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SYNOPSIS The Toyota Motor Europe entered the new millennium with an upbeat and realistic mood in the

company. In previous years Toyota achieved record high sales in 10 E uropean countries to the extent of topping Nissans sales in Europe for the first time ever. Further growth was expected as import restrictions were to be lifted. Toyota was heading towards growth and a new President also was going to provide new thrust to the company. As he was planning to set up new factories in France to give Toyota Europe head start in the growth strategy. Among the few challeng es that the companys brand faced were the Corporate Identity and Brand Management to address Brand Image as it was considered to be poorly positioned in relativi ty to its overall potential. The reality was that Japan was in recession and domestic vehicle industry was in doldrums with increased replacement cycles and weak economic conditions. Due to these the market share had also declined along with lowest ever capacity utiliz ation of plants causing loss of equity. To face these new realities which were never thought of Toyota Motors came up wi th a new International Business Plan which included excessive spending on develo ping economies of scale and in the field of Research and development and Marketi ng of the Brand. The President of the company was trying hard to make Toyota a s uccess once again by capturing the European Market. The restrictions in the European market were very tight as the Governments their protected the local manufacturers. So it was very necessary for the Japanese au tomakers to position themselves beyond the lower income segment. This was also d ifficult to handle because of the Korean Brands were directly competing with the m in this category. Other than the Koreans some of the European Brands were also becoming strong competitors in this segment. So to handle this Toyota in the ea rlier years started exporting their products to create Brand Awareness and devel op loyalty in the European market. Toyota also started acquiring stakes in the w holesale and distribution channel in Europe. Toyota started off well by encourag ing earning profits for its Retail channel rather meeting Sales targets. To furt her this Toyota also came up with a Europe wide warranty programs to develop aff inity. The challenges that Toyota faced to capture its target segment were the Cost of Ownership, Customer Delight and Network Development & Brand Management. As far a s Brand repositioning was concerned they applied the same method of identifying it as a Japanese brand with local European branding to capture the Global Market . Solution # 1 The European Market was heavily protected. Governments favored their domestic ma nufacturers, import restrictions had been launched in selected markets as early as 1975. Strict regulations made it impossible for the dealers to add a Japanese brand as a second brand in their showrooms, limited import was allowed. Apart o f these restrictions was the 10 % duty imposed on all imported vehicles by the E uropean Union and to further this was the currency exchange rate. Other factors for Toyotas low market share were the characteristics of the Toyotas tangible brand identity that included the low pride, weak design appeal, strong value for money and equipment option and most of all weak safety and environmen t factors. Toyotas intangible brand personality was seen as a cold, secretive Jap anese brand considered cautiously introverted with low customer focus. Japanese brand were opted by more of the older generation that had a conservative lifesty le and mindset. The major factor also included the lagged awareness, considerati on and preference to buy. There was less appeal across many of the value segment s. Solution # 2 The Managers of Toyota considered the following three options to reposition thei

r Brand 1. Japanese Brand This approach would involve positioning the Japanese side of Toyota more interes tingly. However market research revealed that in general Europeans were not much aware of the Japanese culture to an extent of being unaware of JAPAN. 2. European Brand This approach would be similar to what Toyotas approach in Canada and the US. In Canada Toyota showed a maple leaf which corresponds to the National emblem to sh ow association with the Canadian culture and for US market Toyota highlighted th e companys image by stressing on the different note worthy contributions to the U S Society. 3. Global/International Brand In this option the Brand team focused on positioning Toyota as the Global player . Solution # 3 According to me Toyota has to work on the following ways to make it the most des irable brand in the European market. 1. Persistently innovate their Brand Desirable brands are constantly engaging us in an evolving story. They innovate, not just in the area of product, but across everything they do: service, people and process. They provide an ongoing supply of new things we can watch, read ab out, talk about, experience, buy and enjoy. In this way, their role in our lives is ongoing. The common theme across all these desirable brands is that they inn ovate to make our lives better. 2. Inspire connections Desirable brands inspire people to think, feel and act differently. The most des irable brands can make us love them, respect them, talk about them and use them. Each one of these can provide an area of brand-building focus to strengthen ove rall desirability. 3. Have clarity of purpose Desirable brands have a clear ambition that goes beyond delivering commercial ta rgets. They have a clearly expressed purpose that inspires internally and extern ally, a bigger thought at their heart that people truly buy into, and that shape s and guides all brand-building activity and they have a distinct and compelling personality that builds and supports that purpose. The whole story is brought t o life in what the brand does as much as what it says. 4. Focus on the future While it s important that brands transcend their category, this should be done w ith direction. Desirable brands understand where the opportunity is in the near future, but also anticipate where the long-term opportunities for growth exist. This isn t just about commercial or technological opportunities, but the opportu nity to create a future that people truly want. Brands that invest in shaping an d improving the world around us reap the reward. This means having vision, but a lso giving the organization the space, resource and license to make it happen. 5. Think bigger than your category Desirable brands do not adhere to the rules of their category . They actively l ook for a bigger role; a role in the lives of people, not just a role for a cate gory consumer. This enables them to challenge the status quo, to pioneer new ide as, develop a range of propositions that transcends their origin. Solution # 4 The success of Toyotas approach can be seen in the many awards its prod ucts have received. Toyotas pioneering hybrid model, the Prius, has for three y ears running received the International Engine of the Year award. In 2004

and 2005, it was named the most eco-friendly car in Europe by the G erman automobile club, ADAC, after previously racking up back-to-back Be st Eco-Friendly Engine wins in 1999 and 2000. The Prius has been awarded top ho nours by IDEA (the Industrial Design Excellence Awards) and in 2005 was named the European Car of the Year. Toyotas groundbreaking Yaris model, with its 1. 0-litre and 1.3-litre VVT-i engines, was voted Car of the Year 2000 a nd the Toyota Avensis garnered the top safety rating of five stars in the stringent Euro NCAP safety test and in 2005 was voted the best diesel car by AD AC. Independent research has clearly shown that Toyota customers are among the most satisfied in the world. But growth in sales and market share depe nds on reaching new customers who are unfamiliar with the brand and its reputati on for quality, durability and reliability. Research conducted by Toyota re vealed that while the companys flagship trademark was widely recognized, its styling had become outmoded. So the decision was taken to restyle the logo, keeping it recognizable while giving it a connotation of greater quality. Another aspect of Toyotas success in Europe can be traced to its loca lization efforts. Europe is a mix of highly diverse markets, so a pro active, localized approach is essential. For Toyota, this involves thin gs like collecting information on customer specifics in different region s, locating production plants closer to the customer base wherever pos sible and investing in actions suited to the diversity of Toyotas European custom er constituencies. Third-party surveys like J.D. Powers arent the only indication that Toyotas commitment to quality is perceived and appreciated. Fiscal Year 2006 r esults show that in a flat general market, Toyotas sales in Europe ha ve continued to climb steadily. Despite stiff competition, Toyota once again p osted record sales in Europe for the 11th calendar year in a row, achieving an a nnual sales growth of 10% and a market share of 5.6%.