Moving people,
moving hearts with Jack Hollis, SVP, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor North America

View from the inside

Jack Hollis, 
Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor North America

I have the honor of being the senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motors, North America. But you know what, I really don’t dig titles. The main title I like to use is team captain, because I like team sports. I like the team atmosphere around Toyota. What I get to do is to be leader of the Toyota brand, the Lexus brand and our businesses in Puerto Rico and Mexico. It allows me to be involved with every part of the business from sales, marketing, customer service, customer call centers, market representation, where we’re putting our dealerships, parts, service accessories, the whole kit & caboodle around all the business.  

And one question comes up a lot. Do I ever see Toyota adopting a direct to consumer model? And the answer is no. I think a lot of the people in business think that we’re going there. You can see what Tesla’s trying to do, but I’m really proud of the business we have with our dealers. The dealerships are in direct contact with the customer every day, hearing from them, learning, listening, then feeding that back to us – that has worked extremely well. And I think it will work extremely well into the future. 

Where I think we’re going in the future is going back to a more emotional, a more personal relationship business. Because people trust people; it’s hard to trust in a device. So while we’ll advance the use of technology, the question is how to use that to make a personal connection. To really get to the hearts of people, to be able to feel a brand, not just be proud of something, or think about something you want to purchase, or there’s something that you want to be a part of, but to feel a connection. 

My hope for the future is in knowing that our company’s core values are not only are strong and will take us forward. But my hope is bound up in the fact that whenever the toughest times have occurred to this company, our company has unified tighter than ever, moved as one, been very agile and solved big problems. While I don’t expect us to necessarily solve the pandemic. I do believe in and hope in the fact that with us coming together, we can solve anything to help society go through problems. That’s part of becoming a mobility partner and a mobility company.  

With a lot of our innovations, it’s all about thinking about the future and the future of our environment. An interesting thing that I think most people should understand is that Akio Toyota, our global CEO and a family member, laid out a global goal for us. By 2025, every one of our vehicles will have an electrified option. Remembering those electrified options are hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, full electric, and internal combustion is obviously seeing more innovation on different kinds of powertrains. And on that goal, we are actually ahead of pace. That’s thinking extremely well about our environment and about where innovative technology can be used to benefit our driving experience and the environment at the same time.

That is good innovation in my opinion, which is benefiting more than just the sale of a vehicle, but the society and environment.

You say technological innovations. I say mobility. And I say that because that’s really where we’re going - we’re becoming a global mobility company. We’re taking not just a car, truck or SUV, but looking at the mobility space, about how to physically get somebody from A to B. At the same time it’s about moving your heart. We want to move people. We want to move their hearts too. 

Many technological advances are going into the mobility space. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to take away the keys from a parent or a grandparent, but what if our technology could help to transport people longer, with autonomous driving, and be in control of their own transportation needs. Or how about younger people? And we’re learning about how to be more responsive to the needs of people with special needs or physically different needs.

We’re pushing that innovation not just to have patents, but to make your mobility and life better. And that’s where we’re going. You know, I think 2020 has been an emotional year. And I think our customers who feel that, they’re sometimes reacting more emotionally and they’re also really desirous of protection. So we have done a great job of listening to our dealers, who are listening to their customers, so that we can assist them in how to serve those customers.

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