November 1, 2004, 12:00 AM

Toyota takes car shoppers beyond basic research

To build awareness with online car buyers, Toyota is positioning PlanetKaizen.com as a portal for those who want detailed information on vehicles and Toyota as an auto manufacturer. Toyota expects more than 50,000 visitors a month to PlanetKaizen.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The fact that 80% of all car buyers begin the hunt for a new vehicle purchase on the web certainly isn’t lost on Toyota Motor Corp. In fact, to build even more brand awareness on the web, Toyota is launching PlanetKaizen.com, a new research portal that gives Toyota’s new and existing customers access to much more vehicle information and other research.

The portal is designed to be an online community where Toyota visitors can access previously unavailable information about vehicle technology and performance or Toyota’s manufacturing process and communicate via chat forums and e-mail with personnel such as designers and engineers.

Research from J.D. Power & Associates notes that 40% of car shoppers now begin their research by visiting a manufacturer’s site, up significantly from 36% in 2003.

To capitalize on that trend–and build more awareness with online car buyers-Toyota is positioning PlanetKaizen.com as a resource portal for those who want very detailed information on vehicles and Toyota as an auto manufacturer.

"Toyota.com is the top automotive web site for consumers looking for basic information on our cars and company, but PlanetKaizen is designed for those people who want to dig deeper and see what`s really happening inside Toyota," says a spokeswoman. “PlanetKaizen is a source for vast amounts of technical information that was previously provided only to journalists and dealership personnel and not directly to the public."

Toyota expects PlanetKaizen.com to attract more than 50,000 visitors per month, Toyota says.

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