Are Toyota cars reliable? Ask this question of the owner of the Toyota Qualis from Kerala who has clocked over 8 lakh kms or inquire with the owner of a Toyota Innova boasting more than 10 lakh kms on the odometer, with nothing but regular service. The answer would be yes. Reliability is one of the main selling points for Toyota cars in India, and that is one of the reasons why they perform well irrespective of their higher cost. This is also why Toyota cars have great resale value. How does Toyota manage to remain consistent when it comes to the quality of their products? It turns out there are a few simple yet effective methods that the manufacturer follows to maintain consistency.
The first is Jidoka. Jidoka is a Japanese word that translates into ‘automation with a human touch’. While most manufacturers use modern machinery to build new cars and engines, Toyota does it a bit differently. Instead of completely relying on machinery, Toyota uses engineers to hand-build the engine to a point of absolute perfection. Once the engine is hand-built, they put it through an automated process.
This hand-built method ensures that every engine is nearly perfect, and that is also the reason why Toyota does not offer a large variety of optional extras when it comes to engines. They use the same parts and engine on many models as they put a lot of effort into making the engine.
The second secret to Toyota reliability is Kaizen. Another Japanese word, translates into ‘change for the better’. Irrespective of one’s position in the organization, a Toyota employee can bring the production line to a stop if he or she sees or comes across a problem that needs to be fixed. This method ensures that the problem is identified and resolved at the initial stages rather than recalling the vehicles that are sold to customers. This method ensures that every vehicle is carefully inspected when it rolls out of the production line, resulting in better reliability.
And the third is the worst-kept secret – Function over form, and overengineering are core to Toyota’s manufacturing. Toyota makes engines to last at least a million km. In order to achieve this, the manufacturer has to make some compromises. They choose function over form. They also overengineer parts to ensure that they last very long. Toyota engines are built in such a manner that they are intentionally limited to lower RPMs. This way, they can ensure that the engine is not stressed too much, resulting in less wear and tear in the longer run.
How Toyota Is Changing for the Future
Last year, we came across a report where Toyota engineers took apart a Tesla Model Y and were shocked to find how far behind Tesla they were when it comes to innovations in car manufacturing processes. After this shocking realization, Toyota CEO Koji Sato pledged to speed up the company’s shift to EVs. Toyota will focus on battery EVs in the future and will launch a new electric model under its Lexus brand by 2026. Despite being the largest automaker in terms of the number of cars sold, Toyota is still behind and is often criticized for being late to embrace EVs.
This does not mean it is the end for ICE vehicles from Toyota. According to a recent report, Toyota Motor Chairman Akio Toyoda revealed that Toyota will continue to invest in Internal Combustion engines and said that engines still play a very crucial role and are necessary for the future. Toyota has even launched programs to develop new IC engines.
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