Editor’s Note: If you missed the March 20 COVID-19 message from incoming TMNA CEO Ted Ogawa, Chief Administrative Officer Chris Reynolds and TFS CEO Mark Templin, click here.
In an email sent to team members Monday evening, incoming Toyota Motor North America CEO Ted Ogawa laid out Toyota’s efforts to help combat the COVID-19 crisis.
Ogawa ended the email with a note of optimism.
“We want to reassure you that we work for a company that will always follow its North Star of helping team members, customers, dealers and society, wherever and whenever we can,” he wrote. “We are confident we will get through this together and come out stronger by focusing on what we can control – all the rest will fall into place.”
Ogawa painted a picture of a company committed to meeting the moment in helping the communities in which it does business.
Among the steps Toyota is taking to help:
Offering Needed Supplies
Team members at Toyota’s plants, Production Engineering, Research & Development, and other facilities have made countless donations of masks, safety glasses, shoe/boot covers, gloves, blankets and cotton swabs (among other things) to hospitals, emergency management teams and first responders.
True Social Innovation
With an eye on the national situation, TMNA’s Social innovation team has prioritized Toyota’s support, splitting it into two phases:
- Monetary donations through the United Way, with donations going to local food banks and pantries, community partners and other areas of needs depending on the specific community
- An ongoing assessment of community needs that will guide donations in the future.
However, it should be noted that Toyota is not asking for team member participation in community activities in an effort to mitigate the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
TPS in the Time of COVID-19
One thing Toyota can do better than any company? The Toyota Production System. The Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) – the stewards of TPS, who regularly implement the system in small companies and community nonprofits around the country – have offered support to companies that produce ventilators and other necessary medical supplies.
Further, with TSSC’s help, Toyota is moving quickly to help create masks. Toyota has completed the mold design for 3-D printing and will soon have the capability to produce them.
A major medical supplier has asked for Toyota’s help in to improve their logistics.
Toyota and Lexus Financial Services are taking action, too. They’ve offered customers contract payment extensions or lease deferred payments. New customers are offered payment deferrals.
For dealers, Toyota is reducing rates and deferring interest on all floorplan lines of credit and offering principal payment deferral options for real estate and working capital loans.
On the Airwaves
Toyota brand marketing quickly replaced its March sales event with an uplifting ad campaign to let customers know “We Are Here for You.”
In his email, Ogawa also made sure to thank team members for their support.
“We again want to thank all Toyota team members for what you are doing,” he wrote. “Many of you, like our teams in the service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics
, have not skipped a beat and are going above and beyond the call to continue operating in order to put our customers’ needs first.”
By Dan Nied