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Toyota's Updated App Simplifies Shopping

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Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

Screencap of Toyota's Shopping Tool App

As we learned last week, car shopping isn't always fun -- but thanks to a slew of web-enabled devices, it's easier than it once was. If you own a smartphone or a tablet computer, you can cruise the lots and school yourself all at the same time. Now, Toyota's updated Shopping Tool App aims to make things even simpler.

The Shopping Tool App launched over the summer, giving consumers the ability to research Toyota models and trim levels on the go. We've given it a walkthrough, and it appears to have a fairly full list of Toyota products. (For the app-averse, you can get a taste of what it looks like on Toyota's mobile site: m.toyota.com.)

But now, as Bugs Bunny used to say, something new has been added. In Toyota's latest update to the Shopping Tool App, the automaker threw in a feature called mLot, which allows users to scan the VIN of a particular vehicle by taking a photo of it or by entering it manually. Once the VIN is uploaded, you can learn more about the vehicle, compare it to other Toyotas, and share it with friends on Facebook. If you still need more info, you can request a quote and/or have a dealer contact you.

Toyota's Shopping Tool app is currently available for Android devices and iPhones, and the company says that a BlackBerry version is en route. The reviewers on iTunes rate it just two out of five stars -- though to be fair, only eight people have chimed in since June, and most seem to be complaining about technical glitches in the pre-update version.

We found the app fairly slow to download, but we've given it the benefit of the doubt, since we love any gizmo that makes shoppers more informed. Still, we wish Toyota has spent a few more minutes at the drawing board before settling on "Shopping Tool App". That one forgettable mid-size sedan of a name.

* * * * *

TOYOTA ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF mLot™ ON MOBILE SHOPPING TOOL APP
mLot™ Feature to Enhance Consumer Shopping Experience

Torrance, Calif., October 13, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc. today announced the launch of its revolutionary mLot™ feature for its mobile Shopping Tool App. An industry first, mLot™ enables users to scan Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) for new Toyota vehicles and pull vehicle information directly onto their mobile device, making it easier to request a quote and keep specific vehicle details on your phone.

“We saw a need within the market and sought to address it through the creation of mLot™,” said Michael K. Nelson, Interactive Communications Marketing Manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “By listening to our customers and understanding their shopping behavior, we were able to create a tool that facilitates an easier, more efficient shopping process.”

After downloading the Toyota Shopping Tool App for iPhone and Android mobile devices, with a version for BlackBerry devices launching shortly hereafter, users are able to use the all-new mLot™ tool to get instant vehicle information by either taking a picture of or typing in the VIN for a specific vehicle. The feature gives users the option to save the vehicle as a favorite, share favorites with friends via Facebook or e-mail, review key features, append photos and notes, request a quote and compare their favorites to see how they measure up against each other. Most importantly, mLot™ offers consumers the ability to shop for a Toyota vehicle anywhere at anytime.

The app, along with the new mLot™ feature, is meant to be an extension of the sales associate. The feature provides one data source and allows for a common language between dealers and consumers. The app also has the ability to go beyond the dealership and can be utilized by product specialists at auto shows.

By design, Toyota's mobile properties exist to provide a seamless shopping experience for the consumer on their mobile devices. Toyota has a two-pronged mobile approach—mobile browser and Shopping Tool App (m.toyota.com)—specifically designed to allow consumers to research vehicles, find dealers and request quotes. To date, Toyota is the only automotive manufacturer with content available on three mobile platforms. This broad offering, coupled with Toyota’s comprehensive mobile strategy, allows consumers more choice in their experience.

The Shopping Tool App, powered by Toyota.com, was released to the iTunes store June 2, 2010. It offers consumers the power and performance of Toyota.com on their mobile devices and gives users access to the full Toyota model lineup of 16 cars, trucks hybrids, SUVs and minivan in all colors and at all trim levels. Additionally, users can access competitor comparison data from R.L. Polk & Co. (the premier provider of global automotive information and marketing solutions).

For more information on Toyota Shopping Tool App, mLot™ or any of the mobile platforms listed above, please visit www.toyota.com/mobile.  

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