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Toyota Ignores Black Community Customers

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The Toyota automobile company has implemented a worldwide recall of many of its cars with the company reaching out to its customers saying stay with us. Bring your cars in for repair and be careful while driving until you can get it repaired. The executives have been on television, radio and even put paid advertising in major daily newspapers nationwide to inform their customers of the sticking gas pedal and to stay with them. General Motors and Ford have begun advertising the message, bring your Toyota product in for trade to our products. They are doing all of this while ignoring the owners of Black newspapers and radio stations which is an issue for me.

They are aware that we’re here because they have invited us to drive their cars so we could write about how they drive and the quality of their products. They even send us company press releases to publish for our readers.

So they know we are here as a viable business and credible resource to our communities. Yet, when it comes to spending money with any of us, they stop. The same is true with other companies but this article is focused on Toyota from my perspective.

Over the past decade, I would take a quick count of the makes of Toyota autos in the parking lot of St. Paul AME Church on any given Sunday morning. I was doing it because I had a Black owned Lincoln Mercury/Volkswagen dealer advertising in my paper.

(He had told my wife that 24% of all the cars he sold since he had been advertising with us was a result of his ad in our paper.) This was good news for us because it meant he was getting his money’s worth plus he supported our community in other ways from the money we spent with him buying cars. I asked you my readers when was the last time you went to a function or event held in the Black community that Toyota was a sponsor.

How many Toyota dealerships are owned by African Americans? How many Blacks do you know that supplies products or services to Toyota?

Now Toyota on the other hand was not spending any money with us nor were they supporting any groups or programs in the African American community locally.

Yet from my counting their cars in the parking lot, they occupied 35% to 40% of the parking spaces mostly because of price and so-called quality. Now comes the Toyota quality issue that has people afraid to move their cars and what does Toyota do; they are ignoring their most loyal customers by saying if you want information about what we are doing about the problem with your money get it they best way possible.

Let us take a look at where Toyota sells the most cars.

Toyota’s occupy nine of the top ten spots in California for selling cars with each dealer averaging at least 3,500 sales per year. These are the areas with the percentage of sales in the area: San Gabriel Valley 27.6%; San Fernando Valley; 26.6%; Oakland 26.3%; Inland Empire 25.3%; North San Diego 24.8%; Orange County 24.5%; Los Angeles South Bay 24.1% and Sacramento at 23.6% according to a report by Mr. Jim Lentz, Executive Vice President of Toyota to Auto Week. Blacks spent $3.8 billion on cars and related services according to Target Market News in 2006 in California. Toyota spent $2 billion in advertising in the same year and had a special department for the Hispanic population according to a report they submitted to advertising age.

So the question to Toyota is why do you ignore the African American community when it come to reallocating money back into the community that buys your products?

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