Safety panel tells Toyota to listen to outsiders, allow more time for safety testing

2011 Toyota Camry

Toyota yesterday received the recommendations provided in a report from its independent North American Quality Advisory Panel, led by former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater. The advisory panel, which was appointed by Toyota itself after the millions of recalls its faced since 2009, said that Toyota is too insular and doesn’t do a good job of incorporating feedback from customers or testing agencies into its car designs. It also said that Toyota’s recent management changes have not gone far enough to address a range of safety problems.

Of course, Toyota didn’t expect much positive input from the panel since they were responsible for looking into why Toyota went through all these safety and recall problems in the first place.

“We appreciate the Panel’s efforts to help us further strengthen our processes, and we thank this distinguished group for their recommendations,” Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda said. “Over the past year, Toyota has learned a great deal from listening to the Panel’s valuable counsel. Their advice has been reflected in the meaningful steps we’ve taken to give our North American operations more autonomy and become an even more safety-focused and responsive company. Now, the Panel has given us further insights into how we can best achieve our vision of exceeding customer expectations with the safest and most responsible vehicles.”

As noted by the Panel, Toyota has taken several steps in line with their recommendations prior to receiving their formal report. These include:
  • Giving North American operations greater autonomy to make proactive recall decisions
  • Strengthening supplier quality controls
  • Extending product development time to incorporate more safety testing
  • Appointing a Chief Safety Technology Officer
  • Launching a Collaborative Safety Research Center focused on protecting the most vulnerable traffic populations including children, teens and seniors, and
  • Making its advanced THUMS crash test software available for university research at a nominal cost.

If you’re interested here is the full copy of the report:

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Toyota, Automotive News, MSNBC