Toyota GB’s long-serving managing director Graham Smith, one of the men credited with the marque’s unprecedented sales growth over the past decade, is thought to be considering a new role with Toyota Europe.
Insiders say that he is likely to be replaced by Andrea Formica, the former Ford of Britain marketing director, who is currently Toyota’s European sales and marketing director.
Smith joined Toyota from Ford in 1993, becoming marketing director a year later and managing director in 1995. He appointed another former Ford man, Mike Moran, to head the marketing department in 1996 and yet another former Ford marketer, Paul Philpott, joined in 1998.
Smith focused on making Toyota a more marketing-led organisation by merging the sales and marketing departments into a single commercial division, headed by Moran. Philpott was made commercial director in 2003 when Moran left to join Thames Water as worldwide marketing and strategy director (MW January 30, 2003).
A Toyota spokesman denies the reshuffle, saying: “Graham Smith is still the managing director of Toyota GB.”
Toyota GB has posted 13 years of consecutive growth since 1993 but its sales are down more than 10% for the first four months of 2006. The marque had sold 40,118 cars at the end of April, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, compared with 44,770 in the same period last year. This compares with an overall market performance that has seen a decline of 5.5% in the first four months of this year.