Is there a conspiracy against Toyota?

With all the flap about Toyota's supposedly sticky accelerators, I'm wondering if there is not an actual conspiracy by the company's competitors and others to do it in. After all, the quality of its cars has shot Toyota near the top of the list of cars that people want to buy.

In his blog Ralph Grabowski writes:

.. Dassault Systemes ceo Bernard Charles commented on the inadequacies of simulation. "...Simulation has to be integrated in PLM...[You] take the risk to not being able to simulate what you think the product is, and you might be simulating the wrong usage conditions." That is what tripped up Toyota.

Many others have made similar observations. Ralph had the grace to publish an article I had written before the recent recalls, based on an interview with Toyota's Quality Manager. The facts: The company does NOT rely solely or even mostly on simulation. It had noticed years agot that to try to do so is indeed a big mistake.

Read this, and then see what you think:

Digital prototyping? Sometimes, a “back to basics” approach produces a better automobilemobile

It’s easy to fall into the trap of relying too much on digital prototyping to test products. So says Brian R. Lyons, safety and quality communication Manager at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Torrance, Calif. “For many years, Toyota has practiced a disciplined and metered method to manufacture vehicles. It lets the company build high-quality cars,” he says. “The approach included several prototypes for each model, obviously an expensive proposition. To cut costs, we increased our use of CAE and built fewer prototype vehicles.”

This helped reduce costs by letting engineers compare aerodynamic flows in different simulated engines rather than actually building physical engines. However, the company suddenly saw an increase in quality issues.

“We started seeing problems we never had before,” says Lyons. “For example, we extended the warranty on the 2001 through 2003 Prius because a ‘check-engine' light kept going on. We had done extensive digital testing on the engine and its components, and everything worked fine in the virtual world for hundreds of thousands of miles. But after the cars had been in operation for several years, it became evident that certain fuels used in the U.S. leave carbon deposits on the throttle body. Digital testing didn't match real-world roads and environmental conditions in the U.S.,” he says. Read the rest of the article

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