Akio Toyoda.
The company's global head of quality, Mr Shinichi Sasaki, said Toyota was changing its entire quality assurance process following the spate of recalls in the United States.
In addition, Toyota motor sales US president Yoshi Inaba told the hearing the company had commissioned an independent panel of experts, led by former US Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, to ensure any new controls conform to industry best practice.
Toyota New Zealand general manager of after sales, Paul Carroll says the start of these quality process changes are already underway with the inaugural meeting of the new 'Global Quality Group' planned for later this month.
"This new group will include the heads of quality from each of the main Toyota manufacturing centres around the world and will enable a much better and faster flow of information," says Carroll.
On the issue of accelerator performance, Toyota's global head of engineering, Mr Takeshi Uchiyamada, told the hearing that Toyota remained confident in its electronic throttle controls after rigorous testing by both Toyota and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) had failed to find any evidence of a fault.
Mr Uchiyamada confirmed that testing was continuing and that Toyota had engaged the services of a US-based independent engineering consultancy, Exponent, to also test the systems, the results of which would be made public.
Paul Carroll says: "We've had Kiwi customers asking about unintended acceleration due to the publicity from the United States and the outcomes of today's hearing should go someway to reassuring them the issue is being thoroughly investigated."
Toyota New Zealand general manager of after sales Paul Carroll is available for interviews from the company's Palmerston North office. Please contact Debbie Wapp on (06) 350 3472.