Relations with Customers

Always Better Cars Listen sincerely to customer voices and continue to reinvent ourselves through sufficient information disclosure and dialogue

Quality/Information Disclosure and Dialogue

The smiles that we earn from our customers are our greatest reward. Is there a gap between the "great cars" Toyota thinks of and the expectations of our customers? Are they satisfied with our current services? To be able to respond to the constantly-changing expectations of customers and society, we listen to customers' voices with sincerity and continually work on improvement. We never forget that the support of various stakeholders has made Toyota what it is today; we value the relationships of trust we have built; and we work toward continuing to provide accurate and appropriate communication and respond transparently and promptly to be a company that is continually trusted.

Quality/Information Disclosure and Dialogue

Basic Concepts of Quality

Quality is achieved through the integration of Development, Design, Purchasing, Production and After-sales Service. Each is indispensable in the delivery of satisfactory quality to customers.
We continue to aim to put the concepts of "Customer First" and "Quality First" into practice and to respond to the expectations of customers and society. That is why every member across our operations maintains high consciousness, and takes ownership and the responsibility of striving for continuous improvement and the enhancement of customer confidence and trust by cooperating closely with one another.

"Customer First Promotion Group" Newly Established
to Allow Working Closely with and Responding to Customers

In an effort to establish a more-reliable system in order to provide customers with a higher level of quality and customer service, we integrated and reorganized the functions of the former Quality Group and Customer Service Operations Group to establish the new Customer First Promotion Group in April 2012. The new group integrates functions to handle quality issues in the service field that is closely involved with customers. The group aims to put our customer first policy into practice by acting from the customer's perspective and responding quickly and appropriately, striving to implement customer-centered sales plans and operational development, and engaging in initiatives to strengthen support for dealers' service capabilities. A new Customer Service Field has been established within the group, consolidating the support services for dealers and distributors with functions to handle market quality and deal with customers. Initiatives are now underway to establish an early detection, early resolution system to provide one-stop solutions to resolve quality issues quickly and smoothly.

Main Objectives
  • To improve the ability to respond quickly to market quality issues from the customer's perspective
  • To strengthen support services for domestic dealers, parts distributors and overseas distributors
  • To enhance localized collaboration with planning and development functions
  • To strengthen the establishment of internal systems aimed at quality improvement
[ VOICE ] Views of the Person in Charge

Promoting the enhancement of initiatives bringing together products and services to improve customer satisfaction

Under the new system, we engage in detailed and closer communication with dealers, parts distributors and vehicle distributors to invest the maximum effort into implementing our "customer first" policy, together with our dealers, through the support for repair services, provision and expansion of technological information, and enhancement of services. We also promote the establishment of a system for quickly and appropriately relaying the opinions of customers back to Development, and improving customer safety and confidence through collaboration among Development, Sales and Services.

Junichi Kobayashi Customer First Promotion Group
Junichi Kobayashi
Customer First Promotion Group

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A Quality Web Forum was Held for All Employees to Discuss "What can be Done to be Rewarded with the Smiles of Customers"

During the Month of Quality in November 2011, a Quality Web Forum was held with the aim of "getting each and every employee to think about what they need to do to be rewarded with the smiles of customers." At this in-house, online forum, the Quality Forum held in 2010 was further developed to allow everyone to hold free discussions on the theme and enhance each other's awareness. Seven cartoon stories based on real episodes were shown online consecutively over a month, and everyone posted their opinions after reading them. 11,714 members from 264 divisions participated and engaged in active discussion in the forum.

A Quality Web Forum was Held for All Employees to Discuss "What can be Done to be Rewarded with the Smiles of Customers"

Ensuring Global Promotion of Quality Initiatives to Regain Customer Confidence

The framework for initiatives to regain customer confidence laid down during the 1st to 3rd meetings of the Special Committee for Global Quality was incorporated into the company policy for FY2011 to establish a localized system enabling promotion of activities based on the opinions of customers, implemented at a level closest to the customers of different regions through collaboration between the Quality Function Board and regional quality committees.
As part of companywide efforts to increase customer confidence and provide better safety, the main elements of specific quality-related activities in FY2011 were the promotion of the reduction in the failure mode risk ratings, improvement of the confidence ratings, and enhancing of explanations to customers about our safety features, new technologies and functions.

