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Toyota Trimming Auto-Development Time to 12 Months

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Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. aims to slash to one year the time to get new models off the drawing board into production, a pace analysts say would be the industry's fastest and could save tens of millions of dollars annually.

Toyota, the world's second-largest automaker, already holds the fastest production record, building a car or truck within 24 months of completing a design, said Jeff Liker, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who studies Toyota's production methods. Cutting the time to 12 months widens its lead over the industry, which takes on average up to three years to get a model into production.

The shorter production time ``enables us to develop a variety of vehicles that reflect market needs and demands while fulfilling the advanced development structure,'' said Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota's president, at a Sept. 12 conference for analysts and investors in New York.

The maker of Toyota Camry sedans has followed a manufacturing method called the kaizen, or continuous improvement, which refines, improves efficiency or reduces cost at every stage of the manufacturing process. That's helped the carmaker, based in central Japan's Toyota City, set profit records of $10.3 billion and $10.9 billion in its past two business years.

Wider Lead

On Sept. 13, Toyota said all its vehicles will eventually be run by hybrid gasoline-electric engines, of which it's the world's first and largest commercial producer.

``In the future, the cars you see from Toyota will be 100 percent hybrid,'' Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto told reporters in Frankfurt, without giving a timeframe.

Toyota's market capitalization of $153.4 billion is more than eight times that of General Motors Corp., the largest automaker. In 2003, Toyota overtook Ford Motor Co. as No. 2 in global sales.

Watanabe didn't cite specific models being developed on a 12- month cycle. Liker said at least two, the bB wagon, sold in the U.S. as the Scion xB, and a minivan for the Japanese market, were completed in under a year. Yasuhiko Ichihashi, president of Toyota's U.S. engineering group, also wouldn't point to a North American model being developed within a year.

The goal is to be able to start production in as little as 12 months from ``design freeze,'' or when the styling and engineering work on a new model is approved, Ichihashi said in an interview in New York.

The industry average for putting vehicles into production is between two and three years, said Ron Harbour, president of Troy, Michigan-based Harbour Consulting. Harbour, Liker, Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Rod Lache and Art Smalley, an efficiency consultant for the Brookline, Massachusetts-based Lean Enterprise Institute, all said Toyota already is a leader in development speed.

Entire Story: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=100...Srkc&refer=asia

:o :o :o
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This is certainly bad news for GM, and it's a shame that GM can't match Toyota's development time with all the global resources it has. However, I don't know how badly this will hurt GM except when Toyota sees a new market emerging and gets a product out a year after it starts to see the market for the vehicle and GM is left 3 years behind. It's not like Toyota is going to make a 2008 Camry then totally re-do it for 2010 or anything like that. I wonder whether the xB had a lot of it already developed in another Toyota in Japan or something... the FJ Crusier is certainly taking more than a year to get to market.
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It's not like Toyota is going to make a 2008 Camry then totally re-do it for 2010 or anything like that.

[post="14991"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It certainly does mean that. Because while they may sink a few million (read: 10 or 15) it will begin to recoup that with every sale of the new model they get.

