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TOYOTA EXECUTIVE DECRIES PROTECTIONISM, CALLS FOR COMPETITION

 CINCINNATI, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Protectionism is a form of censorship which will hurt American consumers unless companies accept the challenges of competition, a top Toyota executive said here today.
 Speaking before the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Association, J. Davis Illingworth, group vice president of sales and marketing for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. Inc., said that the Big Three is in the process of becoming a U.S. cartel whose sole mission is to restrict Japanese market share and increase prices of Japanese cars, so they can raise their own prices.
 For the third consecutive year, Toyota sold more than 1 million cars and trucks in the United States in 1992, despite tough competition and a slower-than-expected economic recovery, he said.
 "This strong performance in the face of cries for protectionism from Detroit is clear evidence that quality continues to sell cars," Illingworth said.
 "Products, such as the Cadillac Seville and the Lincoln Mark VIII, are the direct result of competition. If there had been no Lexus, there would be no Seville or Mark VIII. There's how the consumer benefits from global competition. So let's all compete in the marketplace instead of doing battle in Washington."
 He said competition has made today's vehicles better in every way. "They're better looking, better performing, cleaner burning and more fuel efficient. And they're a better value."
 As an example of the "disservice" to consumers brought about by protectionism, Illingworth cited France and Italy, which limit Japanese market share to under 4 percent. For example, he said, a Honda Civic that sells for $12,200 in the United States costs more than $16,000 in France and more than $18,000 in Italy, before taxes.
 Illingworth, a former general manager of Toyota's Cincinnati sales region before joining the company's luxury car division at its inception in 1987, headed Lexus from 1990 until being named to his present position this January.
 Calls for protectionism come at a time when the consumer definition of quality is undergoing a dramatic change, Illingworth said. "Customers are demanding -- and rightfully so -- a total quality ownership experience."
 Illingworth cited a recent study indicating that 70 percent of the reasons customers stopped doing business with a company had nothing to do with the quality of the product itself, but strictly with poor personal service.
 "Customers are the most important asset a business has," Illingworth said, "and their satisfaction must be the cornerstone of any business plan and the chief ingredient of any corporate culture."
 Customer satisfaction programs have been incorporated into the overall business plans of not only Toyota, but such companies as Saturn and Chrysler, he said. "Just as competition produced better products for consumers, competition is now providing a better ownership experience. Protectionism would provide none of these benefits."
 Illingworth also highlighted Toyota's reputation as a good corporate citizen that makes significant contributions to the American economy.
 Since TMS, headquartered in Torrance, was incorporated as an American company 35 years ago, it has invested more than $5 billion in North America, he said. Today, Toyota directly employs nearly 16,000 Americans, has a fiscal revenue of $18.4 billion and is among the top two or three California companies and the top 25 U.S. companies. Toyota's sales force exceeds 68,000 in more than 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the country.
 Six years ago, nearly every Toyota car and truck sold in the United States was imported from Japan, he said, while last year, one- third of those sold here were North American-built. This year, that figure will climb to 40 percent, with more than 45,000 U.S.-built cars exported to Japan, Taiwan, Europe and the Mideast. By the mid- 90s, he said, half the vehicles Toyota sells in the United States will be built in North America and Toyota exports will nearly double. Toyota now builds Camry, Corolla and compact pickup trucks in the United States.
 Toyota has invested $300 million in U.S. research and development facilities, Illingworth said, and expanded its Calty Design Research Center in Newport Beach, Calif., built a new technical center in Torrance and another in Michigan, and constructed one of the world's biggest proving grounds on 12,000 acres near Phoenix.
 The supplier involvement accelerated by these investments has helped to more than double Toyota's purchases of U.S.-made parts and materials from $1.1 billion in 1988 to $4 billion last year. By 1994, its purchases should increase to more than $5 billion, Illingworth said.
 The midsize Toyota Camry, available in sedan and wagon versions, had its best year in history in 1992, selling more than 280,000, with nearly 200,000 of them built by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Inc., in Georgetown, Ky. Toyota exported more than 3,000 right-hand-drive models to Japan, as part of nearly 44,000 total exports.
 Toyota sold nearly 200,000 Corollas in 1992 and 180,000 pickup trucks.
 Its Lexus flagship had its best year ever, up 30 percent to nearly 93,000 vehicles.
 -0- 2/5/93
 /CONTACT: Joe Tetherow, 310-618-4727, or Jim Fewel, 310-618-4649, both of Toyota Motor Sales/


CO: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. ST: California IN: AUT SU:

JL-EH -- LA015 -- 3542 02/05/93 13:01 EST
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Date:Feb 5, 1993
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