KARIYA, Japan -- As the U.S. public backlash mounted against Toyota Motor Corp., few worried about the recall fallout more than Fumio Fujimori, president of Aisin Seiki Co.
Aisin, a member of the Toyota Group, relies on the car company for 65 percent of its sales. And when the recalls hit this year, Aisin was just starting to recover from the recession.
"I was worried," Fujimori recalls. "But it wasn't as bad as we expected."
Toyota's U.S. sales have gone through some tough months during its recent string of recalls -- which have amounted to more than 11 million vehicles worldwide since last fall. But through July, Toyota's U.S. sales this year are up 8 percent, albeit in an overall market that rose 15 percent.
None of Aisin's parts have been involved in the recalls for unintended acceleration. "We hardly had any impact," Fujimori says of Toyota's recall woes.
But fearing the worst, Fujimori set up an internal global quality review committee in January as a pre-emptive measure. "I wanted to do it before Toyota asked us to," he says.
In the end, Toyota took a low-key approach, Fujimori says. It didn't ask Aisin to overhaul quality assurance or engineering practices and did not send more engineers to oversee quality.
Fujimori says Aisin's quality committee is trying to streamline the feedback of complaints and reports from customers in the field to their r&d centers so they can catch problems earlier.