I’ve been following the Toyota recalls lately with some confusion. From what people who’ve purchased them have told me, quality was a big motivator in most cases. What is most interesting though, is that apparently that image has been nothing more than that – an image – for quite some time.
An interesting article from David Olive, business columnist at The Star posits that their reputation for quality was lost ages ago. He also points out that Toyota isn’t doing the right thing by recalling the cars for altruistic reasons, but rather that they are forced to by US law. And of course, if they can’t sell them in the US, there is little point in continuing production at all until the problem is resolved.
Apparently, the reason for the decline in quality has been due to Toyota constantly trying to push down production costs. By using the same gas pedal in numerous vehicles, and sourcing them all from a single supplier, the costs and delivery times are drastically reduced. The problem of course is that they’ve put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket. If the pedals are bad in one model, they’re now bad in 10.
Makes me glad I went with Honda, not that I ever truly considered Toyota in the first place. Back in the late 80s/early 90s my father bought a Tercel Station Wagon, which turned out to be the biggest piece of crap my family ever owned. The interior was cheaply made to put it nicely, the thing had 4WD, which if you ever used – you’d be hard put to get out of. The transmission died twice in the two years we had it. It was rusting like an SOB when we finally sold it.
Back on the iPad topic, after the keynote, Steve Jobs was questioned about the battery life, and whether or not you’d be able to read for 10 hours on it. A reasonable question, since while he’d said you get 10 hours of battery life – he didn’t provide any information as to what that 10 hours would be composed of (video, reading, etc). In the end, he says “you’re not going to read for 10 hours… you just end up pluggin’ it in”. Interesting.