Toyota Cars Conquer Indian Terrain In The 2019 5 Continents Drive

Published On Jan 06, 2020 06:42 PM By Sponsored for Toyota Fortuner 2016-2021

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The journey from Bidadi to New Delhi covered a total 2,889km

  • Toyota’s goal for The 5C Drive was to learn at the ground level and gather data to build better cars.

  • The team comprised nine cars led by a Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200.

  • It was a test of Toyota India’s vehicles in the real world, based on the Genchi Genbutsu (go and see for yourself) philosophy.

  • Trained technicians methodically inspected each car every morning before embarking on their journey.

Nine Toyota cars started their journey across India during September 2019. This was the India leg of the Toyota 5 Continents Drive (The 5C Drive). A team of Indian drivers, Toyota officials, and a crew of technicians undertook the 2,889km journey from Toyota's manufacturing facility at Bidadi near Bangalore to the national capital. India’s road network, though well connected, is often unsafe and unreliable. This was the challenge for Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Kirloskar Motors employees for 2019. After driving through the Americas, Europe, and more recently, Africa, it was time to take on Asia.

Genchi Genbutsu is the principle behind The 5C Drive. It literally translates to ‘go and see’. Toyota engineers and technicians alike believe they can learn about making cars well by going around the world and seeing the myriad environments that cars are exposed to. All vehicles undergo testing in controlled environments in workshops and test tracks. But The 5C Drive is aimed at giving Toyota insight into how its cars perform on real roads in different countries. Toyota Motor Company President Akio Toyoda himself believes in not restricting his employees to indoor facilities.

The first 5C drive was held across Australia. Following that, teams drove across North America in 2015. The next year’s drive was through South America, then Europe, and last year, the venue was Africa. In India, the team travelled through Davangere, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, and several other towns and cities.

What is to be learned from driving cars on roads in other countries? Yoichi Minamiyama of Gazoo Racing says that during the team’s North America drive, the cars were driven in high temperatures. Toyota USA responded by fitting its cars with better heat management and cooling systems. Tatsuya Ito pitched in an instance from the drive through Finland. The radar systems on the cars stopped working in the snowfall. To remedy this, the company fitted its cars with heaters around the sensors.

Throughout The 5C Drive, the crew of technicians and engineers meticulously inspected the vehicles and collected data. Fluids were checked, tyre pressures were measured, underbodies were inspected, and 180 wheel lug nuts were tightened with a torque wrench. This procedure was followed every day before the cars hit the roads. When they finally did, all nine cars would move in a single convoy. They communicated about every road hazard -- every aggressive driver and broken vehicle and pothole. Their attitude toward safety was exemplary.

From highway stretches to mountain roads, the Toyota cars held their ground. And that doesn’t come as a surprise. The company has built its reputation for reliability over the decades, dating back to the time when Japan had to prove itself to the world. We, as consumers, can be rest assured that Toyota is committed to solving the problems we have. So, whether roads improve or not, Innovas and Fortuners will keep getting better at tackling the Indian terrain.

The journey does not end in New Delhi. The rest of South East Asia awaits. From there, the convoy of Toyota cars will traverse China. The end of this five-year journey will be in Toyota’s home country, Japan. The team plans to get there before the commencement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July. We wish them luck and hope they will continue to make reliable, durable, and quality cars.

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