TOKYO — Toyota will continue its low-profile approach to Olympic sponsorship during this month's Winter Games in Beijing, despite splurging to be the exclusive mobility provider to the international sporting events.
All told, the world's biggest automaker will provide some 2,200 vehicles for the Beijing Olympiad, to shuttle around athletes, coaching staff, officials and VIPs, a company spokeswoman said.
But Toyota's fleet consists mainly of hum-drum nameplates such as the Avalon and Camry sedans and Sienna minivan — though it also boasts plenty of hybrid and fuel cell models, such as the Mirai.
Missing will be the flights of futuristic vehicular fantasy that Toyota deployed at last summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo. Those included such hardware as the e-Palette automated people mover, the all-electric LQ pod car or the clutch of robots Toyota had working the stadiums.
Also missing is Toyota's pint-sized "field support robot" that won notoriety on TV broadcasts as the robotic retriever of objects in such Olympic events as the javelin, discus and hammer.
Toyota Motor Corp. will also forgo any global advertising tie-ins.
Toyota will be doing local marketing activities in China linked to the Winter Olympics, which run through Feb. 20. But overseas campaigns will be handled case-by-case, spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said. "It is up to each region to decide if they want to run a local campaign," she said.
Toyota's toned-down Olympics follow a subdued Tokyo Games, where the automaker canceled marketing and media events because of the pall cast by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond the still-raging pandemic, the Beijing Games brings extra headaches for a sponsor. That is because of new international scrutiny of China in the wake of protests and boycotts concerning its human rights record, particularly its treatment of the Uyghur minority in its western Xinjiang region.
The U.S. government is conducting a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, and the U.S. State Department has labeled China's treatment of the predominantly Muslim group as genocide.