Toyota has manufactured their own core values of service stemming from ongoing communication about their demands and campaigning the idea of building a long-term relationship with the customer and not just a short sale. Toyota also focuses on the customer as the ultimate driving force of all operations. They cover a significant range of people and their needs, tailoring all of their vehicles from trucks to hybrids for the specific buyer. The Prius is a hybrid vehicle, which most likely is driven by someone who is concerned for the environment.
The Tundra is a truck for a person who may need to transport large items, such as a construction worker or someone who has a boat. There is the Camry, forerunner, and corolla, which are all different models who capture a person’s personality and needs for a bigger or smaller vehicle depending on their family size and travel commitments. I think that is one of the most significant points that Toyota has in their favor; they provide for all ages, all professions, and promote convenience for the buyer.
Toyota has locations worldwide; one human error can affect thousands of cars and cost the company a small fortune therefore it is important for them to ensure that their vehicles are manufactured correctly and promptly. Their supply chain management team needs to consist of detail-oriented persons so that they can catch the flaws before the product goes to market. I think Toyota has set the bar high in terms of quality and this is shown through their shelf life. Toyota vehicles have a history of lasting many years.
Personally, my first car was a Toyota and it had been passed down from my brother to me and then I passed it down to my younger brother. That’s pretty amazing and I guarantee I am not the only one whose experienced this. People purchase vehicles because of their quality. Buying a car is very different than buying clothes or sneakers; a car is expected to last many years and carry the same value after its purchase.
I think one of the hardest things Toyota has to manage is their inventory. If they’re not selling their vehicles, they’re not making a profit. Fortunately, Toyota has built and maintained customer loyalty. This is one of Toyota’s biggest strengths because it gives them a competitive advantage.
Toyota is able to retain their customers because they continue to make their cars smarter and stronger as well as appealing to the customer’s eye however housing unsold vehicles costs them money and not having a vehicle or service part can cost them a customer. Toyota has to balance enough inventory throughout the world and they do it well by using the supply chain guide and separating the tasks completed internally until the product is launched to the customer.
Toyota prides themselves on building a quality vehicle in the sense that they want the customer to be happy, even after their purchase. They want the customer still enthused knowing that if the car needs service over time, it still maintains value. They don’t cut corners when they manufacture a vehicle; they cover all of their necessities and listen to customers’ feedback. However, I think that Toyota can continually try to improve their vehicles and promote the changes to the vehicles. For example, the hybrid. A lot of people may think that purchasing the vehicle is a great investment because you’re going to save a lot of money in gas.
Personally, I’ve thought about buying the hybrid for that same reason, however Toyota doesn’t aggressively market the hybrid. They wait for their customers to come to them. They could try to market the vehicle better by offering a “quick preview; a look at your future” and launch a commercial about the hybrid targeting a specific age such as maybe 20-25 year olds, college students and recent college graduate students mainly because when students get out of college, the first thing they decide to buy is a vehicle.
Their operations are evaluated continuously over time in order to ensure that the customer is happy and continues to maintain a close relationship with Toyota; they personalize the vehicles and add quality so that the customer will continue to purchase a Toyota automobile throughout one’s lifetime.
I think one of the major setbacks Toyota had in recent years was when a customer’s accelerator pedal got stuck. They were traveling at 120 mph and had no way of slowing down the vehicle. All four people who were in the car passed away. I think this was a major setback for Toyota because their customers’ safety was jeopardized.
On top of it, there was a recording of the 911 call, which is horrifying. It was not only a terrible accident but it also sent a poor message for Toyota, the idea that there car had a defect and it killed 4 people. Something like that prompts Toyota car owners to question their car and possibly question Toyota as well. It was up to Toyota to re-test their vehicles and ensure that this would never occur again.
Toyota is being sued in California right now because of 4 wrongful deaths. They are being sued because they failed to recall pick-ups and SUVs with defective steering rods. Lawsuits are added costs on top of Toyota’s operating costs. It is wasted time and money for them to be sued.
Therefore, in order to continually improve upon things they could implement a new quality system that would have series of steps the vehicle would have to pass. I believe they already have something like this but the process needs to be more concrete so they can support their company and fend off lawsuits, especially since reckless driving by the operator isn’t Toyota’s fault. Although this is an area difficult to control, it offers a window of opportunity and change for the future of Toyota.
Toyota is a monster competitor with the other car companies. They build great vehicles and offer phenomenal customer service on a continual basis. Toyota has done a great job identifying their areas for improvement but has also shined against competitors’ for having some of the best vehicles, which shows, in their revenue; just under General Motors. I think the challenge for Toyota is how they will continually improve and continue to sell vehicles in and out of an economical downturn.
Toyota knows that if they don’t act innovative and empower their employees as well as customers to buy and sell their vehicles than they will not be able to keep up with the competitors. It will be interesting to see what Toyota comes out with next, perhaps a car that doesn’t need fuel?
Fleming, N. (2010). Toyota’s car recall sparks ‘drive-by-wire’ concerns. New Scientist. 205(2747), 19.
Jackson, K. (2009) Ruling near in Toyota suits. Automotive News, 84(6376),3.