"I take this seriously and see it as a crisis. The world-class quality that we've achieved is our lifeline," said Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe at Toyota's 2006 midyear news conference.
We all know that the first step on the road to recovery is to admit that you have a problem. Toyota, the world?s largest car manufacturer has done just that with its president, Katsuaki Watanabe admitting to Japanese press that they are experiencing issues with quality. Product quality, has arguably been one of the single largest factors in Toyota's success and recent rise to number one in the industry.
However, while Mr Watanabe acknowledged that Toyota?s rapid rise to the mantle of ?Global sales leader? was the reason for the quality glitches he wasn?t prepared to use that as an excuse.
"The fact that Toyota is growing globally suddenly shouldn't be used as an excuse," said Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabi
Mr Watanabi went on to discuss what he calls ?big company disease?, an affliction that results from a certain arrogance that seems to go hand in hand with being the biggest. GM had it once, Toyota have it now and Mr Watanabe will be seeking to change that. He is keen to identify the root causes of their issues and quickly resolve them.
Toyota are just learning that taking the number one position is possibly easier than keeping it, however in stark comparison to GM they appear keen to identify their issues and resolve them quickly, before any lasting damage to their brand is sustained. Mr Watanabe is said to have personally intervened and delayed some model programs to ensure that quality is up to Toyota standards.