EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 20, 2013

Toyota's slice of US market is about right


LENTZ:It’s a challenge. Despite the debt and despite either underemployment or lower salaries, those under 35 are coming back to the market at a faster rate than any other generation. I think there were a lot of questions in the past, will young people even buy cars? As they start lifestyle changes, married, someday kids, they are coming back. They’ll have to deal with their college debt. But I don’t think it’s going to put that much of a damper on the industry long-term. We are going to have very soon five different generations buy cars for the first time.

Q: If you’re looking at five generations of sales what’s the impact on technologies inside the vehicle?

LENTZ: I can tell you my dad has navigation. He has no idea what button to push, nor will he ever care.

The technology we put in cars has to be very, very intuitive so that it’s simple to use for elder generations but enough techno for younger generations. But younger generations, I don’t think they’re necessarily amazed with technology. It’s a tool to them.

We view autonomous cars a little differently than some others. We really see it as a co-pilot type car, not as a self-driving car. A car that can really enhance the reflexes and the ability of a driver to continue to drive. That’s why I’m excited about those cars. As we look at boomers and they start to retire, the ability to have cars that can enhance their capabilities, it’s going to allow them to drive much longer.

Q: For a decade or more, everybody in Europe has had 10 percent market share, and it’s a bloodbath. Could that happen in the United States?

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