Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Toyota to Speed Up Custom Ordering

August 22, 2003

Following computer giant Dell's example, Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. are moving toward a moreefficient business model in which customers order their vehicles with the color and options they want and receive them within weeks, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.Atsushi Niimi, president and chief executive officer of Toyota's manufacturing arm in North America, said the company is rolling out a system in dealerships that will let people custom-order any of the nine vehicles it builds in North America and receive it in two to three weeks. "That's our target," Niimi told executives at the Management Briefing Seminarsin Traverse City. "We are now in the trial stage."Charlie Johnson, general sales manager at Toyota South in Richmond, said he would welcomeit. "We need that," Johnson said. "We're trying to make this where the customer can come in, tell us what they want and get it in as little as two weeks."Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide, an automotive forecasting firm in Farmington Hills, Mich., said Toyota is at the forefront of building cars to order, but other automakers won't be far behind in this competitive market.If American consumers could be persuaded to order their vehicles, rather than choose existing cars and trucks off lots, they could end up happier with the final product, according to the Herald Leader. Moreimportant for dealers and automakers, though, inventories could be slashed, the Herald Leader said.
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