In axing the role of marketing director in the UK, Toyota has made an error of judgement. The change may speed up decision making but it will ultimately prove to be a blow to the Toyota brand in the UK.
After 18 months of hard slog battling the reputation crisis that saw the Japanese car manufacturer recall millions of vehicles worldwide, Toyota has rightly realised that its operations need a top-down overhaul to rebuild both company and brand.
The Japanese parent company announced a new “corporate philosophy” to redefine the kind of business it wants to be, giving more power to its regional divisions and outlined plans to almost double its profit.
However, removing the UK marketing director role flies in the face of Toyota’s plans to redefine the business.
By cutting out the UK marketing director role to speed up the decision making process, while good for streamlining, it means that the decisions being taken will be heavily slanted towards commercial concerns rather than marketing and brand.
What Toyota needs to regain its reputation is someone central to the decision making process that has a tight grip on Toyota’s brand marketing, what it needs to be projecting outwards and how to use marketing communications to get consumers on board with its new global vision.
While Matt Harrison, the commercial director appointed in December to lead sales and marketing operations in the UK, has a background in marketing and has previously held the marketing director role at Toyota GB, his title says it all.