Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good News: A (Probably) Non-Lethal Toyota Glitch

"Toyota recalls 1.7 million autos as quality woes mount"
Chris Gallagher, Edition: US, Reuters (January 26, 2011)

"Toyota Motor Corp said it would recall more than 1.7 million vehicles worldwide, bringing its total for recalls to nearly 16 million since late 2009 and dealing a blow to its efforts to restore its reputation for quality.

"The recalls are for various issues, the biggest of which is to fix potentially faulty fuel pumps and connecting pipes in 1.34 million vehicles, Toyota said.

"Although the situation is different from last year, when Toyota attracted intense scrutiny from U.S. safety regulators over unintended acceleration problems that were blamed for dozens of fatalities, the latest recall may make it harder for Toyota to convince investors it has put its quality problems behind it.

"Shares of Toyota, the world's top automaker, extended early declines and closed down nearly 2 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after the announcement...."

This is, in a way, very good news about Toyota. This latest set of glitches in their products apparently hasn't killed anybody. Not yet, anyway. That's a huge improvement over the trick cars that sometimes wouldn't slow down.

The latest Toyota SNAFU isn't doing much good to the company's reputation, though. There was a time when Toyota had earned a reputation for building high-quality cars and trucks.

One problem with having a good reputation for excellence, in the Lemming's opinion, is that a reputation doesn't take care of itself. A few lapses - particularly if they're addressed honestly and effectively - can pass without much harm. On the other hand, selling defective cars and not telling your customers about it? Or not telling all your customers about it? Folks tend, again in the Lemming's opinion, to notice that.

Particularly if people die when the defective cars won't slow down.

In the short run, a car manufacturer might make a little extra money by lethal cost-cutting. The Lemming doesn't know if that's what happened with Toyota, by the way. Maybe the company had a few too many managers and executives who were better at writing reports than doing quality control. The Lemming simply does not know.

The bottom line is - that a company's bottom line suffers, if a good reputation gets tarnished and stays that way. In the Lemming's opinion.

Sadly, that's what seems to be happening with Toyota.

On the 'up' side, it looks like this time around Toyota is acknowledging that there are defective parts - and doing something about it. Before more people get killed.

That, in the Lemming's opinion, is smart.

Related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Repetition: "too many managers and executives and managers who were better at writing reports"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Got it.

Although it might be fun to play with the idea of a company so enmeshed in its own bureaucracy that it had executives managing the managers who managed executives who managed managers.

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