Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: Case Studies
你看的是 51期那一篇，還是 48期那一篇？謝謝，我馬上寄去。
TOKYO--Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday it will recall 539,864 trucks, sport-utility vehicles and mini vans in North America and some Asian and European markets due to problems with brake pedal pins and fuel gauges.
The announcement follows its recall last week of 76,415 vehicles in Japan because of issues with electric cables connected to the engines, and comes on the heels of General Motors Co.'s recall Tuesday of 1.3 million compact cars with suspect power steering.
Automobile manufacturers have become all too aware of the need for a swift response to quality issues as Toyota Motor Corp. takes the flak for the way it handled the recall of 8.5 million vehicles world-wide.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda testified in a U.S. congressional hearing regarding its product safety last week, and flew from that country to apologize in China earlier this week.
Sales of Toyota vehicles in the U.S. dropped by 8.7% in February from a year earlier. The company has responded by launching a promotional campaign.
Nissan said there have been no reported accidents or injuries related to the problems that prompted its latest recall.
The Japanese car maker said it found a manufacturing error in brake pedal pins, about which there have been three reported instances of it partially disengaging.
The company also said that fuel gauges in vehicles with high mileages may indicate the amount of remaining fuel incorrectly.
Models subject to the pedal pin recall are the Infiniti QX56 SUV, Titan pickup truck, Armada SUV and Quest minivan. Besides the latter, these are also subject to the fuel gauge recall, together with the Frontier pickup truck, Pathfinder and Xterra SUV.
Of the 539,864 vehicles affected, 418,865 are in the U.S. with the remainder in Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine and other markets.
Data Shows Camrys Outside Recall Also Had Problems
This article was reported by Bill Vlasic, Hiroko Tabuchi and Jo Craven McGinty and written by Mr. Vlasic.
Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
Toyota has recalled six million cars in the United States over concerns about sudden acceleration. But an analysis of government documents shows that many Toyota Camrys built before 2007, which were not subject to recalls, have been linked to a comparable number of speed-control problems as recalled Camrys.
While owners of all makes of vehicles have filed complaints with the government about speed control problems, the analysis — based on a review of 12,700 complaint records in the United States over the last decade by The New York Times — reveals that Toyota had more complaints involving crashes than any other carmaker.
Many of the complaints were about vehicles not covered by recalls. The 2002 Camry, for example, had about 175 speed-control complaints. Roughly half of those involved crashes.
By comparison, the 2007 Camry, which was recalled, was the subject of about 200 speed-control complaints, with fewer than a quarter of those resulting in acci-dents.
In all, federal safety regulators said they had received complaints alleging that unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles caused 34 deaths.
In his Congressional testimony last week, James E. Lentz III, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., noted that other auto manufacturers had had complaints of sudden acceleration.
Toyota ranked second, with about 3,000 complaints, but those were linked to far more accidents — 1,000 — compared to 450 crashes for Ford.
All told, from 2000 through 2009, Toyota had one speed-control crash complaint per 20,454 vehicles sold in the United States. Ford had one complaint per 64,679 vehicles. Honda had one per 70,112 and G.M. one per 179,821.
Asked about The Times’s findings, a Toyota spokesman said on Monday that pre-2007 Camrys had been investigated and cleared of defects in three previous inquiries by the safety agency. “At the conclusion of these investigations, no specific evidence of a trend regarding safety issues was found,” said Brian Lyons, the spokesman.
Mr. Lyons said that the 2002 and 2003 Camrys with six-cylinder engines had also been subject to two corporate service actions aimed at addressing momentary surges in acceleration. He said the changes were “not issued to resolve any computer software or electronic throttle control concerns.”
A separate examination by The Times of transport ministry records in Japan revealed a similar finding. In reports since 2001, Toyota vehicles have been cited with a greater frequency in complaints of sudden acceleration than those of other major carmakers.
Toyota has blamed gas pedals that can stick and bulky floor mats for unexplained acceleration in its recalled vehicles.
Camrys sold before 2007 in the United States, and almost all Toyotas sold in Japan, use a different pedal design and different floor mats. So Toyota has said that there is no need to recall those cars.
Records suggesting that these Camrys and Japanese Toyotas have sudden acceleration problems have raised questions about whether there might be another explanation, including the possibility that the cars’ electronic systems malfunction, resulting in unexpected acceleration.
Toyota’s chief executive, Akio Toyoda, testified before a Congressional panel last week that he was “absolutely confident” there was no problem with Toyota’s electronics.
“Tests have been repeated,” he said. “However, no malfunction or problems were identified.”
