Almost every auto supplier has a nightmare story about parts being returned because the color didn't quite match or there were visible knit lines.
But with the global auto industry strained by a lack of computer chips, at least one automaker is easing back on its requirements.
Reuters writes that Toyota Motor Corp. says it will be happy to accept parts with minor scratches and blemishes — especially for parts that won't typically be seen by buyers — as it tries to trims costs in the face of shortages and rising material costs.
That's a big change for an automaker known for its quality control and regimented production system.
"We are careful about the outside of our vehicles, the parts you can easily see. But there are plenty of places that people don't notice unless they really take a good look," Takefumi Shiga, Toyota's chief project leader for vehicle development, said during a press briefing, according to Reuters reporting.
Toyota is one of a few automakers that still has in-house molding, specifically so it can have greater control over parts that drivers regularly see, but in 2019 it began meeting with suppliers, including those in Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the supply chain, to ensure them that it will accept parts as long as blemishes can't be noticed and don't impact performance.
"A visit to a company making plastic seat belt parts reduced the number of those component being rejected by three-quarters," Reuters reported.