O “crash” da Toyota
Henry Payne, «The Detroit News»
A somar a todos os problemas que a Toyota enfrenta actualmente vem adicionar-se um processo legal, por morte de uma mulher de 77 anos nos EUA. O acidente está a ser visto como um possível exemplo dos problemas com o sistema electrónico que controla a aceleração e velocidade do motor nos carros deste construtor.
Bill Saporito na Time, escreve que o que se está a passar é já lago esperado: é um problema que reflecte a actual tendência dos da maior parte dos fabricantes de automóveis, pelas necessidades de conquistar quotas de mercado, em acabar por apostar mais na quantidade do que na qualidade.
Nick Anderson, «Houston Chronicle»
Na The Economist escreve-se que os problemas que a Toyota enfrenta não irão desaparecer tão cedo; os problemas que a Economist refere não são os técnicos mas sim a reputação da Toyota: uma empresa que chegou a ser o maior construtor mundial graças à qualidade que sempre pareceu oferecer:
[…] Whether Toyota will speedily recover from this setback or suffer permanent harm is uncertain, but the betting must be on the latter. As the recriminations continue and the company’s public-relations machine stumbles, the aura that surrounded the firm and allowed it to grow rapidly in recent years, even while charging premium prices, is being dispelled. Other carmakers, notably Ford and the ambitious Volkswagen Group, have closed the quality gap and are offering more interesting cars. Korea’s Hyundai is unapologetic about seeing Toyota’s (and corporate Japan’s) loss as its gain. Toyota still has great strengths, not least financial, but it has lost something precious and may never get it back.
Tom Stiglich, «Journal Register Newspapers»
No Washington Post, Eugene Robinson escreve:
Afriend of mine once had a Toyota that wouldn’t die. The odometer had only a dim recollection of passing 100,000 miles, the body was dinged, the paint was faded and the interior was worn, but the thing just kept running. He finally parked it at the airport, removed the plates and walked away.
But that was more than 20 years ago, long before Toyota became the world’s biggest car manufacturer. […]
The obvious lesson for Toyota: Be careful what you wish for. Toyota set out to conquer the world. In succeeding, the company grew so fast that its vaunted mastery of quality control — the craftsmanship and care that made people want to buy a Toyota in the first place — couldn’t keep up.
[…] No matter what company from what country, when you looked under the hood you didn’t see a carburetor. Nor did you see an air cleaner, a distributor or any of the other parts that backyard mechanics of a certain age will fondly remember.
Automobiles used to be mechanical devices. Now they are collections of mechanical parts that are told what to do by computers. In most cars, the gearshift, pedals and steering wheel are nothing more than proxies for electronic controls. When something goes wrong with a car, you don’t start by opening the hood and unbolting pieces from the engine one at a time, the way we used to. You plug in a reader device and ask the vehicle what its problem is.
Technology has made automobiles much safer, more efficient and less damaging to the environment. But a computer is only as good as its software. Some experts believe that Toyota’s acceleration problems may actually be caused by faulty programming, not a faulty pedal. […]
Dave Granlund, «Politicalcartoons.com»