Toyota already makes their money off of reusing parts, platforms, etc. If they can do this in their entire line in 12 months that's huge.
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Are you sure they're actually going to do that? I can see them upgrading it, but a totally new vehicle every two years? That'd cost at least $250-300 million/product to do and it'd be every 2 years or so for every product.
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The way I see it, it leaves room for mistakes... Doing it in less time is fine, But halfing the time? Something is bound to get left out... :unsure: The question becomes, not only CAN they do it, but can they do it RIGHT?
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Northy Toyotas rule of thumb is milk your current platform and design for all that you can and only change what is necessary. Once they have a design down, they tweak it to meet what the market wants. If I recall correctly the Corolla has the same underpinnings as it did about 5 years ago? Toyota has just used and reused so many pieces its cheap.
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I've long thought that the General has been very slow to bring new products to market, even on existing platforms. When did the new Saab 9-3 come out on the Epsilon platform? Was it 2002? When ever it was they aren't getting around to selling the Saturn Aura until 2006. By the time GM gets full use of the platform it will be obsolete. When I saw the Opel Antera / Saturn Vue concept pics I thought - OK GM finally has its design groove back, but if it takes too long to turn good new concepts into reality it won't much matter.
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A 12 month time frame is pretty mind boggling to me. I wonder what Toyota is doing differently than all the other automakers? Edited by 4gm
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Who cares about Toyota really? Big deal 12 months from two years. GM has gone from 7 years to 3 in less than 5 years, by 2010 GM will be at or above Toyota's development time. Toyota is also slow to react to American tastes in vehicles. They took a decade to produce a full-size SUV that didn't match-up to domestics. The Sequoia has the worst MPG of any V-8 in its class and the least std HP. A joke for a continously improoving automaker. Hey, I admire Toyota's leadership but, it is a farse. Toyota will soon be exposed. GM and Ford are learning fast and they are big enough to blow the pants off Toyota. Remember Toyota's success is based less on kaizen and more on that GM & Ford sit on the sidelines as Toyota blows past. Well, GM & Ford have been warming up for 5 years I think its time Toyota is taught how the game is really played.
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12 months is a really aggressive target, I would think 18 is tough, but 12? Good luck on that one. Scary if they can pull it off and product quality products.
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Who cares about Toyota really? Big deal 12 months from two years. GM has gone from 7 years to 3 in less than 5 years, by 2010 GM will be at or above Toyota's development time. Toyota is also slow to react to American tastes in vehicles. They took a decade to produce a full-size SUV that didn't match-up to domestics. The Sequoia has the worst MPG of any V-8 in its class and the least std HP. A joke for a continously improoving automaker. Hey, I admire Toyota's leadership but, it is a farse. Toyota will soon be exposed. GM and Ford are learning fast and they are big enough to blow the pants off Toyota.
Remember Toyota's success is based less on kaizen and more on that GM & Ford sit on the sidelines as Toyota blows past. Well, GM & Ford have been warming up for 5 years I think its time Toyota is taught how the game is really played.

[post="15051"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



i think you need to get your head out of the sand. toyota is kicking GM's butt all over the place with no end in sight. GM will be no where near Toyota's development time, let alone surpassing it by 2010 or even 2015

Toyota made huge profits in the past several years. GM continues to lose money with every vehicle purchased. Toyota is gaining market share and GM is losing market share. it's a lot easier to make improvements when you're making money.
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Who cares about Toyota really? Big deal 12 months from two years. GM has gone from 7 years to 3 in less than 5 years, by 2010 GM will be at or above Toyota's development time. Toyota is also slow to react to American tastes in vehicles. They took a decade to produce a full-size SUV that didn't match-up to domestics. The Sequoia has the worst MPG of any V-8 in its class and the least std HP. A joke for a continously improoving automaker. Hey, I admire Toyota's leadership but, it is a farse. Toyota will soon be exposed. GM and Ford are learning fast and they are big enough to blow the pants off Toyota.
Remember Toyota's success is based less on kaizen and more on that GM & Ford sit on the sidelines as Toyota blows past. Well, GM & Ford have been warming up for 5 years I think its time Toyota is taught how the game is really played.

[post="15051"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Is that you Roger Smith? Toyota seems to be unstoppable and this will only add to GM and Ford's woes in the next few years.
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I think GM is slowly heading in the right direction. I mean, look at how fast the solstice came to market. GM pulled a toyota and used a ton of bits and pieces from other GM cars to cheapen the cost and to cut down on time since they didn't have to develop any new technology. If GM can do that with every vehicle, they should be okay. They just need to continue globalizing product and materials to keep up.
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It certainly does mean that. Because while they may sink a few million (read: 10 or 15) it will begin to recoup that with every sale of the new model they get.

Toyota already makes their money off of reusing parts, platforms, etc. If they can do this in their entire line in 12 months that's huge.

