An advisory panel assigned by the company stated that Toyota's latest management changes were not quite successful in solving numerous safety problems discovered during the past decade. According to the panel headed by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, worldwide recalls of millions of vehicles since 2009 were partly caused by too centralized decision-making. It was actually found to be too Japan-based. The panel's 60-page report claimed that Toyota's defensive attitude and skepticism toward the customer also played a role, and the company should attain to the level of U.S. safety regulators' goals, but less centralize on industry lobbyists. While Toyota was short of top safety executive until April, the seven-member panel, paid by the automaker, asserted that it wasn't able to "identify a clear management chain of responsibility for safety." As for company's future, the panel assures it is optimistic. Indeed, federal investigations didn't detect any electronic reasons for unintentional acceleration. Moreover, Toyota's Global Vision 2020 puts safety as the first priority, and the management tends to carry out positive changes. Panel members consider that these changes imply that Toyota would respond faster if safety problems were brought to the surface.
The company is really concerned about restoring its status of the foremost leader in auto manufacturing. Toyota President Akio Toyoda stated that further insights into the way of approaching customers' expectations with the most reliable vehicles were already given by the panel. Having appointed Steve St. Angelo as a chief quality officer for North America, Toyota is going to assign the CEO for North American operations. Following the panel's advice, the company appointed Moritaka Yoshida to CSTO (chief safety technology officer) position last month. Toyota is also suggested to assign a director from a key regional market such as North America. Analyzing the management failures, Akio Toyoda reported that Toyota executives' low efficiency is the result of "hubris born of success".
In accordance with the report, Toyota should leave decoding devices (which require updates too often) the thing of a past and facilitate downloading of crash information from electronic data records or black boxes. Another suggestion was that Toyota's vaunted Production System and Way principles should be employed outside manufacturing. While the company detects manufacturing error, paying attention to the source of the problem, it would rather concentrate on vehicle design, customer feedback, corporate governance, and regulatory affairs. The panel's report was finished at the midpoint of two-year term, so the panel is intended to control the realization of these recommendations.