Daytona: Toyota debut preview

Toyota NASCAR Effort Looking to Win Races - and Awareness TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 11, 2004 -- Toyota's historic entry into the racing ranks of NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, which takes to the track for the first time Feb. 13 at Daytona ...

Toyota NASCAR Effort Looking to Win Races - and Awareness

TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 11, 2004 -- Toyota's historic entry into the racing ranks of NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, which takes to the track for the first time Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway, will include four race teams, seven drivers and pit crews, and a multi-faceted marketing campaign.

"Winning consumer awareness is just as important as winning races," says James Lentz, vice president of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Pickup trucks continue to be the fastest growing market in America and Toyota is committed to playing a bigger role of this segment."

In 2003 Toyota accounted for about 11 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., including America's most popular car, the Toyota Camry. Toyota trucks, however, accounted for only about four percent of the total large truck market.

"Right now we're selling every Tundra we can make at our plant in Princeton, Indiana," Lentz says. "We're looking forward to 2006 when a second plant begins building an all-new Tundra."

The new $800 million plant being built in San Antonio will have more than 2,000 employees and an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, more than doubling current Tundra availability.

"We want to be ready to take Tundra sales to the next level," Lentz says. "Walk through the parking lot at Daytona or Martinsville or Darlington and what do you see? Pickups. Those are the people we want to reach."

Three time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion driver and new Toyota team owner Darrell Waltrip will star in a series of television, print and radio advertisements. Waltrip also will drive a Tundra in three races during the coming year. Other aspects of the NASCAR-based marketing program will include:

* Four television commercials running throughout the NASCAR season beginning with the season-opening Daytona race weekend. The commercials will air on Speed Channel broadcasts of Craftsman Truck Series races and selected NASCAR Nextel Cup events airing on NBC, FOX, TNT and FX. The commercials also will run during other sporting events including NBA and NCAA basketball games.

* Four print ads currently being developed, including one featuring all eight Toyota drivers.

* Waltrip also will be featured in a radio commercial, with one or two additional spots planned for later in the season.

* Sponsorship of the Toyota Tundra 200, Aug. 14 at Nashville Speedway. More than 5,000 Toyota employees who work at plants in Indiana, Kentucky and Alabama are expected to attend.

* The "Toyota Interactive Garage" will travel to major NASCAR and other sporting events and provide fans with an inside look at a race team hauler. Interactive displays will give fans a feel for jacking up a truck and refueling during a pit stop.

* A pair of Toyota Tundra race truck show vehicles also will be on display, tracing their heritage from the Princeton assembly plant, to the front straightaway at Daytona.

The company will again sponsor the Toyota All-Star Showdown, a season-ending "invitation only" event for champion NASCAR short track racers from across America. The inaugural race held last year in Irwindale, Calif., attracted 70 competitors and was broadcast live on Speed Channel.

-toyota motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip