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Toyota's Jim Lentz Addresses NADA Convention

Says auto dealers need to pay attention women, Hispanics

Toyota's Jim Lentz

Toyota's Jim Lentz

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 5  — Jim Lentz, COO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, says auto dealers need to pay attention to two groups: women, and the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., Hispanics.


“Women have $200 billion worth of purchasing power,” Lentz told attendees of the NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco Saturday.


They buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80 percent of all purchases; they also request 65 percent of service work at dealerships, he said. “Yet, according to a recent article in Forbes, women continue having poor experiences when trying to buy a car,” Lentz said.


“Women say the most important thing dealerships can do to bring in more women buyers is to listen,” Lentz said. He said men tend to interrupt and cut to the chase.


“It’s important to listen, not only because it’s polite,” he said, “but because real listening will sell more cars.”


Lentz cited Pew Research Center reports that by mid-century the number of U.S. Hispanic households would triple to 29 percent of the U.S. population.  Hispanic households’ buying power continues to grow, too, he said. “Hispanic households spent nearly $22 billion on new vehicles five years ago, and that amount was expected to nearly double to $40 billion last year.”


Lentz, the keynote speaker of the conference’s opening session, said he expected a bright future for auto dealers.


“There are a record number of drivers in the market and more on the way; lots of vehicles going to the scrap heap; cars on the road are aging like never before; and the supply of used cars is dwindling fast,” he said.


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