Friday, January 29, 2010

I don't get it

Watching the sad spectacle of Toyota stopping production and sales of 8 popular models due to problems with the gas pedal and floor mats, I have to wonder how they managed to screw them up. After all, people have been putting floor mats in vehicles with gas pedals for over a century now, and Toyota has "only" 60 years worth of experience with these particular components--30 years with gas pedals for fuel injected engines as well. One would think that the difficulties inherent in making this particular component would be ironed out by now.

I don't know exactly what happened, but the engineer in me suspects it might have had something to do with product managers who would sell their own mothers on EBay for a nickel reduction in the bill of materials cost.

1 comment:

Gino said...

toyota places heavy stock in the sensory elements of its vehicles.

they aim for a more precise 'feel' when the driver does something, which lends the aura of a car manufactured to close tolerances.
such things are very important to them (and a big reason why they were able to overtake USA makers so fast.)

(why you tend to get a more pronounced 'click' when you say... flip the lever on your turn signal).

it could be that pedal design offered a sensoric feel, a type of responsiveness to the foot, that was just too hard to pass up causing them to not notice the potential fault.