Auto Suppliers Not Testing Parts for Safety as Expected

A recent audit of Toyota Motor Corporation's suppliers, prompted by the recall of more than eight million vehicles due to accelerator problems, led to surprising results: auto component suppliers weren't doing the extensive safety testing that Toyota thought they were.

The expansive audit, covering suppliers throughout North America, found that some component testing wasn't as comprehensive as believed. Some suppliers were only testing their components once a year, not the four times a year the company required, said Toyota.

Though no defects have been found through the first quarter of the audits, the company said a much more thorough testing will prevent any defects in the future. Toyota expects to audit each of their 700 suppliers.

Changes to Supplier Requirements

Among the changes Toyota said it will make will be the creation of a new computer database for its suppliers to provide information on their parts and any changes to how they make those parts. Toyota engineers will also be making more on-site visits to the suppliers in order to gauge firsthand their process and quality of work.

Toyota's problems began earlier this year with reports that accelerator pedals were sticking to the floor and causing car crashes in certain models. One incident of a stuck accelerator pedal involved a Toyota Prius speeding along a California highway, which was captured live by the cable news networks. The subsequent press coverage produced a crisis for the one of the world's largest automakers - and sales dropped dramatically.

Renewed efforts focused on quality throughout the company have taken a front seat to new car designs; Toyota said the new strategy is warranted at a time when quality control is at a premium.

If you have been hurt due to a malfunctioning motor vehicle or defective car part, contact an experienced attorney in your area to receive an assessment of your case. A personal injury attorney experienced in handling defective products and motor vehicle accidents can advise you about receiving compensation from those liable for your injury.