TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp.'s global manufacturing chief expressed "shame" over quality problems that have plagued the launch of the 2007 Tundra full-sized pickup.
"We have had some trouble on the first stage," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president for production and total quality management. "New models typically have problems, but Toyota doesn't want that."
Speaking at an event during press days at the Tokyo motor show, Uchiyamada said Toyota had expected some problems with the launch since the Tundra is a redesigned truck built in a new factory. Toyota began producing the Tundra in San Antonio early this year.
The redesigned Tundra has been troubled by faulty camshafts and torque converters and cracking tailgates.
Some have speculated that Toyota's plants are being pushed too hard by the company's rampaging sales growth. Uchiyamada would not go that far. But he said Toyota "has a sales volume expansion plan, and we have to keep up."
To solve quality problems, Uchiyamada said Toyota has put new plans in place. A new Global Training Center in Japan helps assembly line managers better understand the Toyota Production System. New software programs can better trace the frequency and sources of manufacturing errors.
Toyota also is working on standardizing more processes in the engineering stage of product development so errors do not recur on the assembly line.
"At the engineering stage," Uchiyamada said, "we need to identify and control the condition of machines, materials and procedures."