Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. (TMS) today announced that it is expanding its Product Quality Field Office program to four additional U.S. regional sales areas, following what it calls the success of a pilot program launched in the New York region in late 2009.
Toyota is also slowing down its product development system in Japan, once noted for its for speed.
It was the New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, who first extracted additional services last winter for New York Toyota and Lexus customers – more than 500,000 of them – who were affected by Toyota’s growing number of safety recalls. So having a New York quality office is a good idea.
“It is unacceptable that New York consumers should face additional burdens when dealing with a safety problem that is Toyota’s responsibility,” Cuomo said in a statement at the time. (See New York Attorney General Gets Valet Service for Recalled Toyota and Lexus Owners and Toyota Promises Nationwide Valet Service for Recalled Toyota and Lexus Vehicles)
TMS will open its next Product Quality Field Office in San Francisco this month, and an additional three offices across the U.S. during the next 12 months. Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) announced that it will establish Product Quality Field Offices in Toronto and Calgary, which means that seven offices will be located in North America.
Toyota is also extending the time it takes to introduce new vehicles by a month for more quality checks, a top executive said Wednesday to a group of junketing American journalists in Japan.
Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said the company needs to slow the pace of its product development system. The Detroit Bureau was not invited to attend the Toyota paid event, perhaps because of our ongoing coverage of Toyota safety and quality issues, including the breaking news story about defective Prius brakes. (See NHTSA Tracking Braking Loss on Prius Hybrids) It was not immediately clear what the small amount of additional time would provide given the complexity of Toyota’s recall issues, which encompass design, manufacturing, supplier parts and electronic calibration issues.