Speech to the National Council of La Raza - Latinas Brunch
July 11, 2010
As Prepared for Yoshi Inaba, President & COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Es un gran honor para mí estar aquí con todos ustedes.
(Thank you, Janet. It is a great honor for me to be here with all of you.)
Welcome to the 2010 National Council of La Raza Latina’s Brunch.
I know Sundays are the day many of us set aside for our families...
…so thank you for sacrificing some of your Sunday to join us here.
And on behalf of the over twenty-eight hundred Texas team members who build Toyota Tundras and Tacomas at our plant about 10 miles from here, welcome to the wonderful city of San Antonio.
I wish to thank the Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, for being a terrific host for this event and a great friend to Toyota.
Finally, I would like to recognize all of the Toyota employees, distributors, dealers and suppliers who are here today supporting NCLR.
Thank you for being here.
Do you remember what you did for your last birthday?
In 2010, I had a truly remarkable birthday.
I didn’t shoot a hole in one or go skydiving.
No, on my birthday,
I got to testify in front of the US Congress!
As much as I’d like to,
I guarantee that I will NEVER forget this birthday!
And 2010 will be a year Toyota never forgets as well.
With congressional investigations, recalls and all of the media attention, this has been the most difficult year in Toyota’s history.
But at the same time, it has been one of Toyota’s biggest learning experiences.
Kaizen, or continuous learning and improvement, is part of Toyota’s DNA.
The thirty thousand Americans who work for Toyota and thousands of others across the globe continue to learn from this experience so we can emerge as an even stronger company.
One thing that Toyota has already learned is that we have fiercely loyal customers.
Despite all of our difficulties, loyal Toyota owners did NOT abandon the brand.
In fact, in March of this year, at the height of the crisis, Toyota loyalty was the best in the industry and at the same levels it was before any of the recalls occurred.
And through the end of June, Toyota is still the number one retail brand in the United States.
And we know that YOU, our amigos y amigas, (our Hispanic friends) played a huge role in that show of support.
In 2009, one out of four Hispanic buyers chose Toyota vehicles when purchasing a car or truck...the highest of any brand.
Even better, our research shows that Latinas still believe strongly in the Toyota brand...
placing it at the top of their lists in key attributes, including safety, dependability and reliability.
So, on behalf of all Toyota associates around the world…¡GRACIAS! (THANK YOU!)
Thank you to all of you for sticking with us during these difficult times.
And I specifically want to thank Janet Murguía and Daniel Ortega for their public support of Toyota.
Your steadfast loyalty will not be forgotten.
I am proud to say that Toyota has been...and will continue to be...deeply committed to supporting the Hispanic community.
And that’s not a new commitment.
Since 1991, Toyota has contributed almost five hundred million dollars in the US to charitable organizations.
And over the last two years, approximately fifty percent of our giving has been to organizations that support minority populations, including Hispanics.
We have also taken a very active role with NCLR. Along with the title sponsorship of this conference, Toyota has supported NCLR continuously since 2002 with nearly $1.2 million in total contributions.
Plus, a Toyota executive, our very own Patricia Pineda, proudly serves on NCLR’s Corporate Advisory board, helping to guide this organization in reaching its goals.
Toyota also continues to make progress in the area of diversity, where we are intent in becoming a true leader.
With the help of our Diversity Advisory Board, we have made a concerted effort to improve minority representation in our workforce, supplier base and dealer network.
Our plant here in San Antonio is a good example, where more than fifty percent of our team members are Hispanic, and several of our on-site suppliers are Hispanic-owned.
Some of these “compadres” are here today, including Berto Guerra and Max Navarro, and I want to thank them for giving their own sponsorship to this conference.
On the dealership side, we have nearly tripled the number of Hispanic-owned Toyota and Lexus dealers since 2000.
We will continue our efforts in these areas because we know the more our organization reflects the communities around us, the better we will be able to understand and serve those communities.
Our efforts in both philanthropy and diversity reflect our commitment to improving life in the communities where we do business.
It is a commitment that we take very seriously and we pledge to continue our efforts in these important areas.
Another commitment we take very seriously is safety. Nothing is more important to Toyota than your safety.
Because of this, we continue to use advanced safety technologies to help produce safer vehicles for you and your family.
But we also know there is great value in supporting local, grass roots educational programs to improve safety.
And here’s why…
Did you know that Hispanic children are 3 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes?
Studies indicate that, for various reasons, Hispanic children are less likely to use seat belts, child restraints or ride in the back seat of vehicles.
This is both tragic and unacceptable.
So in partnership with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, located near our manufacturing headquarters in Kentucky, we created “Abrochate a La Vida” or Buckle Up for Life.
“Abrochate a La Vida” is a vehicle safety program designed to educate Hispanic families on the importance of keeping their families safe while driving.
Our hope is to reduce motor vehicle related injuries and deaths in the Hispanic population.
The results have been amazing.
After participating in the program, the number of adults and children using seat belts and car seats more than doubled.
Just as importantly, participants continued to buckle up long afterward.
In a 6-month post program follow-up, the vast majority of people who went through the program continued to follow safety measures when getting into their vehicles.
In fact, the results were so encouraging that Toyota is supporting a national expansion of the program to reach even more at-risk communities.
It launches this summer in Los Angeles.
I urge you to stop by the Toyota booth at the Expo to learn more about the program.
Of course, I would NOT be doing my job as a salesman if I didn’t remind you to also check out the all-new Sienna minivan and Tundra pick-up truck on display in the exhibit area.
In closing, I want to recognize NCLR and the tremendous accomplishments it has achieved over the years.
No organization has done more to provide advocacy and promote opportunities for the Hispanic community.
That’s why Toyota is proud to be the title sponsor of this year’s annual conference.
We truly appreciate the Hispanic community’s faith in Toyota, and we are committed to continuing our support of NCLR and its efforts to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.
After all, at Toyota we know that “¡SI SE PUEDE!” (TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT!)
Thank you…again…for joining me here today. Please enjoy the rest of this year’s conference and I wish all of you the best of luck in the coming year.
Una vez más, ¡GRACIAS! (Once again, THANKS!)