It was the summer of ‘99. I was working at a car dealer, enjoying a chat with the owner – a happy man renowned as one of the best dealers of its brand in France. The two of us had a small debate about the future of one particular new model. He was not so convinced about its market potential in Europe, whereas I was much more optimistic. The car looked fresh. It was going to be built in France and a major step-up for its manufacturer. We were talking about Toyota’s new model, the Yaris.
One thing seems obvious to everyone: Toyota is a Japanese company. This is, of course, true. The roots of our company and its global headquarters are located there. However, in reality Toyota is much more complex, and much more international. For several years, Toyota has invested a lot to develop local activities in all key regions around the world, including Europe, where we operate no less than nine manufacturing plants. More than half of the vehicles we sell here are also made here, with most purchasing done with European-based suppliers.
I’m back from the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) in the UK. After such an amazing weekend with such great weather, it might not seem like such a wonderful thing, but there is – I’m connected to the world again! The only downside of the weekend was the lack of a decent internet connection, either 3G or Wi-Fi, hence my lack of updates. But here’s what we had going on at the FoS!