Japanese Government Orders Toyota To Investigate Prius Brake Problems

Illustration for article titled Japanese Government Orders Toyota To Investigate Prius Brake Problems

Because thwacking Toyota is like, the totally cool thing to do, Japan wants the company to investigate whether or not the brakes on the 2010 Toyota Prius are malfunctioning after 14 separate incidents in the last two months.

Advertisement

Despite everything going on with Toyota, and all the apparent reticence on their part to address safety issues, it's important to recognize investigations happen all the time. Still, it's not going to be a good day for the company as The Daily Show just launched their new feature: Toyotathon Of Death!

The 2010 Prius isn't under the current recall, so there's probably no risk of accelerating out of control and then having your brakes fail. At least we hope not...

Advertisement

[AP via CanadianBusiness.com]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

You know, all this mess about Toyota reminds me of something... a few years ago (and, to a lesser extent, today), the Navy (of which I am a proud member) decided it would be a fantastic idea to implement a program I'm sure a lot of you have heard of - Lean / Six Sigma. Only, the Navy decided it'd be better to call it Airspeed.

In any case, MUCH ado was made about this program, and how Toyota had developed the model and how it turned them into the Number One manufacturer in the whole wide planet and how productivity and efficiency would quintuple if we implemented it.

So, we got out our whiteboards and about 50 stacks of post-it notes (which took two weeks to requisition) and made these huge elaborate flow-charts of where exactly our inefficiencies were (which took about a week of time we could have spent fixing avionics) and got many rolls of brightly colored duct tape (another week to procure) and laid precisely calculated paths and borders around our tool boxes, trash cans, sedentary Airmen, etc. and felt Mightily Pleased that we had increased our efficiency by at least 200%. It was right there on a post-it note, somewhere. It took us two hours to find the right one.

And then we took classes about the Six Esses - Sort, Spit, Sneeze, Spank, Shine and Safety, I think; it's been a while - and read books explaining exactly why it worked so well for Toyota and how they were a World-Beating manufacturer in terms of lead time, safety, quality, and all sorts of terms that frankly I could've cared less about; the gear backlog was piling up while we were taking these classes. They gave me a green belt, which I promptly made a Banzai Bandana out of, and got to work counting my footsteps.

Slowly, over time, the Navy dawned on the fact that there was a fundamental flaw of this program, one that became glaringly obvious to me about six seconds after its introduction: the whole program was Common Sense wrapped in a highly polished turd package. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is America.

This was about three years ago. Since then, I transferred to a place that had neither heard of nor cared about Airspeed and Kaizen and Six Sig Sauer and all that crap, and I was once again happy, and I stopped tripping on half-peeled up tape. And now, lo these three years later, it appears that Toyota, having shifted manufacturing over here, has now realized with the same horror as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto shortly after Pearl Harbor that they have awoken a sleeping giant... a sleeping giant of laziness.

You see, while concepts like Just-In-Time manufacturing work in places like Japan, where factory workers must stay beyond the end of their shift to correct any deficiencies they caused, Americans haven't been Just-In-Time since the Pathfinders of the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge. It just does not work. Manufacturing concepts that apply perfectly in Japan do not cross over the ocean, unlike sushi and tempura. And I'm pretty familiar with this concept, having been born there and living there my first 8 years.

It would seem that Toyota is now having to come to grips with this fact as well.