The recent press drive for
When I asked a reporter from a farming trade publication if she’d ever been to a short-lead event (as those in the industry call preview drives) before, the answer I got was something like “Yes, for tractors.”
The diversity of reporter beats says a lot about
“People in construction, farming, mining, will help give us credibility,” said Michael O’Brien, product planning manager, who added that, among other things, the commercial sales fleet has been charged with finding high-visibility operations, such as road construction and maintenance companies to sign up for fleet purchases of the truck.
Ernest Bastien, VP vehicle operations group, said Toyota is treating the launch of its Tundra full-size pickup as if it were launching an entirely new division, including reorganizing its marketing and product development teams: “We have co-located planning, advertising, PR, event planning, distribution, accounting, and the company’s University of Toyota.”
Aside from a presence at NASCAR races timed with
That includes a dealership upgrade program called Image USA II, which gives dealers access to loans to make showrooms and service bays truck accessible.
As with Scion, Toyota is doing a dealer sales-force training program above and beyond the usual vehicle pre-launch sales training road show: The company is running a four-day product and marketing immersion for so-called “Truck Champions” — meaning sales people within individual dealerships chosen to oversee sales and local grass roots marketing for Tundra.
“The only dealer training immersion we have done that even comes close to that was for the Prius launch,” said Bastien, who added that
Dealers will also get a raft of in-store displays, such as a toolbox concept in which drawers are filled with Tundra anatomical arcana like transaxle ring gears, and disc brake components.
O’Brien said the company also tapped former GM marketer Kurt Ritter, now a consultant for
“What we heard, basically, was ‘I love my truck, why would I want to buy yours?” said O’Brien. “We came back with ‘what would it take to make you buy ours?’”
O’Brien, conceding that the domestics have maintained dominance, in part, by offering so many variations in size, capability, engine size, accessories, and interior options. He said
“It’s about half the number of GM and Ford’s full-sized pickups,” said O’Brien, who argued that, while fewer options means not all buyers will get precisely the combinations what they want, it’s far more likely they’ll get the truck they choose when they want it.
“When a customer goes in to a dealership, they want to be able to buy, right then, the vehicle they have in mind. They don’t want to wait months.”
He said many of the people he and the
“We showed up there, and announced we’d buy free lunch for all the foremen who’d come sit down with us and talk about their trucks,” said O’Brien. “When we showed up with Subway sandwiches, chips, and drinks, there was a line of pickups.”
He said 20 truck owners packed a foreman’s doublewide.
“There was one poor guy there with a
Toyota Tops Power Loyalty Rating by Jim Burt (12/11/2006)
Has most return customers, survey says.
Preview: 2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax by Marty Padgett (12/5/2006)
The big Tundra rolls on for a
2007 Detroit Auto Show Preview by TCC Team (12/4/2006)
Lights, cameras, Cobo – action.
2007 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ by Marty Padgett (11/27/2006)
A greatly improved truck for seemingly every use.