But transportation officials in the United States said in interviews that they were reviewing whether to expand their investigations of Toyota to include pre-2007 Camrys. N.H.T.S.A. had cleared the pre-2007 Camrys of possible defects in two previous investigations of unintended acceleration, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, Olivia Alair, said. She said these same models would now be part of an inquiry into the role that electronic throttle control systems may have played in Toyota’s speed-control problems.
“If N.H.T.S.A. can find evidence of a possible defect trend with Toyota or other products during this review, they will open a defect investigation,” Ms. Alair said. At a hearing in Washington on Tuesday, the transportation secretary Ray Lahood that the N.H.T.S.A. was not slow to starting investigations into Toyota vehicles despite a spike in reports of sudden acceleration in recent years. The agency opened at least two inquiries, he said.
Announcing new and rare investigations in Japan, the Seiji Maehara, the transport minister, said last week of Toyota’s executives, “There’s a high possibility that Toyota has not provided the state with adequate information.”
Last Wednesday, the transport ministry said it would examine 38 complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyotas reported from 2007 through 2009, as well as 134 cases in cars produced by all other automakers that sell in Japan. No deaths or injuries have been reported as a result of those incidents, the ministry said.
The Times’s analysis of complaints in the United States covered those filed since 2000 involving all makes and models of cars manufactured this decade. A complaint about speed control may indicate that the vehicle accelerated excessively or inadequately.
The single largest source of these complaints was the 2007 model Camry.
That model, along with Camrys made since, has been recalled twice, beginning last fall, in connection with unintended acceleration — first for unsecured floor mats, and then for faulty accelerator pedals that could stick when depressed.
A high incidence of crashes linked to speed control has occurred in earlier model Camrys.
During 2004, 125 crashes reported to the highway safety agency were linked to speed control. About 80 of those involved Camrys.
In Japan, The Times examined all the reports of Toyota malfunctions brought to the transport ministry since 2001, about 3,700 in all, and, for comparison, all comparable reports on Honda over the same period, about 2,400.
The examination found 99 cases of sudden acceleration or engine surge in Toyotas, compared with 18 reports of similar problems in Hondas.
The transport ministry received a sudden acceleration report for every 150,000 Toyotas sold. This compares with one report for about every 300,000 Hondas sold.
Although Toyota sold 1.35 million cars and trucks in Japan last year, that many reports “is not a small number,” said Tetsuo Taniguchi, a chief researcher at the Japanese government-affiliated National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory. “If pedals or floor mats are not the problem in Japan, it’s time for Toyota to investigate what is.”
Ministry officials note that a small fraction of incidents make their way to the ministry because most drivers report auto malfunctions to their dealers. And in Japan dealers and manufacturers are under no obligation to give that information to the government, unless the company believes it failed to comply with national safety standards.
For the government to order a recall, it must have proof of a potentially dangerous defect, which is difficult to find without cooperation from the automaker.
On Monday, Mr. Toyoda also continued his campaign to shore up Toyota’s reputation, apologizing at a news conference in China to consumers there for quality concerns.
The Obama administration may recommend that carmakers install a brake override system that is intended to prevent the sudden acceleration episodes that have led to recalls of millions of Toyotas, the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said on Tuesday.
Mr. LaHood made his comments at a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy and Transportation, one of three such hearings in Congress in the last two weeks that examined the Toyota recalls and the response to them by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The override system is meant to deactivate the accelerator when the brake pedal is pressed.
Once the system is installed, it will stop the car if both the brake pedal and accelerator pedal are depressed.
Although the systems have been available from other car companies for several years, Toyota did not install it on its cars. But in the wake of the massive recalls, it has begun installing it on Camry, Lexus and Avalon models. About 20 percent of its vehicles in North America have the override. Last week, the automaker said the system also would be installed on its Tacoma, Venza and Sequoia models.
At the hearing Tuesday, both Toyota and the safety agency faced sharp criticism.
The committee’s chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, scolded the automaker for failing to listen to American executives’ warnings about rising safety problems.
Last week, officials in Toyota’s North American operations said they did not have the authority to order large-scale recalls, saying the responsibility rested solely with Japan.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the committee released a presentation from 2006 by James E. Press, who was then in charge of Toyota’s sales operations in the United States. In it, he urged Japanese officials to be more transparent about safety matters.
Mr. Press subsequently became the first non-Japanese member of the Toyota board, but left to join Chrysler.
“Safety took a second seat to profits,” Senator Rockefeller said. “Things do not happen in Japanese corporations by chance. They happen by decision.”
