Just days after Dave Illingworth announced that he was calling it a career at Toyota Motor Sales, he unveiled plans to open a Toyota dealership in Warsaw, Ind. Illingworth, 64, has a vacation home near Warsaw, where he will partner in the new store with longtime Ford dealers Dan and John Rice.
Illingworth, who announced this month that he would leave at year end, held several big jobs during his three decades at Toyota.
He was Lexus' general manager when the brand debuted in 1989 and stayed in the job until 1992. He then ran Toyota Division during the go-go '90s. Illingworth finished as Toyota Motor Sales' senior vice president and chief planning and administrative officer.
Getting into retail is nothing new for retired auto execs. But Toyota has been tight-fisted in handing out open points, saying it doesn't want too many dealerships.
"Dave presented a proposal as far as what he would do with an open point," said a Toyota spokesman. "It is not a dealer development point. There's no Toyota money in it."
With just 12,000 residents, Warsaw doesn't scream big market, although Kosciusko County has 75,000 people. The nearest Toyota dealerships — in South Bend and Fort Wayne — are about 35 miles away.