Toyota vehicles are known to last long, significantly longer than their competitors. It is said that a vehicle loses its 5 to 10 percent value as soon as it leaves the authorized showroom and then depreciation also takes a toll on the value. But here is Toyota who themselves have claimed that their vehicle could hold up to 68 percent of the value even after 5 years of ownership.
This is true when you take a look in the pre-owned market for any used Toyota vehicle. You can easily find a used Toyota Fortuner that is still selling for around Rs. 15 lakhs and the big thing is that people buy it over a new mid-size SUV that is still available in the same budget.
This is because of the reliability factor of Toyota. People know that even an old Toyota will not go wrong and will be easier to maintain than a new vehicle. We have covered Toyota Innovas that have covered 6 lakh and 10 lakh kilometres. We have also seen a Toyota Qualis that has crossed 8 lakh kilometres on the odometer. So, what is it that makes Toyota vehicles so reliable? Today, we explain.
Secret 1: Jidoka
Jidoka is a Japanese word that roughly translates to ‘automation with a human touch’. As we know that most automobile manufacturers are now using robots that are specially designed to assemble a car. Basically, now most processes are automated. But not with Toyota, they still start building the vehicle by hand. The engineers build the vehicle by hand until the vehicle reaches 100 percent of Toyota’s specifications. Due to this, the engineers know every bit and piece of the vehicle. Once everything is perfect then only the process is transferred to an automated process.
Image by TheCarColony
This is also the reason why Toyota offers fewer options and they use the same bits and pieces in multiple vehicles. It is because those parts have been thoroughly tested and it is very rare for them to wrong. Also, the parts that are shared are usually built well and are of high quality. Due to this, Toyota uses the same engine and transmission for the Fortuner and the Innova Crysta. Part sharing also helps in reducing production costs because the cost can be shared over multiple vehicles. Also, as the same parts are being shared across the line-up, it means that all of their vehicles will be reliable.
Secret 1: Kaizen
Kaizen is also a Japanese word. It means ‘change for the better’. The philosophy behind this is that you are allowed to slow down the process if the change makes the product better. This allows any Toyota employee to stop production if he finds an issue or has a suggestion that can make the product better. This allows the manufacturer to rectify the issues even before the product goes into the market.
The issue is fixed right then and there with the person who raised the concern. This is what ensures that the Toyota vehicles are problem-free before they leave the factory. Usually what manufacturers do is fix the issue later on when the car is ready. This means that the next vehicle would also have the same issue and they would have to fix that too. Now, many manufacturers like BMW, General Motors, Subaru and Ford have implemented Kaizen in their production process.
Secret 1: Overengineering and Function over form
Toyota does not use any gimmicks in their products because they know that they can fail. The vehicles are over-engineered so that they last long. Toyota’s engines do not rev very high. This simply means that the engine is less stressed over the course of his life. They are also not very fast which is another factor that contributes to such a long life span. Due to this, Toyota’s engines often outlast the vehicle themselves. The manufacturer does not make any drastic changes to the engine. Instead, they make small incremental changes that do not affect the reliability.