Why Toyota Equals Reliability
It’s very widely known that Toyota/Lexus is one of the most reliable brands in today’s market. But for at least the past 2 decades, both Honda and Toyota have been synonymous with the word reliability. Toyota/Lexus has pulled away from Honda however, when it comes to overall build quality, not just engine and transmission. Honda builds quality, sporty, and reliable engines, Toyota builds quality cars.
“For much of Toyota’s history, we have ensured the quality and reliability of our vehicles by placing a device called an andon cord on every production line – and empowering any team member to halt production if there’s an assembly problem. Only when the problem is resolved does the line begin to move again.”
– Akio Toyoda (current president Toyota Motor Corporation)
Toyota equals genetically engineered for reliability
This reputation for reliability does not happen by accident. There are three main reasons Toyota has maintained its reputation for reliability.
Other manufacturers have attempted to replicate some of Toyota’s practices however reliability is in the very dna of Toyota.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
The first reason Toyota/Lexus a history of reliability is they have adopted an ‘If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It’ attitude. They rarely ever make any drastic changes to their cars going into a new model year. Every change they make in their design and engineering is rolled out gradually and perfected prior to releasing any more updates. No more than one or two changes are rolled out at any one time.
The second reason Toyota is from inception efficiency and reliability is at the forefront of engineering. Toyota typically uses longer rods with typical height blocks in order to have ‘optimal’ rod/stroke ratio’s in many of their cars.
According to Stan Weiss’ site, every one of Toyota’s production engines falls into the ‘optimal’ range. Optimal rod/stroke ratio is considered anything above 1.50.
Every one of Toyota’s production engines falls in between 1.51 and 1.80 rod stroke ratio.
By staying in this range, it reduces piston friction, which in turn extends immensely the life of an engine. Engines in this range are also typically more efficient and produce more horsepower and torque in the mid to high rpm range.
Toyota was the first auto manufacturer to use an andon cord in all of its’ assembly facilities.
An andon cord is tool used to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem. This tool has been widely copied by other auto manufacturers however Toyota being the first shows the company truly values quality over all else.
Toyota has abandoned the use of the andon cord but not its commitment to quality. They’ve replaced the cord concept with a wireless button which functions in the same manner as the andon cord.
This attention to quality in the assembly process separates Toyota from its closest competitors. For example, Honda, who also produces extremely reliable engines, does not compete with Toyota in overall car quality. Where both company’s engines can last well into the hundreds of thousands of miles, things like door handles, trim pieces, etc. will generally last much longer on a Toyota.
Toyota’s reputation for reliability has lasted for decades and continues because of these stated reasons. Quality is not an afterthought with Toyota but a concept integrated at the inception of every vehicle it produces.