Here are my big four takeaways from the Annual Toyota Dealer Meeting (2015):
These are outside of the the usual product intro’s which would have been highlighted by the new Rav4 Hybrid, the new Tacoma (hot), a commitment to building more truck, Prius re-design (nice) and we saw the Scion CH-R concept which could make some noise if ever produced.
|The Annual Toyota Dealer Meeting was held in Las Vegas this past September
#1) With hydrogen vehicles launching this year (only in areas with available hydrogen infrastructure) Toyota feels they have covered the gamut between Hydrogen, Electric, Hybrid and Gas products. Also an all new Prius and Prius electric is coming our way.
Learn More about Toyota Mirai & Hydrogen: https://ssl.toyota.com/mirai/?
#2) Toyota Express Purchase: We received a live demo of Toyota’s new buying process. Imagine an internet department inside of an internet department and a customer who arrives at the dealership only to “continue” their transaction. The process is seamless and includes F&I products sold by the same sales member who confirms the previously negotiated purchase or lease. While the technology was good and seamless we’d require the same level of integration from World Omni that TFS was supplying not to mention other obstacles that could break the process (someone who wants to negotiate, a vehicle trade-in, someone with changing credit, changes their mind last minute on vehicle). Promising but not even ready for Beta testing. All in all this is going to be a win for consumers and can be adopted in part at some level of our dealership(s) today.
#3) We are our own worst enemies: We are giving our data to 3rd Party Providers so that they can profit from us…whether it’s TrueCar or Carvana essentially by participating we are allowing other folks the credit for delivering the customer a unique experience (not to mention with potential for a disconnect between consumer and manufacturer). Still buying 3rd party leads? Than you are part of the problem says Toyota.
Biggest Problem: What’s already on their way in the way of data aggregators getting into the pre-owned market. Would you buy a used jacket online?
#4) Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) is coming to all Toyota models soon (for many models by 2017) and includes the highest tech related to safety. Huge win for consumers and the Toyota brand.
WHAT IS TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE?
The Toyota Safety Sense C package features three proprietary active safety technologies, and combines a camera and laser radar for enhanced performance and reliability. The package can help prevent or mitigate collisions in a wide range of vehicle speeds.
Pre-collision System (PCS)
PCS uses a camera and laser radar to detect objects ahead of the vehicle. When the system determines there is a possibility of collision it prompts the driver to brake with an audio and visual alert. If the driver notices the hazard and brakes, the system provides additional braking force. If the driver fails to brake in a set time, the system automatically applies the brakes, reducing speed by approximately 19 mph *1 in order to prevent or mitigate the collision. The operational range of PCS covers speeds at which at least 80 percent of rear-end collisions occur (i.e. relative speeds of between approximately 7 – 50 mph).
Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
LDA uses a camera to detect visible white and yellow lane markings. If the system determines that the vehicle is starting to deviate from the lane, LDA alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert.
Automatic High Beam (AHB)
AHB helps enhance forward visibility during nighttime driving. It uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, and then automatically switches between high beams and low beams so as not to dazzle other drivers.
Toyota Safety Sense P combines a camera and millimeter-wave radar for enhanced performance and reliability. In addition to the three active safety technologies included in the Toyota Safety Sense C package, the Pre-collision System offered with this package also includes a pedestrian detection function. In addition, Toyota Safety Sense P offers Radar Cruise Control functionality. (see below)
Pedestrian Pre-collision System
This system uses millimeter-wave radar and a camera to help detect pedestrians in certain conditions in addition to vehicles. To help prevent or mitigate collisions, the system activates an audio and visual alert in addition to brake assist, followed by automated braking if the driver does not brake in a set time. Automated braking operates at relative speeds of between 7- 50 mph for potential collisions with pedestrians, and can reduce speed by approximately 19 mph*1. For potential collisions with vehicles, the enhanced PCS system included with the Toyota Safety Sense P package operates at relative speeds of between 7 mph and the vehicle's top speed, reducing speed by approximately 25 mph*2.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
On highways, Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to detect preceding vehicles and determine their speed. It then is designed to adjust vehicle speed (within a set range) to help maintain a pre-set distance between vehicles. By using a forward-facing camera and millimeter-wave radar to monitor vehicles merging into or out of the lane, Radar Cruise Control helps maintain smooth acceleration and deceleration while driving.