The length of time that Toyota Motor Corp. will take to develop its models will be extended by about four weeks as part of the company's aim to ensure quality, according to Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada. At Toyota headquarters last Wednesday, Uchiyamada said that the "fast growth" that happened in the last 10 years have made it difficult for some areas of the carmaker to cope.
Uchiyamada, who leads research and development, said that of Toyota's 14,000 members in its R&D staff, about 1,000 engineers are tasked to deal specifically with quality matters.
Amid the massive recalls due to the risk of unintended acceleration in over 10 million of Toyota's vehicles worldwide, the quality of its cars is cast in doubt.
What makes this tragic is that Toyota had once been a benchmark for the car industry when it comes to quality. Regulators have stated that Toyota has been slow to act and is seemingly out of touch with the needs of the consumers.
Uchiyamada also said that Toyota assigned a new of team of 100 engineers (separate from the development team) to audit vehicle quality from the drivers' perspective.
He said that it's important for its engineers to view a vehicle and determine how customers would use it in ways that haven't been reflected in its testing. Uchiyamada said that doing so would help spot problems, such as the issue of stacked or loose floormats, before the cars enter the market.