Jim Press, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., is known as a magnetic speaker. Sometimes he's outlandish, other times he gets a laugh from turning the common sense remark on its ear. So after raising the house lights to yank the audience out of its postlunch stupor at the J.D. Power and Associates International Automotive Roundtable 'on Friday, he held forth on a number of topics. A summary:
On Toyota passing Ford in global sales:
"We don't have enough money to hire people to watch what other people's sales are. We just watch our own sales. It's like the Tour de France, with all these stages. Maybe sometimes someone gets a yellow shirt."
On Toyota's U.S. sales in 2004:
"J.D. Power says our share is going down next year. That would be great, because our projections show Toyota is going to grow 6 or 7 percent, so that means the overall market will grow 9 or 10 percent."
On the youth market:
"Every time I get depressed about my job, I go to the hospital and look in the nursery. Everybody is happy there, with all the babies. I'm happy because I see 20 purchase cycles in every teeny little basket."
On Toyota CSI rankings being so much worse than those of Lexus:
"We don't (have some guys) go to dumb school and get sent to Toyota and (others) go to smart school and get sent to Lexus."
On the Scion tC coupe:
"We took it from computer to sheet metal in 14 months, without a single prototype. Now we're using that one to figure out why it took so long before."
On dealer finance reserves:
"There are detractors creating an air of distrust. We need to clean up our ranks and make sure no one has ammunition. This isn't just one dealer in Tennessee, it's everyone in this room." c
On the proposal for a 36-mpg corporate average fuel economy rating:
"A three-cylinder F-150 isn't going to have much appeal."
"Incentives used to be that if you were halfway into the month and you were short on your quota, you came up with spiffs to move the slow-selling units. Today it's just adjustments on price. If the price is too high, you have to figure out how far down you have to discount it to sell it. But if you build a car for less and charge less, you don't have to discount it or pay people to buy it. Some of the deals out there are so good, we thought about putting our own field travelers in them because we couldn't pass it up."