Initiatives to Improve Quality

The Toyota Advanced Quality Information Center (T-AQIC) has been deployed globally to gather and analyze quality information for early detection and early resolution to solve quality issues quickly. The system was introduced in North America in November 2011, and in Europe and China in January 2012. In addition, quality risk management was strengthened to clarify the operational rules and processes, and the regulations for quality assurance were also clarified. Furthermore, the principle of "Ji Kotei-Kanketsu (built-in quality with ownership)" was added to the global contents of level-specific education in January 2012 to foster human resources focusing on quality.

Activities in the Various Fields in FY2011 and Plans for FY2012

Development
  • We continued our efforts in activities to achieve zero customer complaints through prevention of recurring problems and prevention of new ones, revised and enhanced our operational processes, implemented early adoption of parts into automobiles incorporating ideas to reduce risk ratings, strived to achieve product safety in diverse projects, endeavored to improve the quality of parts manufactured to Toyota-approved specifications through collaboration with the Purchasing Group and Production Engineering Group, carried out inspections of aged products through the collection of aged parts, and established improvement processes based on external evaluations.
  • In 2012, we will accelerate our efforts to ensure product safety, and "enhance customer confidence" which is an even more vital theme.
Purchasing
  • Focusing on new suppliers, we endeavored to clarify the division of roles with suppliers and enhance mutual confirmation.
  • In FY2012 we will continue revising our work procedures by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of Toyota and the suppliers, and promote mieruka (visualization) in the supply chain quality control system in association with expansion of suppliers in emerging markets, with the aim of promoting prevention activities.
Production
  • As "a key step in delivering high quality cars to customers" we have made concerted efforts to establish "requirements for good products" to realize designers' intentions in manufacturing processes. At the same time, we have achieved steady progress in our endeavors to enhance the integrity of "Ji Kotei-Kanketsu (built-in quality with ownership)" and thereby build quality into products, and have strengthened final quality inspections.
  • In FY2012 we will promote "monozukuri (manufacturing) that exceeds customer expectations" by working more closely with Development and other departments.
Sales and after-sales service
  • Aiming to establish the industry's quickest early detection and early resolution system to solve quality problems based on the gathering and analyzing of market information, we have been expanding our customer genchi genbutsu confirmation activities. We respond quickly by gathering customers' comments from dealers and government offices.
  • In FY2012, we established a new Customer First Promotion Group to enable us to work closely with and respond to customers as a manufacturer, and we are striving to further enhance customer satisfaction through the integration of manufacturing, service and sales.
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Improvement in Evaluation of Quality by Third Party Evaluation Organization

According to the results published in February 2012 of an Initial Quality Study (IQS) of North American automobiles released by J.D. Power and Associates, a global organization specializing in surveys and consulting in customer satisfaction, Lexus rated No. 1 in nameplate ranking while Toyota was ranked No. 7. The results of a Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) carried out by the same company revealed that Lexus rated No. 1 and Toyota No. 3. As a result, all ratings and scores exceeded those of last year. In addition, in the results of the spring issue of the 2012 Consumer Reports evaluating reliability, road tests and safety, five Toyota cars were chosen in 10 categories. Therefore, we have received proof of the recovery of customer confidence through a variety of evaluation organizations. We will continue striving to provide automobiles which exceed customer expectations in the belief that "Quality is Toyota's mainstay."

Prius
Prius

Camry
Camry

The Prius and Camry chosen in consumer reports

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To Be Rewarded with the Smiles of Customers

Applying Customer Feedback to the Creation of Better Products and Services

Toyota's principle of Customer First exists for the purpose of providing customers with products and services that earn their smiles. On this basis, we hope to offer cars with superior features in terms of environmental, safety and quality performance, while also offering the intrinsic appeal of cars, such as driving performance, at an affordable price.
Therefore, in order to make better cars, we make rigorous use of customer opinions gleaned from dealers and the Customer Assistance Center.

