As prepared for:
Group Vice President and General Manager, Toyota Division
2019 New York International Auto Show
Jacob Javits Convention Center
New York, NY
Good morning, New York! How are we feeling this morning?
We’ve come a long way since the start of the auto show season.
In the past six months, we’ve debuted four all-new and five refreshed models. And the good news is, we are not stopping there. The Toyota brand will bring 12 all-new and 8 refreshed models to market over the next three years!
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get back to why we’re here today.
Two weeks ago, on the first of April, we shocked the world, myself included…and maybe some of you…when we announced the bold, the urban, the rugged…the 2020 Yaris Adventure.
It’s a stunner, right? A subcompact car and a pickup truck…coming together as one?
C’mon man …even automakers enjoy a good April Fool’s joke. But honestly,
with the amazing reaction to it…maybe we should make it for real!
Okay, okay… that was also a joke. But the new Yaris is a practical car and a welcome new entry in the subcompact segment.
While other automakers are walking away from small cars, we continue to bring out new models like this all-new 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback.
That’s right…I call it “Hatch is Back, the Sequel”… coming to dealerships this fall.
Now, last year…on this very stage…we introduced the first Corolla Hatchback for the U.S. market in three decades. We’ve seen a tremendous response to that car and we’re confident this Yaris Hatch will draw in some new fans because it’s fun, efficient and affordable.
It combines the sportiness and premium engineering of the Yaris sedan with a head-turning hatchback style. It will be offered in mono-spec LE and XLE grades.
And the standard features are anything but standard:
• 16-inch dark grey alloy wheels
• body-color side mirrors and door handles and shark fin antenna
• heated and power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
• and a chrome tailpipe tip
So, yeah…not your standard entry level car.
Inside, the new Yaris has a laundry list of standard features that are typically options or upgrades on competitors’ models like :
• keyless entry with push button start
• a low-speed pre-collision system
• a rear backup camera
• and even fog lights
And, like many of our new Toyota vehicles, it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Yaris Hatchback is a great car to help people get around in urban areas…just like here in New York City.
Now…you probably all touched down in New York yesterday or Monday. And if you had a chance to wander around the city a little, you may have seen a little hint of what you’re going to see here today…
We asked Brooklyn artist Michael Murphy to create a very special art installation of the 2020 Toyota Highlander. We then filmed a short video and it was projected on walls and buildings around the city last week and last night.
We really wanted to do something special because 19 years ago…right here in New York…we had a world premiere that changed the game.
The 2001 Toyota Highlander was introduced and made its mark on the mid-size SUV market. Because back then most mid-size SUVs were truck-based.
But after that reveal, the Highlander’s uni-body construction with four-wheel independent suspension quickly became the template for a whole new era
of more comfortable, family-friendly SUVs.
And we’re changing the game again…check this out.
The fourth-generation design of this highly-influential SUV sports a new, chiseled look, based on the TNGA-K platform which gives it even greater performance, comfort and safety than ever before.
Built on the well-known foundation that Highlander owners have come to know and trust, the new model takes a dramatic design direction combining a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing.
We’ve worked hard to retain the vehicle’s hallmark ease of maneuverability and parking. But it adds space where needed. It’s about two and half inches longer
than before, and every bit of that has been added to the wheelbase to help improve interior comfort and versatility.
The entry grades have an array of great features such as:
– Smart key entry
– LED headlamps
– fog lamps
– 8-way power driver’s seat, and so much more.
A bump up to Limited and Platinum is even better. The Limited gets upgrades like
a hands-free power back door and premium projector headlamps.
While the Platinum grade offers an all-new 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a Toyota first, and the largest in its segment.
The blue/grey hue you can see to my right is our newest color, named Moon Dust.
And the all-new interior for the Platinum grade is called Glazed Caramel.
This mid-size SUV also brings function to its form. Even the shape of the taillights and side mirrors contributes to vehicle stability as the air rushes by.
Highlander offers a choice between two advanced powertrains, a gas V6 or the Toyota Hybrid System.
Now here’s the best part the 2020 Highlander Hybrid LE offers 240 horsepower
and the model’s best-in-class fuel economy ever at an estimated 34 combined MPG,
which is a 17-percent improvement from the previous-generation.
All of this while delivering the everyday acceleration power and responsiveness that buyers expect.
And, for the first time ever, we’re introducing a front-wheel drive version of our Hybrid powertrain for those in the sunshine states.
Our powerful, 295 horsepower V6 is available with Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel drive with Drive Mode Select, for improved agility and capability.
What’s also important is Toyota’s safety technology.
The 2020 Highlander comes standard with our second-generation Toyota Safety Sense. And standard on LE grade and above are Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
From a connectivity standpoint, we’re offering an array of options. Drivers can now enjoy standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
With all of these changes, we are confident the Highlander will retain its impressive position in the premium crossover segment which has grown exponentially since the first one rolled out nearly 20 years ago.
The key to the Highlander’s success has been to exceed customers’ expectations
at every turn.
Chief Engineer Saeki-san and his team did a wonderful job developing all these amazing features for future Highlander customers.
But it doesn’t end there.
The next important part of the process is when the designers hand it off to the manufacturers and in this case, to the award-winning Toyota Motor Manufacturing
Indiana plant where more than 5,500 dedicated team members work every day
to ensure the highest levels of quality for Toyota.
And, we believe the most critical component to bringing this vehicle to life are the phenomenal people who build it. These people are just as amazing and unique as the product you see here.
The 2020 Highlander celebrates the many ways in which we define the word
“family.” Whatever the definition, your crew is uniquely “you.”
Whether it’s connecting with your 20 siblings like Thierno Diallo in Assembly or enjoying a Brady Bunch blend with your wife, her two daughters and your two sons
like Mark Tingley in Body Welding or getting your family fix via video chat like Bethany Brosmer in Supply Chain who moved away from her inspiring single mom for a job of a lifetime.
These individuals, plus the incredible team back in Indiana, led by plant president Millie Marshall, are responsible for what you see today. We really couldn’t have achieved any of this without them.
There are many stories behind the development of this iconic crossover, but the most important stories are those our new customers will create when they drive the all-new 2020 Toyota Highlander. We can’t wait to hear from them when the vehicle launches at the end of this year.
I want to thank you for taking the time to join us here today.
Before you come up to the stage, please allow the photographers a few moments to take some pictures.
See you next time!