[post="14993"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Even Toyota couldn't afford changing models every 2 years.
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All: Do not get your shorts ruffled over this. This is just nonsense and means nothing, especially if you do not know the context. Design freeze is arbitrary to start the clock of program timing. Why, because it does not take into account all the upfront engineering, design, manufacturing, marketing and logistic work that occurred prior to "design freeze". That could be two to four years worth of work depending on to the significance of the program. Design freeze is not, some sketch in a styling studio but, for lack of a better phrase, completed blue prints of a vehicle. And I will say again, from when a program is initiated it still takes app. 4 years or so to bring a vehicle to fruition. That is just the way it is. This article is pure bunk.
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The speed of getting a product from the board to the street isn't that big of a deal if costs are down, it is reliable, put together well and it is designed with enough foresight to be competetive when it is launched!
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This article is pure bunk.


But that would mean an auto publication is knowlingly choosing to marketing fluff from an Asian Marques as a "news" article!?! [sarcasm] Personally, I'm shocked. [/sarcasm]
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to me, the most frustrating thing about domestic manufacturers, and in some instances others like Nissan is this. they lack the flexibility and speed to be able to amke sorely needed changes quickly to a model line after a product launch if they need to. Example..... Saturn Ion got GRILLED for its center mounted IP and crappy interior. Why, 3 years later, do we still not have a new interior for that car? If they were committed to sell the Ion for 4 years or whatever, why throw sales in the tank, fix the fricking interior to make the car desirable! In my opinion, once you release the car if you find it has a negative sales impact, it should only take you 12-18 months to fix the problem. Similar example, the Nissan Quest interior. The Quest was new as a 2004 model. The 2006 should have an all new interior. Seats, dash, trim, gauges, console....etc. It took Nissan far too long to fix the Altima interior. Just now the Malibu is getting some changes in its interior trim colors etc, but they haven't even fixed the cheap center stack yet! Why no 9-3 wagon or v6 until like 3 years after the sedan comes out? Pathetic. Why are so many carmakers slow in getting mp3/aux jacks in the audio systems of cars now that so many folks have Ipods and such? A lot of car lines have issues like this, but I do think that as important as the time it takes them to bring out new models, its just as important for them to learn how to fix tainted models quickly to keep them competitive instead of throwing in the sales towel. I think in general carmakers have been way to slow to respond on the fly to obvious shortcomings in their products.
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to me, the most frustrating thing about domestic manufacturers, and in some instances others like Nissan is this.

they lack the flexibility and speed to be able to amke sorely needed changes quickly to a model line after a product launch if they need to.  Example.....

Saturn Ion got GRILLED for its center mounted IP and crappy interior.  Why, 3 years later, do we still not have a new interior for that car?  If they were committed to sell the Ion for 4 years or whatever, why throw sales in the tank, fix the fricking interior to make the car desirable!  In my opinion, once you release the car if you find it has a negative sales impact, it should only take you 12-18 months to fix the problem.  Similar example, the Nissan Quest interior.  The Quest was new as a 2004 model.  The 2006 should have an all new interior.  Seats, dash, trim, gauges, console....etc.  It took Nissan far too long to fix the Altima interior.  Just now the Malibu is getting some changes in its interior trim colors etc, but they haven't even fixed the cheap center stack yet!

Why no 9-3 wagon or v6 until like 3 years after the sedan comes out?  Pathetic.

Why are so many carmakers slow in getting mp3/aux jacks in the audio systems of cars now that so many folks have Ipods and such?

A lot of car lines have issues like this, but I do think that as important as the time it takes them to bring out new models, its just as important for them to learn how to fix tainted models quickly to keep them competitive instead of throwing in the sales towel.

I think in general carmakers have been way to slow to respond on the fly to obvious shortcomings in their products.

[post="15160"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



If manufacturers took your advice they all would be out of business.

Your interior examples are noted, but do you have any idea, the development cost for a new interior. There is a tremendous amount of testing that goes into an IP. Besides some soft surfaces, it is not cost effective to do what you suggest.

Car companies have limited resourses and they have to balance those resourses over dozens of vehicles that are on the market and all the new programs that are in development.

There are also marketing reasons why manufacturers cadence various body styles and engine offerings over the life of the program. To keep things fresh.

