Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is boosting the number of technicians who are qualified to service its hybrid vehicles.
At the end of 2004, the automaker had 3,480 technicians trained to work on Toyota hybrids. Bill Bergen, the University of Toyota's national dealer education manager for operations and technical training, says he expects that number to rise to 5,000 by year end.
That total includes 1,000 technicians certified this year to service Lexus hybrids, Bergen says. The University of Toyota, in Torrance, Calif., is a company training program for dealership and corporate employees.
If the company reaches its goal, one-third of the 15,000 Lexus and Toyota service technicians in the United States would be qualified to repair hybrids. All of Toyota Division's roughly 1,200 U.S. dealerships employ at least one hybrid technician, Bergen says.
"We're gaining more and more every day," he adds.
Recruiting technicians to sign up for hybrid training is no problem, Bergen says. "It's exciting for them to learn about these systems," he says. "There's a pride factor."