Still committed to reassuring its customers over quality after recalling millions of vehicles in recent years, Toyota USA has expanded its 'product quality field office (PQFO) program with the opening of new offices in Houston, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida. 

This is the latest move in the automaker's ongoing efforts to broaden its field technical presence and allow it to detect, analyse and respond to customer and quality issues.

Gary Smith, Toyota Motor Sales USA's quality assurance and technical support corporate manager, said the new offices will provide a direct link between the customer and the company’s design, quality, and manufacturing organisations. They will also enable the company to respond to customer issues quickly.

The new facilities take the number of PQFOs in the US to four with the first two previously opened in New York and San Francisco. A fifth is scheduled for Denver, Colorado by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Each PQFO is staffed by three to five engineers and has a dedicated area of research for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models.

The Jacksonville office will focus on heating, ventilation, air conditioning and vehicle drivability and Houston will research trucks and chassis components. Toyota has a Tacoma and Tundra truck assembly plant in the nearby Texas city of San Antonio. 

Initially opened in 2009 as part of a pilot programme, the New York office researches cold weather vehicle performance with special attention to corrosion due to high road salt usage in the 'snow belt' region and San Francisco studies hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle systems.

Denver will look at SUVs and high altitude vehicle performance.