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As part of its efforts to improve its responsiveness to customer complaints, Toyota is adding six new product quality field offices (PQFO) around North America starting this month. The new offices are to be co-located with Toyota Motor Sales regional offices and focus on investigating and addressing customer issues like reports of unintended acceleration.

The first PQFO opened earlier this year in New York as a pilot project to address cold weather and corrosion issues. The San Francisco PQFO will open in July with a specialization in hybrid issues. The Jacksonville office will focus on heating and cooling while the Houston office will target truck issues.

Each office will be able to look into any issue and will be staffed with engineers and technicians that will work with dealers and Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, California to gather data from customers and determine the root cause of complaints. Understanding what customers are doing in the real world is a major component of Toyota's new quality efforts. That customer usage data will be incorporated into future test and development procedures in order to try to avoid the same problems on other products. Full details are available in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Toyota | Image: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty]
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San Francisco Field Office Launches This Month; Seven North American Offices Planned
Significantly Enhances Field Data Collection and Technical Capabilities

TORRANCE, Calif., July 8, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA., Inc., today announced that it is expanding its Product Quality Field Office program to four additional US regional sales areas over the next 12 months, following the success of a pilot program launched in the New York region in late 2009. TMS also announced that it will officially open its newest Product Quality Field Office in San Francisco this month, and Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) announced that it will establish Product Quality Field Offices in Toronto and Calgary, for a total of seven offices across North America.

Staffed by technical and engineering specialists with expertise drawn from across Toyota's global operations, these Product Quality Field Offices strengthen Toyota's North American field technical presence and data gathering and reporting capabilities, enhancing the company's ability to detect, analyze and respond to customer and quality issues in the field.

Product Quality Field Offices are being established with the mandate to investigate specific field quality issues related to unique regional, geographical or environmental conditions in each area. The New York region office was developed to investigate the performance of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles in cold weather climates, with an emphasis on corrosion issues. The new San Francisco office will focus on hybrid vehicle systems and durability, capitalizing on the high concentration of these vehicles in the California market.

Toyota is currently evaluating opening additional offices in Jacksonville, FL to focus on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and drivability; Houston, TX to concentrate on trucks and chassis components; and Denver, CO to study high altitude performance and SUV models. Offices in Toronto and Calgary will focus on extreme seasonal temperature changes and high road salt usage, as well as unique vehicle operating conditions.

"Everyone at Toyota is working aggressively to understand what our customers are experiencing and to respond quickly to their needs by enhancing our information gathering capabilities," said Dino Triantafyllos, Vice President, Quality Division, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing (TEMA). "The expansion of our Product Quality Field Offices initiative is one example of the significant changes we are making across our North American operations to help ensure that we are a quality-focused and responsive organization."

Product Quality Field Offices will also provide technical support to dealership service personnel and Regional Field Staff; and "specialized response" capabilities for Toyota's Swift Market Analysis Response Teams (SMART), which play a key role in Toyota's rapid-response investigations into customer reports of unintended acceleration.

The expansion of the Product Quality Field Office program is the latest milestone in Toyota's North American efforts to implement President Akio Toyoda's six-point action plan to improve global quality. The action plan includes a top-to-bottom review of Toyota's quality assurance processes in all aspects of its global operations including design, manufacturing and after-market support.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Step 1. Admit that you have a problem.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they can locate them inside a ford or honda dealership and give them credit towards a better vehicle?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Errrrrrrrr, a little late to be opening these offices, don't you think??????
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, it is a wee bit late for Toyota to replace the cat in the bag. Any savings that they realized through cost-cutting, safety feature redacting and quality-slashing is now moot.

        Toyota is just now realizing that greed cannot last and that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not everybody all of the time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too little, too late. Toyota = Tailspin
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe set up product quality field offices at the plants that produce the products?
      • 4 Years Ago
      So sowwy, here is tear of Toyoda for your troubre...

      How much money will Toyota throw around with this regional propaganda and how much savings did they realize when they redacted safety features, fail to recall defective vehicles and decontented their product? Is this straight from the tome of the revered Toyota Production System?
      • 4 Years Ago
      are the rumors true that 5 minutes after this photo was taken, the red Toyota logo fell to the ground at an accelerated speed?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's true. But the sign didn't stop and is now, according to NASA, somewhere near the earth's core and headed for China.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just listen to yourselves, you bunch of 1d1ots. If GM did this you would be talking sh1t3 about how it proves GM's commitment to the customer and to quality and we all know that GM cares little about either. While it may have more PR value than anything else, this will help put Toyota back on top after the US government/GM/UAW assassination attempt which will in any case turn out to be the biggest own goal in history.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Exactly. This is just good PR. A local office with regional "specialization" just makes for good sound bites. Some good may come out of it, but I'd like to see a good close up tour of one of these places once they are up and running.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Was supposed to be a reply to SCSU's comment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm still amazed at the Toyota fanatics. I put it akin to the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, don't mind the man in the back behind the curtain pulling the strings.

      Smokescreen much?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yota's lack of quality control on production line and in its design centre, gets new hush it up centres. Toyota hit a new LOOOooooooow.

      Why do so many daft Americans buy so many Toyota deathtraps, it baffles me coming from Europe Camrys handle like a drunken pig no wonder the junk never lasted two minutes in Europe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow. There is no politics involved with the placement of those offices.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Seriously, why nit just look into complaints and fix things vs telling us they've known about valve spring issues fir three years or sudden acceleration for eight to five, that's what needs to change. That's one reason I buy the brands I buy, vw fir example has had a recall or fix to issues enthusiasts bring up in forums about one year out, pretty awesome response. Toyota should just do the same, earn that reputation back but honestly and openly dealing with issues vs hiding them under the rug. These little pr moves won't help if the corporate culture and hubrous haven't changed
        • 4 Years Ago

        I know that you love VW products and since you say that they take care of their customers better, why don't you sell your Toyotas that you own?

        Anyways, I think that this is a good thing that Toyota is willing to have extra engineers and offices to deal with complaints. I am sure that more companies will follow this business practice instead on relying on "forums".
        • 4 Years Ago
        Zamafir you're a star on this board, people know every car you own
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