Toyota loses 3rd manager, this time to Ford

The Baltimore Sun

Toyota's advertising slogan is "Moving Forward."

But the company's U.S.-based executives keep moving out.

James D. Farley, head of Toyota's Lexus division and a driving force behind the popular Scion brand, has left to run Ford Motor Co.'s global marketing operation, Ford said yesterday.

He is the third high-level executive to leave Toyota's North American business since August.

Last month, James E. Press, Toyota's top U.S. executive and former head of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., quit to take a job at Chrysler, which earlier had hired Deborah Wahl Meyer, then head of marketing for Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand.

Analysts said such defections didn't hurt Toyota, which is known for the depth of its management ranks.

"All three of those people are really good, but Toyota has tremendous bench strength," said James M. Hossack, an analyst with AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif. "I think it's a testimony to Toyota that they attract the best in the industry."

Farley was replaced at Lexus by Mark Templin, who had been running the Scion division, a youth-oriented line known for its quirky marketing campaigns. Sales of most Scion models are down sharply this year, and Toyota is grappling with the same slowdown in U.S. sales that is affecting most car companies this year.

But Toyota is overtaking General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker and recently replaced Ford as No. 2 in the U.S.

Ford's share of the U.S. market has dropped from about 25 percent a decade ago to less than 15 percent today.

"Farley's biggest challenge is going to be to get people to consider the brand at all," Hossack said.

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