"High Quality Starts With the Customer"
released on January 2011
1969 was a significant year for the Japanese auto industry, as the Ministry of Transport established a recall system in June of that year. This event renewed auto manufacturers’ awareness of the importance of vehicle safety and solving quality issues. It reminded the auto industry to focus not only on economic aspects of manufacturing, but also on the broad influence and effect automobiles can have on people’s daily lives.
Against this backdrop, Toyota ran a promotional campaign in Japanese newspapers from October to December 1969 with the tagline “valuing each customer’s one and only vehicle.” This series of advertisements featured advertorials written by newspaper reporters and covered Toyota’s quality-related activities with the aim of showing the public that the company is committed to the Customer First principle from a multilateral perspective, ranging from design and production to sales and after sales service.
The advertorials covered a variety of topics, such as emphasizing that the role of Toyota’s dealer associates is not simply selling cars, but also valuing the opinions of customers and passing them on to the production side. Toyota’s latest machinery and equipment were also featured to show how Toyota had achieved a good balance between ensuring high quality and reducing costs. One advertisement even highlighted the advances in the use of computers for car manufacturing, which enabled Toyota to kaizen the design process of new cars, the planning of the production schedule, and the vehicle assembly order.
Toyota’s associates were also introduced to the public with the message that it is important to have highly qualified staff to make full use of the latest equipment, otherwise a trustworthy car cannot be produced. Steps toward the improvement of quality management, such as the introduction of Toyota’s annual “Quality Month” and an intensive education program for service personnel, were also presented in the articles.
The last installment in this series of advertorials covered a meeting between then Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. Chairman Taizo Ishida and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (now Panasonic Corporation) Chairman Konosuke Matsushita. In the advertorial, Ishida emphasized the importance of putting the customer at the forefront by stating that “the truest connoisseur of cars is the customer.” He also added, “My working principle has always been that I cannot put a foot wrong if I produce a car which customers like.”
Even though the social responsibility of the auto industry came into question following the introduction of the recall system by the Japanese government, Toyota decided to use the situation as an opportunity to remind the public that its commitment to customers’ safety and satisfaction by bringing them reliable, durable, and high quality products has always been a top priority.