Customer Assistance Center
Customer Assistance Center

Toyota Customer Assistance Center and Lexus Information Desk

The Toyota Customer Assistance Center, as well as the Lexus Information Desk dedicated to Lexus brand models, offers toll-free phone consultation 365 days a year and accepts brochure requests 24 hours a day in Japan. With this convenient customer-oriented system, we offer speedy, appropriate and empathetic responses to customer inquiries, and listen to opinions and requests, based on our policy of Customer First. At the same time, we undertake initiatives to link this feedback to the creation of better products and services.
Furthermore, in order to support dealers in implementing the Customer First policy, we have established the Salesperson Support Desk.
We also conduct surveys of customers who use our telephone service via an automated response system, in an effort to make further improvements. One such improvement made was the establishment of a team specialized in navigation and audio systems to be able to quickly and appropriately respond to technical inquiries.

No. and Content of Calls Received by the Center and the Desk in FY2011

No. and Content of Calls Received by the Center and the Desk in FY2011

Utilization of Customer Feedback
Product Planning

Promoting the "making better cars" policy

  • Applying customer feedback on current cars to future development
Sales and
After-sales Service

Creation of easier-to-understand customer information tools

  • Improvement of brochures, instruction manuals,etc. based on customer feedback

Ongoing Customer First Staff Education

At Toyota, we have named the nationally designated Consumer's Month of May as Customer's Month, and we are continuing to undertake initiatives aimed at permeating awareness of the Customer First principle throughout the company.
In FY2012, we held customer feedback experience events, exhibitions, and lectures with the aim of helping each employee to take personal responsibility for customer feedback, and encouraging them to take action. These events were based on the theme "What do you do from the customer's point of view to gain their confidence and be rewarded with a smile?"
The events were attended by representatives from each division, who visited the Customer Assistance Center and monitored customer feedback. At the exhibitions, we conveyed feedback from customers and presented examples from within Japan and overseas of customer feedback activities implemented by each division from the customer's perspective.
A lecture was provided inviting a guest from another company practicing the Customer First policy to speak on the theme of "Excellent monozukuri that emphasizes safety and confidence."

Exhibition held during Customer's Month
Exhibition held during Customer's Month

Customer Feedback from Each Country and Region

At Toyota, in order to offer products and services based on our Customer First principle, we have established customer assistance centers not only in Japan, but also in the U.S., Europe, other Asian countries, and at each distributor around the world. Here we wish to introduce some encouraging customer feedback we have received.

Customer Feedback for Toyota

Japan
  • When I had an accident in my LS, I was protected, surrounded by the airbag and side-cushioning. I truly believe it is an extremely safe car.
  • While travelling back to my hometown, suddenly a warning lamp lit up. I had the car checked out at a Toyopet dealer I was passing, and they fixed it for free. Thank you so much!
  • The revival of the "86," like the recent Doraemon commercial, makes me realize the changes at Toyota. I look forward to seeing what's next in terms of both new Toyota products and overall developments!
North America
  • My mother, who is now 90, still drives her 1985 Camry. For me, it shows the durability and vitality of Toyota.
  • There were problems with the car I purchased, but the salespersons at the dealer immediately adjusted their schedule to suit my needs and worked hard to sort out the issues. It was great service.
  • I want to thank Toyota for constructing 14 plants in the US.

North America

Europe
  • I've had an MR2 for 10 years, and have driven it 320,000 miles (512,000 km) on the original engine. That's a record for me.
  • My 1986-registered Tercel 4WD is already 25 years old, but is so sturdy that even my friends praise it.
  • The Land Cruiser 80 which I bought over 10 years ago is reliable even under Russian weather conditions; it's powerful, and sets my mind at ease.

Europe

Asia/Africa
  • My car was struck from behind, causing it in turn to hit the car in front, but nobody was harmed. Toyota's technology saved me.
  • It's been one month since I bought a new Prius. The sales agent was young, but made my wife and me feel at ease. I want to express our gratitude.
  • Our first family car was a Corolla, and now my father owns a Camry. I'm proud to be a Toyota owner.

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