Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 8

8

* MARCH 2020

Crossing industries for crossover
Toyota's Frank Voss
looks for best practices,
wherever they might be
By JOHN IRWIN
TORONTO BUREAU

THE NEW PRESIDENT OF TOYOTA
Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC)
said the company is studying industries outside of the automotive space
and learning from other Toyota plants
as the company prepares for the
launch of the Lexus NX in Cambridge,
Ont., by 2022.
"We also go out and study not only
others who are inside our industry,
but we also go outside the industry,"
said Frank Voss, who took over as
head of TMMC at the beginning of the
year.
"We've benchmarked with other
companies like Amazon to try and
understand their logistics system and
the advantages they've got and bring
back ideas that could benefit us.
"It's very important for us to stay
competitive by doing that."

PIVOTAL TIME
Voss takes over TMMC at a crucial
juncture for both Toyota and Canadian
vehicle manufacturing as a whole.
Toyota, the second-largest vehicle producer in Canada by annual production
volume in 2019, is coming off a $1.4-billion investment in its Canadian operations. TMMC will soon add the Lexus
NX crossover to the vehicles it produces, alongside the Toyota RAV4 and
Lexus RX.
Canadian auto manufacturing,
meanwhile, appears to be at a crossroads. While the United States-MexicoCanada Agreement and investments
by the Detroit Three in the midwestern U.S. could boost supplier orders,
the long-term viability of vehicle

very innovative, and there are a lot
of very good ideas that have worked
their way from down to the States and
Japan."
The rollout of the NX is set to be a
major priority for TMMC in the immediate future, Voss said.
The NX "will consume a lot of our
time, but just for me right now, making sure that I have all the right people
in the right places and getting back to
understanding where we're at, that's
my focus at the moment. Making those
products stable and successful is priority No. 1."
According to the Automotive News
Data Center in Detroit, Toyota built
468,002 vehicles in Canada during 2019,
down 5.9 per cent from the year before.
It ranked as the second-largest of the
five major automakers in Canada
by production volume, behind Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles (510,724 vehicles) and ahead of Honda Motor Co.
(407,764), Ford Motor Co. (247,615) and
General Motors Co. (226,705). - ANC

its plants are as efficient and cutting-edge as possible amid a softening
new-vehicle market.
"There are pluses and minuses on
both sides," he said. "We have some
advantages. They have some advantages in the States. I think we need to
concentrate on things where we have
leverage, and we need to work with
our partners to try and identify the
areas where we are disadvantaged and
continue to work together to overcome
[them]."

IMPORTING IDEAS

Frank Voss says TMMC is studying
other auto companies for best
practices and is looking at
companies outside the industry,
such as Amazon. P H O T O : T M M C

assembly is still up in the air. In recent
years, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General
Motors have outlined plans to decrease
production and jobs to various degrees
as new-vehicle sales decline in North
America.
Protectionist trade policies of the
Trump administration as well as gains
won by the United Auto Workers in
last year's round of Detroit Three bargaining are shifting more production
south of the border. According to the
Center for Automotive Research (CAR)
in Michigan, Detroit Three production in Canada is expected to fall 27 per
cent over the next four years, while
that of the Honda and Toyota is expected to rise 11 per cent. Overall production will fall 9.6 per cent, according to
CAR.
Voss said TMMC must ensure that

An Ontario native and a graduate
of McMaster University in Hamilton,
Voss comes to TMMC from Toyota
Motor Manufacturing Kentucky,
where he was vice-president of administration and corporate secretary.
Previously, he held several roles with
Toyota in Canada, including general
manager of the Lexus manufacturing
division.
Voss said his time in Kentucky will
help bring new ideas to the Canadian
plants.
"Seeing what's going on there and
coming back here, there's a lot of activity that we can apply up here. That's
not to say TMMC has been standing
still. We have an excellent reputation
in North America and Japan for being

Toyota plans to build the Lexus
NX crossover in Cambridge, Ont.,
by 2022, the rollout of which "will
consume a lot of our time," said new
TMMC President Frank Voss.
P H O T O : T O Y O TA C A N A D A

Airbag compensation claim
blows up for M-B customer
By ERIC FREEDMAN

LEGAL CORRESPONDENT

A MERCEDES-BENZ
vehicle owner who sought
$750 compensation
from the automaker
for the time he spent
pressing to have his
recalled airbag placed,
will get none.
The British
Columbia Civil
Tribunal rebuffed a
claim by Wayne Edwards,
who waited three years for a
replacement.
According to the Dec. 13
decision by tribunal member
Micah Carmody, MercedesBenz sent Edwards a voluntary-recall notice in June 2016
that said replacements were
unavailable. In early 2018,
Edwards began contacting
Mercedes and was told that
Transport Canada was overseeing distribution of replacements and expected them
by the end of the year. That

didn't happen, so Edwards
filed his claim in March 2019,
initially demanding $1,900.
In June 2019, Mercedes
located an airbag in the
United States and had it
installed "ahead of
the internal activation of the recall campaign and ahead of
many other customers," the decision
said.
Edwards reduced
his compensation
demand to 10 hours at $75 an
hour, but even that was $750
too much, the decision said. It
said there was no documentation of time spent, no explanation of the basis for the hourly rate and no suggestion that
Edwards lost wages or missed
work to handle the dispute.
In addition, it said
Mercedes "provided the airbag" ahead of other customers "out of goodwill rather
than legal obligation."

SEE 'CONJECTURE' PAGE 23


http://kumhotire.ca http://www.kumhotirerebates.ca

Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2

Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 5
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Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 8
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Automotive News Canada - March 2020 - v2 - 28
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