“Quality is a highest priority. Yes, we are aware of the quality issues of the previous model,” he said.
“There was no shocking reliability issues or vital programs. There were many minor quality issues which annoyed customers. That’s true,” Kato said. CarAdvice understands that clutch and gearbox issues were among the most frustrating problems with the current model (D4o).
“Reliability and quality for the pick-up truck – that’s essential. Quality is key. To make perfect quality, we changed the development,” he said.
“For the pick-up we tested the vehicle everywhere. That’s really the key to improve the quality. Yes, at the digital phase we improved the development process and decision making et cetera,” Kato said. “But again, back to the basics [it was about] the right test in very painful environments – in Mexico, Thailand, Australia in the hot temperature, and relatively high speed.
“So we spent energy on that real test.”
Kato said the perception of quality – including the use of new plastics inside the cabin, car-derived controls and media systems, and new seats – was also a big part of the new-generation model’s development, not to mention increasing the Navara’s safety rating from its current three-star level to the highest possible five-star rating.
“For us, safety is part of the quality. Quality, safety, durability, reliability – plus perceived quality. That’s quite important. Because if customers are not satisfied by perceived quality, then for any survey they put a bad rating."
The new Navara will go on sale early in 2015.