Frenchman Didier Leroy is the first European to head Toyota Motor Corp.'s operations in Europe. Leroy's top task is to stem the brand's loss of market share in the region but he said Toyota won't buy market share at any cost. The brand will also make its cars more emotionally appealing, LeRoy, who became Toyota Europe president on June 24, told Michael Knauer, a reporter at Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilowche.
Toyota sold about 15 percent fewer vehicles in Europe during the first half of the year, while the market grew by 2 percent. Can that be attributed to the recall disaster alone?
Naturally, part of the decline can be attributed to the recalls. Some customers are telling themselves, 'Let's just wait and see what happens with Toyota.' They have postponed their purchases. But the crisis in Spain and Greece has also affected us. The crisis in Greece has affected the confidence of consumers in all of Europe.
These effects had the same effect on your competitors.
Absolutely. But you have to consider something else: It is out of the question for us to engage in a price war, especially in the fleet business. Many of our competitors use their pricing to aggressively push their vehicles into the fleet market. They want to hold onto their market shares, no matter what it costs.
Has Toyota done too little recently to achieve a consistently high quality globally?
We want to continue to improve our quality, although the figures tell us that our quality has never been as high as it is today. But it's true that our competitors have gained ground on quality. The distance from us has become smaller, and we have to widen the gap again. But it is also a fact that our suppliers confirm that we are stricter than all the other manufacturers.