The freshman class usually lasts for a month of general training including orientation on the history and tradition of Toyota and also education on quality. After that, the freshmen will start doing the manual work of building cars in a manufacturing plant for a period of three to four months. Then, they will spend about two or three months at dealership where they will start to sell vehicles to customers (Morgan & Liker, 2006).
New car styling process
This process commences with sketches as a way of image development to develop a new concept. Next, they start to create 3D models such as ceramic models to evaluate the beauty and elegance of the car’s form. After that, they draw more sketches to have a more detailed image of the car design. This is followed by the making of five-to-one scale model. The next step is creating a complete clay model which will be submitted for approval as part of the new car’s planning proposal. The approval usually comes in a year after the beginning of the design work, which leaves about 30 months before the new car is introduced to the market (Monden, 1993).
New car testing and evaluation process
According to Monden (1993), this is the most time and labour consuming process as it estimated that half of all the energy spent on developing a new car is spent in the new car testing and evolution process. This process includes a number characteristics such as comfort, drivability, safety and dynamic characteristics. The process is generally consisting of two categories:
- Tests to confirm basic functions and reliability.
- Running tests to check for road performance characteristic.
Warranty process at any Toyota dealer begins by checking on the system the date of delivering a vehicle to a customer. Once the date is checked and the car is still covered by warranty, the engineers will have to check whether the defect is caused by the driver misuse or a manufacturing fault. If the cause of problem appeared to be a manufacturing error, the car owner would be entitled to receive their car totally repaired free of charge. Once the car is repaired, the claim will be sent by the dealer to Toyota Corporation head office in Japan to claim the money back (Toyota Website).
In an event where defects are identified and it is believed necessary to take actions to correct them, the following recall process is implemented:
- Contacting the authorities in accordance with procedures stipulated by the laws of each country.
- Informing customers through newspaper and emails and providing explanations at the distributor.
- Placing notice on the related website.
- Recalling products and fixing them free of charge (Toyota Sustainability Report, 2006).