Car manufacturing is an art. It involves skill, man power, precision, and that fine balance between man and machine (robots) that take care of a few operations. Auto enthusiasts would be very interested to visit such a plant.
DriveSpark was invited to visit the Toyota factory on the outskirts of Bangalore. The whole team's eyes lit up, but unfortunately, not all of us could ditch the cars and motorcycles we were testing and go for it, except for one lucky individual -- me.
The plant visit was to show us and a select few journalists about how Toyota was very particular about the quality of its vehicles, which has always been Toyota's major focus from day 1. We were given a small presentation by Bapugouda Patil, the General Manager of the Quality Control Division, and once we were done, it was off to visit the assembly lines.
We were shown how Toyota makes use of its assembly line. Workflow is efficient and Toyota follows a simple rule to ensure that quality remains a top priority. If there is a delay between operations, for example, from engine assembly to fitting the wheels, employees have the option to stop work momentarily.
This will ensure that small mistakes are not carried forward to the next operation, thus avoiding a sub-standard Toyota car being produced. Supervisors are always available on floor and ready to aid the technicians with any difficulties.
We were taken along the assembly lines and shown how simple methods make the whole car building process fool-proof. Simple techniques like coloured reservoirs for each liquid (engine oil, brake fluid, steering oil, etc.,) and unique trolley sizes that only fit in its respective slots, ensures everything is right.
The final part of the assembly, the quality check, was what interested us the most. Every single vehicle built undergoes a set of tests such as braking, acceleration, steering, wheel alignment, rain, and light test. These tests are carried out by specialists, before the vehicles leave the factory floor and if any defects are found, the car is immediately inspected and rectified.
After being shown around the factory and the assembly line, we had a chance to interact with Raju B Ketkale, the Senior Vice President of Toyota Kirloskar. The discussion ranged from details about the plant and the recent diesel ban in Delhi. We also wanted to know what measures Toyota is taking to overcome the impact.
Ketkale said Toyota is taking measures, which will be revealed in due course of time, and at the moment, petrol engines are the quickest resort to keep the sales balanced for its best selling model, the Innova.
About Toyota Factory
Toyota Kirloskar began operations in India in 1997. The factory is located in Bidadi, on the outskirts of Bangalore and is spread over an area of 432 acres.
The company manufactures the Etios, Liva, Corolla, Camry, Innova, and the Fortuner. The Toyota Qualis was the first vehicle to roll out of the company's plant in India.