Don't expect Toyota to say how much it will spend to enter the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Motorsports manager Les Unger admits only that it "requires additional substantial investment in people, time and dollars on the technical side and on the marketing side. But you have to invest the dollars to make it pay off."
The NASCAR effort is a Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. program.
"We made sure Toyota Motor Corp. was in agreement, but in terms of their involvement, financially there is very little," Unger says.
"All the work is being done here in the United States. But we don't make these kinds of decisions without consulting and making sure there are no issues, and there weren't any. They asked, 'Do you want to do it? Does it make sense to do it? Can you afford to do it?' "
One perspective Unger shares is that, from a marketing standpoint, "this is another form of advertising."
"Instead of six or eight ads on the Super Bowl, you put your money into another area," he says.
Super Bowl commercials can cost more than $1 million just to produce and another $2 million every time they are aired during the game.
Toyota Racing Development's Lee White says that Toyota has had a presence in American motorsports for 25 years, but sports and even Indy car racing have been more of a niche, engineering-oriented enterprise.
"But NASCAR is a major player on the American scene," he says. "NASCAR is a significant culture shift for Toyota's marketing focus. This takes a motorsports activity and it becomes mainstream. Look at Dodge and how it's mainstreamed its NASCAR involvement."
White speculates that in those 25 years, Toyota probably has put about $10 million from its marketing funds into U.S. racing activities.
And, he says, "Now it will grow by a factor of four, five or six over that."