Tokyo Tower Column: Toyota, gone bad

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Tokyo Tower Column: Toyota, gone bad

Japan’s renowned work ethic has taken a hit after it was announced this month that Toyota, the Japanese giant, is returning to the club of global motor makers accused of manipulating data to boost profits. (We recommend Gonzalo Robledo’s more columns about Japan).

The fraud, which involves exaggerated reports on the power of three types of diesel engines, affects ten models of vehicles exported from Japan to Europe, Asia and Africa. A day after apologizing and announcing that it was suspending shipments of the affected models, Toyota announced its results for 2023, finding itself leading the world for the fourth consecutive year with sales of more than 11 million units. Strengthened as an automotive firm.

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The following day, Toyota shares rose 1.37% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a sign that the fraud would be absorbed by the markets as another episode of the data fraud that has plagued the history of the automobile since the latter half of the last century. Affects. ,

2015 was a terrible year for German Volkswagen, when it admitted that nearly half a million of its customers in the United States were convinced to travel in ecological cars, when in fact they were emitting 40 times more than the legal limit. Of polluting gases.

Because producing environmentally friendly vehicles is expensive and reduces engine performance, Volkswagen has created software capable of manipulating inspection results. Brands that have been fined for using “defeat devices” in tests or manipulating polluting gas emissions include Ford, General Motors and Honda.

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Last year, Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu was forced to halt production after it was revealed that it had been falsifying crash test data for four models manufactured in Thailand and Malaysia for more than thirty years.

Toyota, which started as a textile factory in 1937, is studied in Western business schools for introducing the Kaizen system into manufacturing, the philosophy of “continuous improvement” into processes, products, operations, decision making and strategies. Is. Some American academics claim that Kaizen is a product of the teachings of Professor William Edwards Deming, who was sent to help rebuild Japan’s manufacturing base, devastated by World War II.

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Kaizen is attributed to the perfectionism of Japanese employees, their productive perseverance, and their desire to serve customers and ensure their satisfaction with high-quality products and services.

The decline in company ethics, the symbol of the “Japanese miracle”, comes at a time when an aging society, job insecurity and persistent economic crises give rise to pessimistic predictions and allow us to talk about a reverse kaizen that leads to continued decline. Generates.

*Colombian journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Japan.

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