PLANO, Texas (February 1, 2021) – Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has officially unveiled the next iteration of the SmartPath retail experience, allowing customers flexibility in how they buy their next Toyota. Working hand-in-hand with dealerships across the United States to integrate online and in-store retail, TMNA assumed the responsibility of the research and development of one, comprehensive retail program to offer customers the opportunity to lease, finance or purchase their new vehicle without the need to physically visit the dealership.
Developed in partnership with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) in response to shifting consumer purchase preferences, Toyota began piloting SmartPath in 2019 to expand the retail footprint, offering a flexible shopping experience that is convenient, interactive, connected, transparent, and customized. The COVID-19 virus accelerated consumer demand for digital transactions, with a recent digital shopping survey showing two out of three shoppers are more likely to purchase a vehicle 100% online¹.
Toyota’s SmartPath technology puts the car buying process in the hands of the customer, providing an integrated user experience across Toyota.com, buyatoyota.com, the dealership website and the physical dealership store. Customers can choose the path that works best for them by starting their journey online, saving their progress in the “digital garage” and picking up where they left off at the dealer, or completing their purchase with their SmartPath dealer entirely online.
By utilizing SmartPath, customers have more control over how they purchase their vehicle, increased transparency into current inventory and real-time pricing, and flexibility to shop when and how they want.
For Toyota dealerships, the new technology integrates with current inventory, the customer relationship management system (CRM) and directly with financing through TFS, allowing sales associates the opportunity to better understand customers wants and needs, while accessing time-saving tools, enhanced analytics and advanced lead handling that allows the dealer to pick up right where the customer left off online.
“Our goal is to ensure we create the best experience for our customers and our dealers,” said Jack Hollis, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, TMNA. “As our customers’ expectations evolve, SmartPath provides our dealers the technology to exceed those expectations. Our shared mission is to make the experience of shopping, buying, and owning a Toyota as easy and carefree as driving one.”
SmartPath customers have the option to finalize their purchase by physically visiting the dealerships, or through a digital appointment with the dealer.
SmartPath is currently available to customers in select markets through more than 50 dealerships, with an additional 50 dealerships launching this spring, with plans to aggressively bring more SmartPath dealerships to market through 2021. The all-new SmartPath complete online experience, which expands to allow customers the ability to complete their purchase online, will roll out market by market starting in mid-February 2021.
The new online retail experience will also be available to Lexus customers through Lexus Monogram. You can learn more about Monogram, here.
¹Source: 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Digital Shopping Study, April 4-5, 2020
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships.
Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 36,000 in the U.S. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 30 million cars and trucks at our 9 manufacturing plants, 10 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021.
To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.