Toyota's Latest Decision Is Surprising But Necessary

Industry News / Comments

Tough times require a few compromises.

Of all the automakers, Toyota has weathered the semiconductor chip shortage crisis better than most. Following harsh lessons learned following the devastating 2011 tsunami, the Japanese automaker began stockpiling crucial components, including chips, at a considerable expense. This is in contrast to the "just-in-time" supply policy automakers typically use. That will now have to change to some degree. Still, normality has still not returned to the supply chain and Toyota is keenly aware of that; some compromises must be made.

According to Reuters, Toyota has acknowledged it's now willing to accept slightly blemished parts from suppliers instead of rejecting them. It's not only a chip crisis happening right now but also a general increase in material costs. Beggars can't be choosers.

2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Front Left Side View Toyota
2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Rear Right Side View Toyota
2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Infotainment System Toyota

However, Toyota will never use components that could potentially be unsafe or result in a defective vehicle. "We are careful about the outside of our vehicles, the parts you can easily see. But there are plenty of places that people don't notice unless they really take a good look," said Takefumi Shiga, Toyota's chief project leader for vehicle development.

Toyota has made clear to suppliers, specifically third-tier ones, that things like scratches and blemishes are fine just as long as they don't affect vehicle safety, performance, and overall build quality. These minor defects also cannot be noticed by customers.

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2021-2022 Toyota Camry Rear Perspective Driving Toyota
2021-2022 Toyota Camry Dashboard Toyota
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Customers should therefore not be concerned that their new Toyota Camry, RAV4, or any other model (maybe even Lexus?) are still top-notch and meet the automaker's high standards. Remember, customers don't blame suppliers when something goes wrong. They scream at the automaker.

This new policy is also benefitting suppliers not just in terms of business but also improved overall quality. They know Toyota is willing to make some compromises but it'll still reject bad parts outright. That'll never change. It's very much in their interest, more so than ever, to improve production methods to improve quality as a whole. The fewer parts rejected, the more money they make.

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Source Credits: Reuters

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2022 Toyota GR86 Driving Front Angle
2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Infotainment System
2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Front Left Side View
2019-2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2021-2022 Toyota Camry Driving Front Angle
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