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December 14, 2015

CAF spoke with Derek Wilm, Toyota Canada’s New Manager, Fleet Operations about the changing nature of fleet and how Toyota is responding to it.

Fleet operators are increasingly looking for technology that can help them support safe, efficient and effective driving behavior among their driver force. How do Toyota products support this objective?

Derek Wilm, New Manager, Fleet Operations, at Toyota Canada Inc
Derek Wilm, New Manager, Fleet Operations, at Toyota Canada Inc.
WILM: Our number one priority at Toyota is safety. We continually invest in research and development that protects not only the occupants in our cars by allowing the driver to stay in control at all times, but pedestrians as well.

One of our developments is Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new series of multi-feature active safety packages anchored by automated pre-collision braking. It is now available on refreshed 2016 Toyota RAV4 and 2016 Toyota Avalon models. Available across most Toyota models by 2017, it is designed to support driver’s awareness, decision making and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds. Packaged together in an integrated system, the features help address three key areas: preventing or mitigating certain types of collisions; keeping drivers within their lane; and enhancing road safety during nighttime driving.

TSS will be offered in two packages: Toyota Safety Sense P for mid-sized and premium models; and Toyota Safety Sense C for compact cars.

Toyota is a pioneer in the hybrid vehicle field. What does the future hold for hybrid vehicles in Toyota’s portfolio?

WILM: Toyota led the industry in powertrain innovation with the introduction of the Prius in 1997 and since then has sold more than eight million hybrid vehicles globally, including more than 130,000 in Canada. This year, we added an all-new hybrid vehicle to our product lineup: the Toyota RAV4 hybrid. Toyota currently offers six hybrid vehicles in its Canadian lineup.

We’re Toyota is investing and exploring how innovation can shape the future of mobility to meet the unique needs of customers. The aim is to improve fuel efficiency in all vehicles, reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions by also focusing on improving fuel efficiency and performance of its conventional engines.

Toyota has a proud truck manufacturing tradition dating back to the G1 in 1937 and continues today in Canada with Tundra and Tacoma among others. As the commercial van market continues to grow in Canada are there plans to bring a vehicle like the Toyota ProAce to this market?

WILM: Although we do not currently have plans to bring commercial vans to market in Canada, Toyota continuously assesses what Canadian customers need and want from the vehicles they drive. But as you point out, we have a couple of great trucks: the Toyota Tundra and the Toyota Tacoma.

The Tundra is our full-size pick-up that’s ready for any job. Designed and built in North America, it’s well-equipped for performance, comfort and safety that can conquer the most challenging weather and terrains.

The refreshed Tacoma is the compact sports pick-up that’s always on for adventure. Canadians will love Tacoma’s winning formula of go-anywhere capability and cargo-carrying versatility.

Derek Wilm, New Manager, Fleet Operations, at Toyota Canada Inc
Derek Wilm, New Manager, Fleet Operations, at Toyota Canada Inc.
In a mature market where there are many great products and fleet minded OEMs, what is it that differentiates Toyota fleet from its competition?

WILM: Toyota offers a complete line up of Toyota and Scion vehicles to meet the versatile needs of any fleet customer. As the cost of ownership is one of the most important considerations for fleet customers, it is important that our products deliver exceptional and long-lasting value.

Toyota consistently receives third-party accolades that support the quality, dependability, reliability and safety of our vehicles. In addition, awards such as Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand™ Awards demonstrate the trust Canadians place on our brand to deliver vehicles that meet their needs and are fun-to-drive with great designs.

Toyota has consistently been among the top OEMs in the fleet space in Canada. How do you see this market evolving and what role will Toyota play in it?

WILM: The fleet space in Canada tends to follow the overall trends within the automotive market. There has been a general shift from passenger cars to the trucks and SUVs segments. These segments have been strong industry wide, and we’re proud of how our products are doing respectively.

We recently launched the all-new 2016 Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 Hybrid will deliver more horsepower and better acceleration than the conventional RAV4, while demonstrating a best-in-class City and Combined fuel efficiency of 6.9 and 7.2 litres per 100 kilometers respectively. This is the ideal vehicle for Canadians looking for a vehicle that provides utility, versatility, capability and excellent fuel efficiency.

Toyota also has trucks such as the Tacoma that set the benchmark for trucks in its class. And with the refreshed 2016 model, it is raising the bar yet again. This compact sport pick-up represents tremendous choice so Canadian truck-buyers can choose their perfect partner for fun and adventure.

How have your past roles prepared you for this new one?

What most people may not know about me is that I’m fluent in Japanese. I started my career with Toyota in Japan in global parts and service marketing programs. Since joining Toyota Canada in 2004, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a number of different areas within the company – even returning back to Japan for a couple of years. There, I worked at Toyota’s global head office as the Toyota Canada representative in North American and Global Supply and Demand. This allowed me to gain insights into global fleet programs as well as the North American retail and fleet business.

My other roles in Corporate Planning, Industrial Equipment, Lexus as Area Parts and Service Manager, and Product Planning have built my understanding of the importance of relationship building, how to build value into products and services, and the power of the entrepreneurial spirit. The combination of these roles have helped set the foundation toward better understanding the needs of our fleet customers and the Canadian fleet business.

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