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Autoline After Hours 

t seems like the bad news just doesn't stop for Toyota these days. Millions of vehicles have been recalled, with perhaps, more to come, tarnishing the auto giant's record of high-quality workmanship. Now, members of Congress are calling for Akio Toyoda to testify stateside. To discuss the delicate art of Crisis Management on this week's show, and what Toyota could have done better, we're summoning an old friend for a deposition before our panel.

Jason Vines was at the helm of Ford Public Relations when the Explorer rollover crisis occurred in the 1990s. We'll ask how a company can effectively diffuse a PR bomb and keep the situation from spiraling out of control. John McElroy's onboard as usual as well as David Welch of BusinessWeek and Bloomberg and Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist.

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Reader Comments (1)

Well, I'm not surprised that an increasing number of recalls have caught up with Toyota. It's all in the statistics. As your manufacturing volume increases and you source out to more suppliers (that are used by others in industry, by the way) and it's just a matter of time before defects trend in the data. Today, good manufacturing tools are available to all industries (computer development software, CAD-CAM modeling, statistical analysis software, etc.). While Toyota may have started the "continual process improvement" model in automobile manufacturing other manufacturers have caught up and Toyota doesn't deserve THE BEST automobile manufacturer awards anymore. They are riding their own coat tails...and now tripped. As someone who has over 25 years in manufacturing and over 16 years in quality assurance / process in the aerospace industry, I say it was only a matter of time. I have studied their quality processes as a certified six sigma quality black-belt. I always thought the "Toyota way" was being over hyped. Just use the correct tools. Toyota doesn't "own" any specific quality tools. They are available to any manufacturer. To balance this out I will say that while I'm not a fan of any Toyota products (as they are all pretty boring), I do believe that the media is jumping on the bandwagon with negative articles. In summary, Toyota is just ONE of the very good automobile manufacturers...not THE BEST. If you look at the engineering specifications they are not the best in performance, not the best in fuel economy, not the best road feel, not the best in style, etc. Their products are just statistical average to please the average person in the marketplace at a reasonable price. So look in your rear view mirror Toyota, you'll see other manufacturers catching up to your bumper as they too continually improve their manufacturing abilities. This subjective quality thing may appear to be a dead-heat race. Then, what will you have Toyota to distinguish yourself from the others?

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraegis

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