Toyota rethinks European set-up

Japanese car giant Toyota is reorganising its European sales and marketing structure, bringing in European marketers for the first time to oversee marketing of its key Toyota and Lexus brands.

Japanese car giant Toyota is reorganising its European sales and

marketing structure, bringing in European marketers for the first time

to oversee marketing of its key Toyota and Lexus brands.



Two new directors have been appointed, each taking specific

responsibility for one brand.



Previously the brands were managed together.



Jean-Charles Lievens has been appointed director of the Toyota

brand.



Lievens joins from Volkswagen France, where he was vice-president.



Javier Contijoch becomes director for the Lexus brand. He also joins

from Volkswagen where he had been sales director in Spain and then

managing director in Argentina.



Previously, Japanese personnel occupied most senior jobs within the

marketing structure at Toyota Europe. Lievens’ and Contijoch’s

appointments are intended to give Toyota a more European character.



While at Volkswagen Lievens was responsible for merging the Volkswagen

Audi Group and Seat France businesses and implementing a major change of

market positioning at Skoda.



Contijoch’s role is not only to increase sales of the luxury Lexus

brand, which has a marginally lower presence in Europe than in the US,

but also to build a dedicated dealer network in Europe. Lexus plans to

launch a small saloon-style car in Europe.



Toyota has been hit by the collapse of the Asian economy and its UK

market share has fallen to 3.14% from 3.41% The company hopes to sell

over 600,000 cars in Europe in 2000, up from an estimated 470,000 this

year.



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