Toyota starts at basics with Mirai assembly in Japan

Article by Christian A., on February 27, 2015

Toyota has been known for its its massive assembly lines producing thousands of vehicles every day. Yet, it has established a workshop that builds just three vehicle everyday, manned by just 13 people. This workshop is for its futuristic fuel cell sedan, the Mirai. What is ironic is that while Mirai is Toyota’s most advanced vehicle, it seems to have a low-tech birth – no conveyors, no andon lines, just a small-batch, kid-glove approach.

Assembly is also done by hand. “Compared with other plants, this has very low productivity,” remarked Mitsuyuki Suenaga, an assistant manager at the Motomachi workshop, which was tasked to build the Mirai. “It is all manual,” he said. But everything has a purpose, as President Akio Toyoda says the Mirai represents a return to roots, in attention to quality and pioneering spirit.

While actual actual production of the Mirai started in December 2014, Toyoda remarked he deliberately chose Feb. 24, 2015, to celebrate as it marks the fifth anniversary of what many in the carmaker consider as its lowerst point.

That day, five years ago, Toyoda testified and was grilled before a congressional panel in United States over the carmaker’s unintended acceleration recalls. “For us, that date marks a new start,” Toyoda.

He said this was to celebrate Toyota’s new start, as it takes a “fresh step” towards the future.” Since then, Toyoda vowed to rebuild Toyota with a back-to-basics emphasis on quality and top-notch product, and chose the Motomachi workshop that also built the iconic Lexus LFA sports car.

For the Mirai, the carmaker picked only master craftsmen known for their car-building expertise, and further honed their skills for two years building the fuel cell vehice. He remarked that at Motomachi, while having not-so-advanced facilities, Toyota relies on the work of skilled employees -- similar to how things were when the carmaker was just starting out.

If you liked the article, share on:

Comments

Recommended

A lot of us know Singer Vehicle Design and their signature work of reimagining Porsche 911s, and making them look like hot rods from the 70s. They are not alone...
by - August 20, 2017
August 17, 2017 is a sad day for the Dodge Viper, its fans, enthusiasts and its admirers. It is the day when the last Dodge Viper rolled off the assembly...
by - August 20, 2017
A few months ago, Mercedes-Benz promised that they will be treating everyone to a “big surprise” during the Monterey Car Week. And true enough, many of us were stunned as...
by - August 19, 2017
McLaren has already shown some interest in electrifying their models. And initially, we thought that they will just use hybrid systems to use across their current lineup. Nevertheless, we have...
by - August 19, 2017
Fifty years after its glorious victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ford launches the 2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition at the 2017 Monterey Car Week. The red...
by - August 18, 2017
Facebook

Youtube Channel

Tip Us
Do you have a tip for us?
Did you film an important event?
Contact us
Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Subscribe
Galleries