Toyota said yesterday it is inviting four outside experts to help beef up quality controls at the recall-battered automaker under a program that began in March to review defect measures. \nToyota Motor Corp said it was tackling a number of improvements, including analyzing each accident and consumer complaint more thoroughly and boosting communication with journalists and other outsiders to be better at ensuring quality. \nThe world’s top automaker has seen its once sterling image for quality plunge since October last year after recalling more than 8.5 million vehicles around the world with defective gas pedals, faulty floor mats, software glitches and other problems. \nDespite vowing to improve quality, the automaker has in some cases discouraged independent scrutiny. Electronic messages obtained by reporters in the US show Toyota was frustrated with Southern Illinois University professor David Gilbert, whose research indicated that electronics might be to blame for unintended acceleration problems in Toyota cars. \nThe messages show Toyota not only tried to cast doubt on his findings but also made clear it was displeased. One Toyota employee questioned whether he should be employed by the university, which has long been a recipient of company donations. \nIn steps disclosed yesterday as under way, Toyota said it is boosting collaboration between Toyota’s quality-related divisions and its legal division, beefing up training among employees to get a better grasp of customers’ views on vehicle troubles and trying to obtain more input from third-party experts. \nToyota is adding four academic and consumer experts, who were recommended by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers, which is not directly affiliated with Toyota. They are Hiroshi Osada, professor of management at the Tokyo Institute of Technology; Noriaki Kano, honorary professor at Tokyo University of Science; Yasuo Kusakabe, chairman of the Automobile Journalist Association of Japan and Yoshiko Miura, general manager at the Japan Consumer’s Association. \n“Especially pressing is the need for establishing guidelines to steer crisis-management activity by the president and other members of senior management,” Toyota said. “Also pressing is the need for bridging the culture gap between Japan and other nations in public relations activities.” \nIn other industry developments, German automaker Volkswagen (VW) says it’s seeking to use more locally acquired parts in its auto production in North America. \nCEO Martin Winterkorn told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily for yesterday’s edition that it’s not enough to produce cars in North America, but “we also need to get parts and components from there.” He said the company now buys 70 to 80 percent of such parts in the area. \nHe said VW is planning to make a Jetta developed for the US that will sell for about US$16,000, as well as a Passat station wagon for about US$20,000. VW is hiring 2,000 employees at its US$1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to begin building the new Jetta mid-sized sedan starting next year. The German automaker formally opened its training academy at the site last month. The plant will have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles. \nWinterkorn said VW is looking to quickly replace its US chief, Stefan Jacoby, who will move on to head Volvo.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The