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I called them to ask if they had heard complaints by others about the "paint chipping problem" they said they have not, they were very surprised to hear that. I asked them if a sub contractor is building the car and the guy said "that is totally not true, the entire line is built by Toyota/Lexus." I also asked about the "2002" features such as Nav., and manual shift. They said there is no official word on any 2002 models and probably wont have any for quite a while. But I'm thinking that would contradict anything I have seen on t.v. and have read in articles on Lexus in general.

So who's right or wrong??
I don't know what to beleive anymore!!
 

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Well, regarding the factory - you can see a sticker on new IS300s showing that it is made at Kanto Jidosha (Auto Works), and their web site shows that they make the Altezza there:
http://www.kanto-aw.co.jp/eng/w-new/index.htm

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http://www.kanto-aw.co.jp/eng/inside/profile/profile.htm

"Kanto Auto Works, Ltd. One of the leading manufacturers of Auto-Bodies in Japan, made its debut in the former
Naval Base of Yokosuka in 1946, entrusted with mission of reconstructing it into a peace industry city and
rehabilitating its transportation under the name of Kanto Electric Motor Works, Ltd.

The company changed its name to the present Kanto Auto Works, Ltd., in May 1950. Since then, the company has
continued to expand as a powerful cooperator plant for Toyota Motor Corporation, and is ready to serve for
auto-bodies throughout the world."

They have been building Toyota's for a long-long-long time, but are still a subcontractor.
 

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Originally posted by jiggafett:
I asked them if a sub contractor is building the car and the guy said "that is totally not true, the entire line is built by Toyota/Lexus."
Once again, I ask, what is the difference whether a "Toyota" plant builds the IS or a "sub-contractor" plant? Keep in mind that with the traditional Japanese business model and the "keiretsu", most of these companies form groups that basically make them the same family.

Will you not drink Coca-Cola because it's not bottled by the actual Coca-Cola plant in Atlanta (you actually get your drinks from a local bottler that has a license to manufacture colas according to the formula)?

Even if Kanto Auto Works builds the Altezza, it likely has been building TOyota products exclusively for decades. Therefore, it essentially _is_ a Toyota plant. The standards are the same.

Are you concerned about the 4Runner or Land Cruiser because Toyota doesn't actually design it? It's actually a company called Hino Motors, but they work hand-in-hand with Toyota engineers to design/build Toyota's trucks.
 

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To toyotatech,
I agree with you, I was just asking to see what they would answer with, and after checking out the link TEG posted (thank you) I was pleased to read it for myself. I don't feel there is any problem with that particular company as long as the cars they make are made correctly. I just want to get the most accurate info. I can instead of wondering if it's true or not. I'm wondering if the customer service people know the real deal.

I also found your info. on the 4runner and Landcruiser interesting, thanks!!

I forgot to mention before that when I asked if a Nav. system would be avail. in '02 I asked him if there would be a way to hook it up to the '01 model. He replied "You would have to take apart the whole car and rewire everything." I might not be an expert on Nav. systems but that sounds like bullsh*# I questioned him on that and he confirmed his answer with me. Try and understand how confused I was after the call. So I trust what I read in these forums more now based on the answers I got from them.

If anyone who works for Lexus is reading this would you care to comment?
 

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I forgot that back in Nov. I was at the Miami Beach Auto Show and was asking the P.R. guy a ton of questions he could not answer, he highly doubted we would even have 17 inch rims, also I asked him what the car would be called and he could not even try to answer, it was because of this wonderful site that I knew anything.
 

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As far as retrofitting the Nav system, I would say that the difficulty would be pretty high. For wiring, especially the bundle behind the instrument panel, there are probably two versions--a base model wire bundle and a "luxury" wire bundle (since the Altezza comes in at least two "grades" of luxury).

For nav-equipped cars, the wire bundle/connectors/routing will be different from the "base" model. Also, you have to re-wire all the way to the trunk, where the DVD-based nav unit actually is. Then you must retrofit the GPS antenna (not sure where that is, probably near the roof or C-pillar).

Then, you'd have to switch out the plastic panels on your dashboard--the little tray atop the dash must be replaced with one with a cutout for the flipscreen.