What you rather see GM do, invest good money into bad with the current Ion or divert that money to the next generation Ion or move up the more profitable 900 utilites. Edited by evok
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This is a slide from Toyota's "We Can & We Will" presentation last November. It shows development times decreasing to a little over 12 months.



Posted Image
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This is a slide from Toyota's "We Can & We Will" presentation last November. It shows development times decreasing to a little over 12 months.
Posted Image

[post="15174"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Again that is from "Styling Freeze", which is misleading.
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If manufacturers took your advice they all would be out of business.

Your interior examples are noted, but do you have any idea, the development cost for a new interior.  There is a tremendous amount of testing that goes into an IP.  Besides some soft surfaces, it is not cost effective to do what you suggest.

Car companies have limited resourses and they have to balance those resourses over dozens of vehicles that are on the market and all the new programs that are in development. 

There are also marketing reasons why manufacturers cadence various body styles and engine offerings over the life of the program.  To keep things fresh.

What you rather see GM do, invest good money into bad with the current Ion or divert that money to the next generation Ion or move up the more profitable 900 utilites.

[post="15170"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


blow it out your tushie, what i suggest is actually what they are going to have to learn how to do to survive in the future.

if they can't do it now, they better learn how. that, and not cheap out and fuck up the designs from the start. I mean c'mon, are the idiots that prevalent at the car companies that would allow the sea of plastic in the Ion? Or the horrendous Altima interior when it came out.

As far as keeping car lines 'fresh', it painfully obvious that now in 2005, a manufacturer has to 'bring it' right at model launch. If not, the car is doomed from the get go and look at what that does to you.

Examples, Ford 500 would have sold much better if it had the 3.5 duratec from the get go. Oh no, let's save it for 3 years so in 2008 we can keep the lineup 'fresh'. Good job, no one will care in 3 years when 10 asian automakers have spit out ten new sedans in that time. Look at all the sales you lose in those 3 years? In Fords case, they probably lost a ton, at least 50,000 units. Or more, due to the media and public criticism from the start. My God, at least pump another 25 hp out of the Duratec 3.0 then. You did it for the Fusion! I can bet the Ion would have sold 100,000 more units or more in its first 4 model years if it had a better interior and IP.

No one cares about cars like the mazdaspeed Protege and Mazdaspeed 6 because they came along so late in their product cycles. Honestly, its pointless for Mazda to even bring that car out.

Ford fixing the oval taurus design allowed them to rekindle sales.

This stratified marketing thing is exactly that, marketing. Cars are like consumer electronics now. You better have a correct product from the start, you better be able to bring it to market fast, you better not fuck anything up, and if you do, make the correction quickly, or you're dead in the water. Product cycles are too short now.

Everything you are saying is spoke from the vantage point of someone in marketing or beancounting and honestly, vantage points like that hinder product development and success. Quite honestly, if we got rid of the marketing and advertising people in the car business, hell, in MANY businesses, i think we'd be a whole lot better off. Too many marketers are more consumed with marketing as a process, rather than having a knack and knowing all about the products they and their competition sells.

The reason the asians are successful is because they bring it all from relentlessly from the model launch and don't do as much of this 'life of the program/keep things fresh' bit. That's all marketing BS.

The days are coming soon when model lines may only have a 2-3 year shelf life before the buying public moves on and doesn't care if you haven't 'kept it fresh'. People's attnetion spans today are extremely short and won't wait for lame ass carmakers.

Its not my fault if GM sells the Astro for 20 years, doesn't improve the product, AND doesn't spend any money on replacing it so they can keep the plant open and not kill tons of jobs. Edited by regfootball
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I suppose it should be fairly easy to develop a car in 12 months when you already have: 1. The engine designed and tested. 2. The transmission designed and tested. 3. Buttons and switches in the parts bin. 4. Major frame components designed and tested. Toyota is designing cars like the housing industry is building houses. They have all the components in built and ready ahead of time. They bulldoze the site, pour the slab, then truck in all the bits, slap them together, and put a pretty skin on the outside.
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