• Apr 9th 2010 at 1:58PM
  • 26
Ever since the whole Toyota recall debacle exploded late in 2009, one of the company's biggest problems has been the way it has responded to the problems. Many have criticized Toyota for either ignoring the problems or pretending that there is nothing wrong, but the company is now seeking to address that appearance by setting up rapid response teams to deal with reported incidents of unintended acceleration.

For example, when a pair of alleged "unintended acceleration" incidents happened in San Diego and Connecticut, Toyota jumped in, sending out investigators to join government officials in trying to find out what happened.The new Swift Market Analysis Response Team (SMART) will now be immediately dispatched to the site of any reported unintended acceleration incident. The teams will consist of product engineers, field technical specialists and specially trained dealer technicians.

Whenever dealers or Toyota are notified of an incident, the SMART team will head out to the site to evaluate the vehicle and gather evidence. Engineers from Toyota's Japanese product development teams will also assist in the analysis. Hopefully, a more thorough investigation of every reported case will provide Toyota with a larger pool of data from which it can gain a better understanding of what may or may not be happening. Even if there is not actually a problem, Toyota needs to prove so conclusively, because if these kinds of incidents continue happening, they will only damage the company's reputation further. Official press release after the jump.

[Source: Toyota | Image: CNN]
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Toyota Announces 'SMART' Business Process for Quick Evaluation of Unintended Acceleration Reports
Dedicated Vehicle Evaluation Teams Will Lead Nationwide Rapid Response

TORRANCE, Calif., April 8, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced it has established a new SMART business process utilizing existing product engineers, field technical specialists and specially trained technicians to quickly and aggressively investigate customer reports of unintended acceleration in Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles in the United States.

The rapid-response Swift Market Analysis Response Team will attempt to contact customers within 24 hours of receiving a complaint of unintended acceleration to arrange for a comprehensive on-site vehicle analysis. Members are drawn from a group of 200 technical associates located across Toyota's North American operations and will work in close partnership with Toyota and Lexus dealers. As part of the SMART program, dealerships will utilize structured business processes and materials to address owners' concerns or reported experiences with unintended acceleration.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said, "As Toyota's President Akio Toyoda told Congress in February, we are committed to listening to our customers even more intently and addressing their concerns even more promptly. Our multi-tiered SMART approach is just one of the many steps we are taking to make sure that Toyota sets an even higher standard.

"There has been a great deal of confusion, speculation and misinformation about unintended acceleration in the past several weeks. We believe judgments should be based on reliable evidence, and our SMART business process is there to help provide information upon which such judgments can be made. As we did in two recent, much-publicized cases in San Diego, California and Harrison, New York, we will continue to work in close partnership with law enforcement agencies and federal regulators with jurisdiction over accidents whenever requested," St. Angelo said.

The size and configuration of each SMART team will vary based on the specific circumstances of each report and vehicle involved, and will incorporate engineering and product experts from across Toyota's North American operations, including:

* Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) in Torrance, California
* Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America (TEMA) in Erlanger, Kentucky and Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan
* Toyota Regional Sales Offices
* Lexus Area Sales Offices
* Private Distributors

Engineers from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan are also expected to assist in some evaluations, as are specialists from other fields if warranted by initial findings.

Toyota has provided dealers in the United States with the information they need to assist vehicle owners with concerns about unintended acceleration and to arrange a SMART evaluation. The information includes guidance on how to help owners, ranging from those with concerns about their vehicle to those who report experiencing unintended acceleration and were involved in an accident.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com or www.lexus.com and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      talk about closing the barn door after the horse already left.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does this "SMART" process include lying, subterfuge and spin? It wouldn't be Toyota to do otherwise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Somebody quick, put the rabid duhmestic fanbois back in their cages before their Fords spontaneously combust!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This must be part of their JIT (just in time) business process.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just In Time Prevarication

        "Nothing to see here, folks. Driver misapplied the pedal. Oh, and he has bad credit. Move along."

      • 5 Years Ago
      "If it stinks, cover it up."

      That sums up the Japanese culture. "Japanning" is to cover up a lesser substrate with something more desirable, giving the impression of enhanced value. This is the mentality of Toyota and every other Japan, Inc. entity. Consider this insight into their culture when dealing with any Japanese company. There is a reason why they say "yes", when they actually mean "no".

      There is nothing untoward about mentioning the truth, even if it is a rather unpleasant one. Failing to be politically-correct is to be factually-correct.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You really think you can sub up an entire culture by a few words? Do you think the Japanese sums up American culture as "get er done"?

        Could you be more raciest?

        • 5 Years Ago
        If commenting about a culture is racist, then that's what you are. You just said that American culture can be summed up with "Get er done" (it's actually "git 'er done"). That's a racist comment if the phrase "If it stinks, cover it up" is. So stop dropping the race card.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What toy ota really means is they want to get to the cars before the feds do and bogus the data, call their customers morons that do not know how to drive and con all you riceball joystickers

      What they really are is crooks and care less how many of their customers get wacked driving the cheap junk they sell.

      gerald ries
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's funny to see someone say "SMART" team, since the T in SMART already stands for team. It's similar to an ATM machine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, you guys are brutal.

      If all this turns out to be BS how will Toyota look then?

      No auto company is stupid. They all keep statistics on what parts they ship to dealers, when they see an abnormal amount of any part going out they have a pretty good idea they have a manufacturer's defect. Unfortunatly most of them stick thier head in the sand until that model goes out of waranty, hoping nobody sues them or dies because of it.

      On the other hand, how much do you really want your cars to cost? If auto companies tried to fix ever manufactured defect they would have to charge thousands more per unit "just in case" something comes up in the future.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "For example, when a pair of alleged "unintended acceleration" incidents happened in San Diego and Connecticut,"


      1) It was New York, not Connecticut.
      2) Toyota was already exonerated in the NY case. It was proven to be driver error from the EDR data. You might want to mention that fact to be accurate.

        • 5 Years Ago
        That's the funniest part - the data can be retrieved when it exonerates, but in the court cases that have gone to trial, the data was not available.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am not 100% about this whole acceleration thing (considering it seems like a lot of older folks are involved but who knows) but am I the only one who thinks it may be a tad one sided to send Toyota's own employees out?

      I say send a government official, an engineer that has nothing or very little to do with the auto industry (but of course understands the systems) and engineers from companies that sell cars in the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Frank, do you not understand an example when you see one? You must be making assumptions about what race I am, because your suggesting that I'm raciest against myself.

      Your post reminds me of Dave Chappelle's white supremacy skit.

      Get a clue on when to use the race card and when not too.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Since you can't prove a negative this insanity will continue. I have yet to see a story I believe.
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