Book Reviews

Toyota Under Fire

Author: Jeffrey K. Liker, 2011

It has been tough for Toyota, but a recent statement from the US Department of Transportation after a 10-month study said, “Electronics are not to blame” for reported problems.

Toyota has recalled nearly eight million vehicles in the US, so this is some good news. NASA engineering was asked to look at computer control, electronic systems and electromagnetic interference as possible causes for the unintended acceleration issues that captured the headlines around the world. Industry discussion was all about electronics and the possibility of tin whiskers.

This is a very interesting read on the reality and practical way in which lessons were learned, with positive actions taken. There are countless references to different sources of information and reports. It is a long and winding story of well publicized problems experienced by some drivers.

One particularly amazing statistic involved calls to Toyota’s call center after one issue surfaced in the media. The Toyota service department’s 800 numbers went from 3,000 calls per day to a staggering 96,000 calls and stayed at the same level for a week. Reading this section clearly highlights the benefits of keeping call centers in-house, rather than other support operations in different countries.

This is a story that needed to be told and was done effectively.

Bob Willis will run training workshops at SMTA International, and has 2011 online training webinars on more than 20 design, assembly and soldering process topics at He also will return to IPC Apex Expo 2012 in San Diego with more workshops.

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