Toyota Motors North America President Honored

By: Anthony Fontanelle

This weekend, the Automotive Hall of Fame presented the prestigious Industry Leader Award to Toyota Motors North America President James E. Press for the year 2006. The award was given to Press for having demonstrated and shown outstanding leadership in the industry. After all, the company which he leads has enjoyed much success in the past year. The presentation of the award is in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention held in Las Vegas.

Other citations given during the event include the institute's oldest award which dates back to 1940. This is the Distinguished Service Citation and it was given to six industry leaders. The recipients of the distinguished service citation are: Dr. Amar G. Bose, Chairman and CEO, Bose Corp.; Jeffrey A. Cook, Technical Leader for the Ford Motor Company; Allan D. Gilmour, Vice Chairman, CFO (retired), Ford Motor Company; Timothy D. Leuiette, Chairman, President and CEO, Metaldyne Corp.; Elizabeth Lowery, Vice President, Environment and Energy, General Motors Corp.; and Phil Smart Sr., Chairman, Phil Smart Mercedes-Benz. The citations given to these six industry leaders are described to be given to those individuals "who have provided distinguished service to the automotive industry and to the recipients' respective organizations" as per Jeffrey Leestma, the President of the Automotive Hall of Fame said.

The award given to Press comes on the heel of the recently posted sales figures of Toyota for January this year which shows their continued success that the company has carried over from last year. In North America, Toyota has sold 178,850 vehicles which becomes their best ever performance for the said month. The figure shows a 5.1 percent increase over their performance last year. Both the Toyota and the Lexus divisions have broken their sales record for the month of January. The Toyota division posted a 4.7 percent increase over January 2006 sales while Lexus has bested their January 2006 sales by 8 percent. Scion, the youth oriented marque of Toyota, also posted strong numbers with 9,004 units sold.

The continuing success of Toyota is attributed to the work ethics of their workers and the high performance cars in their lineup. Their HEV or hybrid electric vehicle which is the Toyota Prius is fast becoming a major source of income for the Japanese company. And with continuous development of new vehicles which will boast higher performance akin to those brake parts from , the company is on its way to take the top spot from General Motors. That is if the current trend continues and both Ford and General Motors continue their slide downwards.

The January sales figures for General Motors shows a 19.7 percent decrease in the number of vehicles they have sold. Buick, Hummer, and Pontiac have the largest decline in terms of sales of all General Motors' marques. In fact, the only marque to have posted an improvement is Saab which improved their sales by 3.3 percent over last year's numbers.

Another American car manufacturer which shares the same fate is the Ford Motor Company which posted a 19 percent drop in their sales. The 65 percent drop in their sales to rental companies is the main reason for the overall decline in their January 2007 sales. Just like its fellow American carmaker General Motors, the Dearborn-based car manufacture has only one marque which posted positive numbers. Lincoln sales were up by 2.7 percent over their output last year during the same period.

The continued success of Toyota and their expected rise in the ranks of giant car makers surely makes Press deserving of the award. Moreover, the distinguished service awardees are also very much deserving for their contribution to the automotive industry.

Car Focus
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