All in all, I'd say it isn't worth it to retrofit the lexus nav to your current IS. If you really wanted the lexus nav, then you should have waited. But, I think plenty of aftermarket stuff is out there for nav, right? Pioneer, Alpine, etc.
 

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I appreciate you taking the time to explain what kind of difficulty I would be facing if I were to attempt that. I will most likely be getting the car around Nov. I am looking into the DVD alpine Nav. system, I hope it will be able to fit with a custom job under the open space under the radio. Thanks Again!!
 

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The NAV system in the Altezza is located in the trunk next to the spare wheel. There are many owners in Japan that buy the non-NAV Altezza and install an aftermarket NAV system, so it should be able to do it on an IS300 too. I'm not sure if its easy to do it in DIY form though.
 

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>> Once again, I ask, what is the difference whether a "Toyota" plant builds the IS or a "sub-contractor" plant? Keep in mind that with the traditional Japanese business model and the "keiretsu", most of these companies form groups that basically make them the same family.


OK - here are some reasons why I would prefer not to have a subcontractor do the work:

1> It adds an extra layer of bureaucracy to the process. If Toyota decides that something needs to change with the car, then they have to explain it to the Kanto people and get them to understand and implement the change.
2> There is an extra layer of mgmt staff that needs to get paid out of (additional) markup on the vehicle.
3> To help compensate for #2, they need to find additional ways to cut costs. You get "two layers of bean counters" working to save costs on the cars.
4> It gives Toyota a scapegoat if there are quality issues. Sure they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot, but if something is wrong with the car they can say "it was Kanto's fault, not ours" and shrug off some of the blame.
5> Kanto is not close to the big Toyota manufacturing centers ("Toyota City") so the Toyota quality control people have to make a longer trip to "check up on the factory". If there is a quality question it seems (to me) that they might send less people over to check on the production line give the time/distance between the HQ & the factory.

Now I am sure that Toyota wants to see Kanto build vehicles up to "the full Lexus standards", but I started having some doubts when I saw postings from long-time Lexus owners saying that they were seeing body gaps and paint issues not seen before on "other" Lexus models.
 

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Here is an interesting site that goes into some of the details of various auto manufacturing alliances:
http://www.nttls.co.jp/fpc/e/gyouji/br/1999/990615.html

Here is an article about Boxster's built in Finland: http://www.detnews.com/AUTOS/9801/28/lead/lead.htm

One big reason why auto makers "farm out" production to a subcontractor is that they have run out of capacity at their primary plants. They may not have the time to build a new factory, or trust that the demand for the vehicle in question will be long term. In the case of Porsche's built in Finland, alot of Porsche customers would rather have a "German built Porsche", and I am sure that Porsche would love to oblige, but they got stuck in a "situation" when Boxster demand far outran their ability to produce.

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Why do the manufacturers insist on producing their "flagship" models (e.g. Porsche 911 or Lexus LS430) "in house" while subcontracting their "entry level" models (e.g. Porsche Boxster or Lexus IS300)?

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Just curious:
How would people feel if the IS300 were a Toyota/GM "joint venture" built in the USA?
 

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Teg,

In response to "Why do the manufacturers insist on producing their "flagship" models (e.g. Porsche 911
or Lexus LS430) "in house" while subcontracting their "entry level" models (e.g. Porsche
Boxster or Lexus IS300)?", I would say the flagship is more complex and have more details which requires the best of the best workers to assemble it. Besides, I was told that the number of acceptable defects for, say LS400 or LS430 is much lower than say a GS, ES or IS.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Wow, I am amazed by what I have read and must say TEG you have pointed out very good reasons. I would have to say those problems are a possibility, but we don't really know a whole lot of the quality that comes from this plant, I wonder if any other Lexus or Toyota models are built there maybe those models could attest to their quality.

Also thanks Altezza, when I do purchase the car in Nov. I'll get a service manual also so I can figure if it really is possible, I need the manual for some other alterations I want to do to the car electricaly.
 

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You can see what cars Kanto Auto works group is currently making by going here:
http://www.kanto-aw.co.jp/eng/prdct/major.htm

As you can see the Iwate plant makes the Altezza/IS as well as the Toyota Corolla Spacio (which I guess is for Japan only).

One of their other plants make the Toyota Celica, but everything else seems to be Japan only.

Kanto also makes sailboats, furniture and other non-car "stuff".
 
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