Toyota to Focus on Connectivity with New Division

Toyota Motor North America announced the decision to form a new group focused on delivering new technologies for its Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The newly formed Connected Technologies group will have approximately 100 positions and will include members from Toyota’s existing teams working on connected vehicles, information systems, and research and development. Combining Toyota’s various strategy, planning, development, engineering and operations for connected service and hardware systems, will help advance and personalize the in-car technology experience for customers, the company stated. The transition to the new group will start immediately.

Connected Technologies will be based in Plano, Texas and report to Zack Hicks, who will continue in his two current roles, as both Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Toyota Motor North America and as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota Connected North America, while adding this new responsibility.

“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,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America.

Connected vehicle technology includes one or more connections to the internet, such as via smartphone or satellite. Tech developers focus on two areas: driver-centric and car-centric. Driver-centric content such as internet-connected radio, cloud-based content and apps help personalize the driver’s car ownership experience. The other car-centric content offers companies such as Toyota the opportunity for remote diagnostics, Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates, cybersecurity, and vehicle relationship management.

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