Get Newsletter Submit a Tip

Toyota Canada VP Praises Dealers, Talks Automation

August 28, 2017 0 Comments

As vehicles get smarter, dealers must continually adapt, which means that automotive sales roles are constantly evolving. Salespeople are tasked with explaining new technical and safety features to customers to ensure overall satisfaction. In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, this week, Stephen Beatty, VP and corporate secretary of Toyota Canada, praised his dealerships’ sales teams for their success in adapting to and thriving within these new and evolving roles.

“It’s a customer support role as opposed to the traditional sales role,” said Beatty, speaking at the launch of the 2018 Toyota Camry.

During the first half of 2017, Toyota had the top market share of vehicles sold in P.E.I., and was fourth overall in Canada. Toyota also produced the most vehicles in Canada this year, according to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.

Beatty credit Toyota’s success in Canada, and Prince Edward Island in particular, to its dealers’and sales staff’s ability to explain all those new “nifty” features to their customers. “I think… the difference between being a front-runner in the marketplace and being somebody who’s bringing up the rear is the ability of the dealer network to really sit, understand their customer, and give them that level of support,” he said.

Growth and job numbers are holding up well in the Canadian economy, Beatty said, but Toyota Canada is still keeping an eye on free trade development and making sure that company goals – like producing low-emission vehicles – remain aligned with U.S. standards and regulations.

Beatty also addressed one of the automotive industry’s biggest challenges in Canada: the advancement of self-driving vehicles. When the weather is clear and the road lines are fully painted, Beatty said, self-driving cars work well.

But this is Canada, after all: the weather, the vast Canadian landscape, or even a “moose [running] across the road” makes the autonomous tech less reliable. “You realize that Canada has a few tricks up its sleeve that downtown L.A. can’t really match,” Beatty said.

Testing for self-driving vehicles started recently in Ontario, but it could be a while before the vehicles hit the road. One reason for the delay, said Beatty, is that non-automated vehicles would have to be replaced. Why? “Because, frankly, cars with little automation and cars with full automation don’t get along that well together,” he said.

“The reality is, it takes longer for technology to move into the market to become affordable and useable for the average consumer. We can imagine the future, but getting there is the hard part.”

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at