Toyota North America has created a new “Connected Technologies” group that will focus on improving user experiences and new technologies for its Toyota and Lexus vehicles, the company announced Monday.
The new group, based at the company’s Plano headquarters, will leverage the new “One Toyota” structure, and will have roughly 100 positions. It will include members from Toyota’s existing teams that work on connected vehicles.
“In-car, connected vehicle technology is a high priority for us because its impact on the customer experience is becoming an increasingly important factor in their purchase decisions,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said in a release.
“Our new team will double-down our efforts on connected vehicles so we can provide our Toyota and Lexus customers a more human experience.”
The company said that combining its various strategy, planning, development, engineering, and operations for connected service and hardware systems will help it personalize and improve the in-car tech experiences for its customers.
Lentz said that through its new “One Toyota” structure,the company is removing barriers among its North American teams that work on connected vehicles to create “a more cohesive and empowered team to listen to and create an ever-better connected car experience for customers.”
Connected Technologies will report to Zack Hicks, who will continue his dual roles as chief information officer of Toyota North America and as CEO of Toyota Connected North America.
“Our new team will double-down our efforts on connected vehicles so we can provide our Toyota and Lexus customers a more human experience,” Hicks said in the release. “Connected vehicles are the next step in a personalized driving experience, emphasizing your preferences as a driver thanks to better technology, improving the customer’s ownership experience over time.”
The market for connected vehicles is expanding rapidly, Toyota said.
Connected vehicle technology includes one or more connections to the internet, such as via smartphone or satellite.
CONNECTED TECHNOLOGIES FOCUSES ON TWO AREAS
Toyota’s connected technologies work focuses on two areas of experience — driver-centric and car-centric.
It said that driver-centric content, such as internet-connected radio, cloud-based content, and apps, help make the driver’s experience more personalized.
Car-centric content, on the other hand, offers companies the ability to perform remote diagnostics, over-the-air software updates, cybersecurity, and vehicle relationship management, Toyota said.
Earlier this month, Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. announced they will spend $1.6 billion to jointly build a manufacturing plant in the U.S. that will be adaptable to the needs of the future.
Toyota Motor North America already has a manufacturing facility in San Antonio, and the new plant would create up to 4,000 jobs, the companies said.
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