Toyota Cleared After Kobe Steel Debacle

Toyota announced a follow-up to its initial investigation of its manufacturing process after Kobe Steel's guilty admission

Japanese Steel producer Kobe Steel found itself in hot water when it announced improper conduct relating to materials used in vehicles. Several manufacturers were impacted including all the big boys out of Japan—Toyota, Subaru, Honda Mitsubishi, and Mazda. Even Ford and GM were on the list. Needless to say, Kobe Steel doesn’t bring the quality of Kobe Beef or Kobe Bryant. More like Colby Jack.

Back on October 19th, Toyota announced the results of an investigation relating to aluminum plates used in their manufacturing process. Yesterday they broke down the results of an expanded investigation relating to other materials.

Toyota examined the year-plus of data provided to them by Kobe Steel. Using the data which had the largest deviations from specifications met by Toyota’s other suppliers, the team went to work digging into the data. The team was able to confirm that Toyota vehicle quality and performance satisfied their own internal standards. Meaning, there was virtually no impact on Toyota vehicles.

The team looked at materials which included aluminum plates, copper tubes, steel wires, cladding, extrusions, steel powder, and sputtering target materials. They separated their data based on whether the materials were directly purchased from the producer or purchased via a supplier. Looking for an impact on vehicles related to materials purchased from Kobe Steel in Japan and outside of Japan—Toyota found no problems.

Results of Toyota’s investigation regarding Kobe Steel, Toyota

That’s great news for Toyota and a feather in the cap of their quality assurance team. Some other manufacturers haven’t been so lucky. Recently a couple of high-profile cases involving Nissan recalling all their cars sold in Japan over the last 3 years and Subaru violating inspection laws have put a black cloud over the Japanese auto manufacturing industry.

With this behind them now, Toyota can get back to business on cars we’ve been eagerly awaiting like the new Supra.