Toyota has decided to increase its direct presence in Spain through vertical integration in order to be closer to its customers and to better understand their needs and expectations.

Therefore, Toyota Motor Europe Marketing and Engineering (TMME) will undertake the distribution of all Toyota and Lexus products in Spain, one of Europe's five largest markets, from 1 October, 2002.

TMME has started preparations to establish a new National Marketing and Sales Company (NMSC) in Spain, which will be ready for business on October 1, 2002. As a first step, TMME will open a local subsidiary and will establish a new dealership network which will both be ready for business on 1 October, 2002.

TMME notified Toyota España in May 2001 that the distributorship agreements will terminate on the scheduled expiration date of 30 September, 2002.

Until that date, Toyota España will remain Toyota#;s exclusive distributor in Spain for all Toyota and Lexus products. TMME#;s new National Marketing and Sales Company in Spain will ensure full customer service and sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles from October 1, 2002.

An important part of Toyota#;s growth strategy in Europe is to be close to dealers and customers, with the aim of bridging the gap between the manufacturer and the final customer. To achieve that, Toyota relies on local knowledge and expertise. In view of its ambitious target to reach a 5% market share in Europe by 2005, and given the importance of the Spanish market, Toyota has decided that a more direct involvement in Spain was required.

Currently Germany, Italy, UK and France are already served by NMSCs that are 100% owned by Toyota.

Since the early 1990s, Toyota has made substantial investments in Europe, totalling more than €4 billion to date. These investments include production facilities in the UK, France, Turkey, Poland and recently – together with PSA Peugeot Citroën – the Czech Republic.

They also include a European design centre in the South of France, a strengthening of engineering and technical facilities and a reinforcement of its dealership network throughout Europe.

Strong market growth has accompanied these investments, as new products specifically designed for the European market, such as the Toyota Yaris and the new Corolla, have been launched.

Toyota has enjoyed six consecutive years of growth, or 73% in all, for a total of 666,035 units in 2001. Growth in the first quarter of 2002 was 15% over last year, with 204,353 units sold and a 4.5% market share. In the Spanish market, Toyota sold 28,132 units in 2001, for a 1.8% market share, and 8,654 units during the first quarter of 2002, representing a 2.2% market share.

TMME will build the new NMSC in the next few months by both hiring local talent in Spain and by transferring staff from TMME's offices in Brussels.

It will also in due course start recruiting competent and experienced car dealers to retail Toyota and Lexus cars from 1 October.