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KENTUCKY TOYOTA PLANT SUCCEEDS THROUGH A COMMITMENT TO CONSTANT IMPROVEMENTS

 GEORGETOWN, Ky., June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Who would blame the 4,700 Americans at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (TMM) here for taking time to enjoy receiving the J.D. Power and Associates North American Gold Plant Quality Award for 1993?
 While Toyota's Kentucky team members are proud of earning the J.D. Power and Associates Gold Plant Quality Award for the second time in four years, they are already working on ways to be even better next year. Herein lies the key to TMM's success -- making constant improvements.
 Customer satisfaction is a year-round, continuous goal, according to Rodger Lewis, assistant general manager, quality control, for TMM. "Every year we identify areas where we want to improve to make the greatest difference for the customer," he said.
 "The areas are selected based on several internal and external indicators. For example, we look at our warranty program and the New Vehicle Sales and Delivery Survey. Internal audits are conducted daily as well and, of course, the results of the annual J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Studys(SM) are carefully scrutinized," Lewis said.
 "This combined information helps us form a master plan for quality improvements each year which involve all areas of our plant. We meet with many groups about how to achieve the quality goals. Once the plan is implemented, we conduct monthly reviews to measure our progress."
 How successful is this effort? Lewis says the proof is in the results. Citing the goal in 1992 to improve the electrical and accessory features of the Camry, Lewis said customer complaints were reduced by 30 percent in that area. The 1993 focus to improve squeaks, rattles and other interior noise resulted in a 65 percent improvement in customer satisfaction.
 Another key to TMM's success is that all of its team members have a say in how to improve quality. Last year alone, nearly 40,000 employee suggestions were implemented.
 These efforts helped the Camry tie for fourth place among this year's models in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Studys(SM), based on the responses of 45,000 new car and light truck owners gathered by the independent marketing information firm. The three cars finishing ahead of the Camry, two Lexus models and one Infiniti, are luxury models built in Japan.
 TMM was selected from among some 80 other North American car and light truck manufacturing facilities to receive the 1993 Gold Plant Quality Award.
 According to plant General Manager Mike DaPrile, this premier automobile industry award is based on the responses of regular car and light truck buyers, not some elite judges' panel.
 "Our team members didn't win this award; they earned it," DaPrile said. "The customer has recognized their hard work and the contributions of our U.S. suppliers."
 The J.D. Power and Associates results are the most recent in a series of honors for the Toyota Camry. During the past year, it has been named Family Circle magazine's Family Car of the Year; Automobile Magazine's Best Built American Car; and one of Car and Driver's Top 10 cars.
 TMM produced 240,000 Toyota Camry sedans and station wagons in 1992. Expansion under way adjacent to the existing plant in Georgetown will increase capacity to over 400,000 vehicles per year.
 -0- 6/1/93
 /CONTACT: Barbara McDaniel, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, 502-868-2062/


CO: Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: AUT SU:

CM -- CH009 -- 4120 06/01/93 16:35 EDT
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Date:Jun 1, 1993
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