Toyota Motor Europe wants its workers to build in quality on the assembly line to reduce post-production inspections and repairs, reported Automotive News Europe.

Next year Toyota will open a so-called Global Production Centre in the UK to train European workers how to make cars better. The first such centre started in Japan two years ago. A third will open next year in the US.

"The customer should be protected from any inconvenience," Toyota Motor Europe CEO of Shinichi Sasaki said in an exclusive interview.

Sasaki, formerly responsible for quality for TME parent Toyota Motor, admitted the company's fast growth, which has led to new plants plus rapid recruitment in Japan and overseas, may have hurt its "built-in quality" culture.

In October, Toyota recalled 1.4 million units worldwide of 16 models - its biggest recall ever - because of problems with headlight switches.

Sasaki said a recall does not necessarily mean quality is deteriorating.

"We prefer to pro-act than to react to possible problems for our customers," he said. "Cars are increasingly complex, with a huge number of electronic controllers. Like other manufacturers, we try to use this technology to predict problems and take necessary actions."

Part of Toyota's quality deterioration comes from swelling production, which has also put its suppliers under pressure to grow.

Sasaki insists that quality must be "built in" to the process, not "inspected out." This means that all parts of the process - manufacturing, but also design, r&d, purchasing and human resources - must assure quality.

Toyota's training centres will help less experienced workers and new plants absorb Toyota's culture of quality faster and more completely.

Like other manufacturers, Toyota has increased sharing of components across various models. This cost-saving measure affects the quality side: the more parts are shared, the more any problems are magnified.

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