After university I started working in retail, as a dealer marketing manager, before I moved onto the manufacturer side with Citroen back in 1994 as a regional coordinator and then aea sales manager. I then joined Toyota in 1998 in the same role. Over my years here I have worked in sales and marketing programmes, dealer marketing, network development and fleet so I have a pretty rounded view of the industry and its challenges.
When I joined Toyota all of those years ago, the main driver for me was to work for a manufacturer that valued business ethics and stood by its promises and commitments. Through good times and bad, successes and challenges I firmly believe this is something that the company prides itself on and abides by.
I have seen a lot in my time here, but if I had to pick a few out for Toyota I would have to acknowledge the huge boost that the Yaris gave us when it was first launched as a replacement for the glamorous Starlet. Secondly I would say the Prius. It's incredible to think, given how few volume hybrid models exist today, that we are now on our fourth generation of this game-changing technology. For Lexus it would have to be the IS and the RX. Both have contributed greatly in moving a niche brand into the mainstream with high quality alternatives to the established German brands. The volume of interest in these four vehicles has enabled improved viability and profitability across the entire network, and have also set the foundations for the current broad range.
Business centre programmes are complex - in essence retail is fairly simple as one size can fit all to a large extent. Any fleet programme adds an interlinked dimension to channel planning and we have to balance off the need to be sufficiently aggressive in the market, drive volume commitment and find a way to reward and motivate the network. The most important thing, I believe, is that the programmes for both brands are both transparent and fair.
Pure hybrid gives a no hassle, no compromise mainstream alternative to accepted fleet diesel dominance and I think we are fast reaching the point where even the biggest hybrid sceptic will start to reappraise their views. Bringing ever better technology to mainstream models will help us accelerate this process. Plus, our proven vehicle quality across millions of hybrid sales worldwide allows us to offer real world comfort to any remaining doubters.
Both brands will go from strength to strength based upon the truly solid foundations that we have in place. Lexus will become increasingly known for innovation and design while Toyota will provide both the volume and financial stability to allow its sister brand to lead. We will continue to move into more segments and we will, over time, create a hydrogen market in the same way that we created hybrid from nothing, to top eight million global sales.