Mr. Rockefeller is a longtime ally of Toyota who studied in Japan during college and spent years wooing the company, eventually landing an engine plant from Toyota in Buffalo, W.Va. Nonetheless, he said he was frustrated by a lack of direct answers from senior Toyota executives at the hearing. “There is more knowledge at the table than has disclosed itself,” he said.
Mr. Rockefeller raised the subject of the brake override system. “We’re looking at it,” Mr. LaHood said. “We think it is a good safety device, and we’re trying to figure out if we should be recommending it.”
In a lengthy exchange with Mr. LaHood, Mr. Rockefeller suggested that federal safety officials accepted Toyota’s explanation that floor mats caused sudden unintended acceleration because they did not understand the cars’ computer system, which many drivers and critics have pointed to as a possible cause.
“I think N.H.T.S.A. investigators would rather focus on floor mats than microchips because they understand floor mats,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “It’s a major letdown on N.H.T.S.A.’s part, looking back and up to the present.”
Mr. LaHood said he did not know whether the agency had “turned a blind eye” to the electronics issue, but vowed a “complete review” of the situation.
Toyota executives again tried to assure lawmakers that they were taking steps to rectify the problems behind the recalls. “This loss of trust is more costly than anything else to Toyota,” said Yoshimi Inaba, the head of Toyota’s North American operations.
Executives asserted, as they have before, that the sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota cars was caused by gas pedals that can become obstructed by floor mats or stick because of design flaws, and not by problems in the electronic systems.
“I want to be absolutely clear: As a result of our extensive testing, we do not believe sudden unintended acceleration because of a defect in our E.T.C.S. has ever happened,” Takeshi Uchiyamada, an executive vice president at Toyota, said, referring to the car’s engine throttle control systems. However, Mr. Uchiyamada, the chief engineer on the Prius, said Toyota “will continue to search for any event in which such a failure could occur.”
Through February, the N.H.T.S.A. had received 43 complaints of fatal accidents that are said to have involved unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 2000, the Transportation Department said. The department has not confirmed the complaints, which cover 52 deaths and 38 injuries. Three-quarters of the episodes were reported to the safety agency in the last four months, since Toyota’s initial recall in October 2009.
Toyota executives promised to be more responsive to driver complaints as well as safety warnings from the government, and then assured lawmakers that the company was taking steps to improve quality control.
“It is clear to us that we did not listen as carefully as we should — or respond as quickly as we must — to our customers’ concerns,” Mr. Inaba said.
But the Senate committee released a company presentation in which Mr. Press urged the Japanese parent to give Toyota America “better information” on quality issues.
The document, a slide show presentation and accompanying notes dated 2006 also urged Toyota to “strengthen communications” among the company’s divisions in the United States and Toyota’s headquarters. “We need faster information flow, and more technical support when hot issues arise,” the notes read.
Health Care Begins in Human Bonds
Daily YonderWhen people focus on quality, the rest falls in place. That was the credo of William Edwards Deming, the 20th Century’s guru of organizations. A statistician and expert in product design, Deming found that insistence on quality often incurs higher costs at first, but in the longer run costs are lower and the entire system improves.
A core concept, and my favorite among Deming’s ideas, considers quality in “the matrix of relationships." This principle is key to health care.
果公司(Apple Inc.)起訴台灣移動設備製造商宏達國際電子股份有限公司(HTC Co., 簡稱﹕宏達國際)﹐稱該公司侵犯了與蘋果公司iPhone手機相關的20項專利。
宏達國際是谷歌(Google Inc.)近期推出的Nexus One手機的製造商。
這些專利包括iPhone的用戶界面﹐基礎架構和硬件。蘋果公司同時向美國國際貿易委員會(International Trade Commission)和特拉華州聯邦法院提起訴訟。
用汽車公司(General Motors Co.)宣佈﹐公司主動召回130萬輛緊湊型轎車﹐包括旗下流行的雪佛蘭(Chevrolet) Cobalt車型在內﹐原因是這些車的動力輔助轉向系統存在失靈風險。
此 次召回事件涉及到2005至2010年間生產的雪佛蘭Cobalt、2007至2010年生產的龐蒂亞克(Pontiac) G5、2005至2006年生產的龐蒂亞克Pursuit（在加拿大市場銷售）以及2005至2006年生產的龐蒂亞克G4（在墨西哥市場銷售）。
該公司週一向美國全國高速公路交通安全委員會(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)匯報了此次召回事宜。
Data Shows Camrys Not Recalled Also Had Problems
By BILL VLASIC, HIROKO TABUCHI and JO CRAVEN McGINTY
An analysis of U.S. federal documents showed that many Camrys built before 2007 — and not covered in recent recalls — were linked to speed control problems.