Toyota preps for a 2013 product onslaught
Brand will launch new tag line, too
NAPA, Calif. -- Next month's launch of the Toyota Avalon marks the beginning of an important nine-month product push for Toyota that involves several high-volume models.
Toyota will redesign or significantly update five key nameplates in 2013, Jack Hollis, Toyota Division's vice president, said in an interview at the Avalon press introduction here.
The Avalon and Avalon Hybrid full-sized sedans coming in December will be followed by redesigns of the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander crossovers, Tundra full-sized pickup and Corolla compact sedan. A midcycle update for the 4Runner also is planned, Hollis said.
The redesigned RAV4 is expected in the first quarter of 2013; the Highlander and Tundra are coming the second quarter, and the Corolla is scheduled to arrive in the third quarter.
The fate of the hatchback version of the Corolla, the Matrix, is unclear. Toyota executives have expressed disappointment in the Matrix's sales performance, which traditionally has accounted for 10 percent of the Corolla mix but currently is just 2 percent, a Toyota source said.
The new products will arrive as the Toyota brand has regained sales momentum this year.
U.S. volume is up 30 percent through October. The six aging vehicles about to be replaced are on track for about 760,000 sales in 2012. In 2007 -- in a much bigger market -- the same six accounted for 1.03 million.
In addition, Toyota's Scion brand has its xB and xD hatchbacks scheduled for renewals, either as a redesign or an entirely new product category.
Toyota is not alone in projecting a big 2013 for its products. General Motors' Chevrolet brand is scheduled to launch 13 new or redesigned nameplates by the end of 2013. Chevrolet marketing chief Chris Perry said those products account for 70 percent of Chevrolet retail volumes.
While launching the new products, Toyota also will introduce its new brand marketing campaign, under the tag line, "Let's Go Places."
Hollis said "Let's Go Places" will have its own advertising launch, "the size of a typical product launch." He did not give a dollar figure, but a midvolume product introduction typically generates $60 million to $80 million in media spending.
"We're not using the tag line to change the brand," he said. "It's more a rallying cry from the last three years, turning the page, saying, 'Let's do it together.'"
The outgoing tag line is "Moving Forward."
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