Expectant Toyota Team Members See New Arrival


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Ahhhh The New Arrival


By Bob Gordon
President and Co-publisher
The Auto Channel

Georgetown Kentucky, October 31, 2012; Last week I was invited by Toyota to attend what I thought would be the press reveal of the brand new 2013 Toyota Avalon, just another worthwhile (hey that’s what we do) but ho-hum auto manufacturer press event.

It was an easy decision to attend, especially because The Auto Channel headquarters in Louisville is just a few miles down the road from the Toyota plant in Georgetown KY. I figured what the heck, no airplanes, and no overnights needed for me to cover a meaningful event that is so close to home that I could participate and still make my Tuesday evening racquetball game.

As a self-admitted jaded veteran of more than 25 years of auto shows, new model introductions and lots of automotive press events, I anticipated the 2013 Toyota Avalon reveal event at the Georgetown KY plant would be just another “show and tell” press event.

But unexpectedly, after I arrived at the plant’s Visitor Center and signed in, instead of heading to a press conference room I was escorted deep onto the factory floor where a stage and presentation area was set up. To my amazement it was already surrounded not by a bunch of journalists and journalist wannabees, but by thousands of expectant, pacing Toyota Team Members energetically abuzz awaiting their “big event”, the first official presentation of their next family member the 2013 Avalon.


Wil
James (president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing  (select to view enlarged photo)

As this was the “official” reveal it was designed to be a big deal not just for the press, but for thousands of Kentuckians who already build the high quality Toyota Camry and will build the 2013 Toyota Avalon

This event was so important to Toyota that it included star participants who were not only Toyota execs like Wil James (president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing and moderator of the event), Bill Fay (Group Vice President and General Manager, Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.),

University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Coach John
Calipari (select to view enlarged photo)

Steve St. Angelo (Executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America) and Randy Stephens the 2013 Avalon’s “Dad (Chief Engineer-Avalon) but two very special guests; Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and the crowd’s favorite University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari (a Kentucky hero).

By the time the program started there were over 3 thousand smiling happy Toyota Team Members of all ages, shapes and colors, dressed in all manner of clothing…from suits to hunting cammies all receiving warm and heartfelt congratulations from the Toyota execs for already building the highest quality rated Camry, and in advance for the anticipation that the new Avalon will raise the “quality” bar even higher.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

At that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks; quality vehicles are more than just good engineering, it takes dedicated caring and talented employees to build great cars. In fact during Mr. James’ remarks he gave his line workers a mandate “if you are not 100% sure that something is right, stop the line, together we can make the new Avalon the new standard in automobile quality.”

During this new model reveal, I was let-in on the secret of Toyota’s success; a respectful and coordinated team of labor and management can take their products and their company to the heights of success.

By the way the new 2013 Toyota Avalon has been designed, engineered and will be built from virtually all American made parts and with 100% American labor, built for the world, right here in the middle of the USA…way to go!

Congrats to everyone at the Kentucky Toyota Plant; you made this old dog understand your new tricks.

The Auto Channel is looking forward to reviewing each of the new Avalon models for our 1 million viewers, stay tuned.

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