DETROIT -- General Motors has hired a retired Toyota Motor Corp. executive to improve the reliability and durability of GM vehicles.
Tatsuhiko Yoshimura, 60, began work at GM last week. He will critique GM's sourcing, decision-making, and testing and validation procedures and then will propose changes, says Jim Queen, vice president of GM North America engineering.
The hiring repeats GM's pattern in hiring Robert Lutz as product guru: going outside for an expert to attack a key issue. CFO John Devine, a former Ford Motor Co. finance chief, was another critical outside hire.
"We're doing this more and more as a company," Queen says. "I think we're opening up."
But there are differences. Yoshimura will be in a consulting role, reporting to Queen, while Lutz and Devine are vice chairmen.
Yoshimura is an expert in quality as part of the product development process, Queen says. Yoshimura will co-chair GM's reliability board, paying particular attention to GM's standards for long-term parts reliability.