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November 28, 2005

INDIA: Indian and Thai auto companies’ quality focus could surpass Japan

In comments some industry observers may find incredible, Toyota Motor chairman Okuda Hiroshi on Monday said that car companies in India and Thailand may soon overtake those in Japan because of their increasing focus on quality.

In comments some industry observers may find incredible, Toyota Motor chairman Okuda Hiroshi on Monday said that car companies in India and Thailand may soon overtake those in Japan because of their increasing focus on quality.

“Thai and Indian companies are fast catching up. My fear is that Japan will soon be overcome by Thai and Indian companies,” Hiroshi, who also chairs Japan’s corporate lobby, Nippon Keidanren, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press (AP).

He reportedly said Japanese companies are not focusing on quality even as the Indian firms are improving their quality standards.

“I am aware of the excellent quality levels of Indian IT (information technology) and manufacturing companies but, in the field of quality, Japan is standing still,” Hiroshi reportedly told a gathering of business leaders in New Delhi.

According to The Associated Press, he said no Japanese firm has won the Deming prize in recent years as they are not showing interest in winning this coveted prize, whereas Indian companies such as motorcycle and scooter maker, TVS Motor and Rane TRW Steering Systems have won the award given by the Deming Committee of Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers.

Hiroshi said Toyota was able to become the most-profitable car company in the world due to its ability to make cars at low costs, the report added.

The Associated Press noted that India has lately emerged as a hub for low-cost manufacturing of cars and their components.

The country is already an ‘export hub’ for Hyundai Motor and Suzuki small cars.

AP added that Toyota has a manufacturing facility in India near the southern city of Bangalore where it produces the Corolla, Camry and Innova multi-purpose-vehicle Innova.

Toyota also sources manual transmissions from Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts, a joint venture with India’s Kirloskar group, that has a manufacturing unit near Bangalore with capacity of 160,000 units a year, The Associated Press said.

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