Toyota strengthens ties to Hispanic, black audiences

Toyota has appointed two communications executives to newly created roles that it says will help the company further engage Hispanic and black consumers in North America.

TORRANCE, CA: Toyota has appointed two communications executives to newly created roles that it says will help the company further engage Hispanic and black consumers in North America.

Patricia Pineda, most recently head of the Toyota USA Foundation, was named VP of Hispanic business strategy for North America. She is reporting to Julie Hamp, group VP and CCO for Toyota North America.

Pineda will also oversee Toyota's new Hispanic Business Strategy Group, focusing on increasing awareness of the Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands to Hispanic consumers.

The automaker has also appointed Jim Colon, previously VP of product communications at Toyota Motor Sales, to serve as VP of African-American business strategy for North America. Colon, who has held various roles at Toyota since 1980, will also report to Hamp.

Pineda and Colon are tasked with reaching out to Hispanic and black businesses and media and creating a network of Toyota associates and staffers to enhance relationships with key groups. 

The positions were created as a way to get the “communications function aligned with the multicultural strategy overall for Toyota,” explained Hamp.

“We're incorporating multicultural thinking, planning, and insights into our core strategies, not as an afterthought or as a separate effort,” she added.

Earlier this week, Toyota revealed its new integrated marketing model called Total Toyota that brings together its agency partners to engage a more diverse US population.

“I think at many companies it's still a separate area and it's not integrated into the mainstream business, so that's the overarching difference that we've done both on the agency side and within Toyota's organization in both marketing and communications,” said Hamp.

Toyota said it chose to target Hispanic and black communities in its communications efforts because the automaker has a large customer base and has seen market growth with both.

Hamp added that Toyota also reaches out to other groups, such as women, Asian-Americans, and youth. 

In addition to Pineda and Colon, the automaker promoted Steve Curtis, corporate manager of corporate communications at Toyota Motor North America, to serve in the newly created position of VP of corporate communications for North America. Curtis, who has worked at the company since 1999, will oversee executive services and internal communications; marketing communications; digital and social media channels and content; media relations; investor and stakeholder relations; and policy communications. He also has responsibility for multicultural marketing communications.

Mike Goss was also promoted from GM to the new role of VP of external affairs and communications for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. Goss, who joined TEMA in 2003 as a media relations manager, will manage component and assembly manufacturing sites and the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, MI. He will work on messaging, media relations, issues managements, community and local government relations, and philanthropy. 

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