Toyota wins big at Diversity Volume Leadership Awards, Mark Bland explains why

Mark Bland Diversity Awards
Mark Sandora, Vice President of Sales – Americas IHS; Marc Bland Vice President of Diversity, IHS Automotive; Bill Faye, Group Vice President and General Manager, Toyota (Award recipient); Damon Lester, President, NAMAD; and Perry Watson, Chairman, NAMAD

This January, the automotive brands that make multicultural consumers a priority were honored at the Diversity Volume Leadership Awards. Hosted by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and global leader of auto intelligence, IHS Automotive, the show took place in Detroit at the COBO Center. According to IHS, nominees for the awards had “demonstrated the highest new vehicle registrations with ethnic, women and millennial consumers.”

Toyota, a brand that has had a partnership with IHS for decades, won big at the event. Mark Bland, IHS vice president of diversity and inclusion, gave rolling out insight on why Toyota is well-deserving of recognition for their focus on diversity.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s award show?
The Diversity Volume Leadership Awards is important now, and it’s going to become more important every year in the auto industry, because we focus on the fastest growing new vehicle consumers in the industry. While the industry is growing, the diverse consumer grew 120 percent greater, so when you’re talking about growth, it’s an easy equation: focus more on the groups and the companies that have the influence and understanding of those groups to grow your bottom line. It’s a bottom line business benefit.

We saw that Toyota won a lot of awards tonight. Was that a result of marketing toward African Americans?
It’s a result of a couple of things; number one, making a serious investment in people to own a diversity space for vice presidents of diversity. [Toyota] is the only company, I think, that has a v.p. of African American strategy, a v.p. of Hispanic strategy, a chief diversity officer, and a v.p. of internal diversity. Two, they are committed, so they are in this phase in good times and bad times. Three, they focus on diversity and the other keyword, “inclusion.” Toyota and Lexus focus on everybody — African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, women, millennials, LGBT, military family. So, they won their fair share, but they earned it.

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