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Thank you, Joel – and good morning.
It is a pleasure to be in Canada, and in the heartland of the Canadian auto industry.
This show is perfectly timed to kick off my favourite season of the year – the spring selling season!
While some might like the smell of early flowers in their gardens, I crave that new car smellthat comes with auto shows and this time of the year.
I can honestly tell you that I am so excited to be in the car business right now -- and I am sure that other manufacturers share my excitement.
New vehicle sales in North America are predicted to increase by about 6% in 2012.
That means about 13.6 million units in the United States and a little over 1.6 million in Canada.
There are a lot of older vehicles on the road now, so purchase intent is growing... and in Canada it is at 26%.
With 22 million vehicles on the road in Canada, replacement of just 5% of those vehicles, is substantial.
And the great news for our customers is the outstanding new cars that will be hitting the market:
● are more stylish,
● have better handling,
● are safer than ever before,
● And, the new technology in these vehicles has us connected in many new ways.
Everyone knows they need vehicles:
● to get stuff done,
● to get to work,
● or to car-pool kids to and from their activities.
Everyone wants a vehicle that’s well made – that is:
● and reliable.
And this industry – year after year – keeps raising the bar on each and every one of those qualities.
But a car is much more than just a transportation appliance.
At its very best, it’s a love affair.
● design that moves and inspires you;
● performance that thrills you;
● and technology and craftsmanship that simply amazes you.
After some challenging years and a lot of soul-searching, automakers have rediscovered their passion.
Collectively, we’ve put the car back in the car business.
In Ontario, that must be especially gratifying.
Toronto is the economic capital of Canada -- and the auto industry's beating heart.
Ontario is home to 5 vehicle manufacturers -- and the head offices of every other automobile distributor.
Our industry is responsible for the lives of half a million Canadians across some 1,300 companies, with $100 billion in annual revenues.
But the spinoffs go well beyond manufacturing and sales.
● and a host of other goods and service industries...
...are all energized by the auto industry.
As an example:
Over the next few days, roughly 300,000 people will visit this show...
...and generate nearly $165 million for the Toronto economy.
The car business is big business.
It is vital to the well-being and quality of life for Canadians.
● It drives innovation.
● It drives growth.
● It shortens the distance between Canadians -- by making personal transportation affordable and safe.
And when you think back on the most memorable moments in your life, a car likely helped make them possible.
Ours is an industry that looks to the future -- and the future is looking very bright.
Look at the gains we have made over the last few years:
We have some of the safest vehicles on the roads today.
Smog forming emissions are decreasing at rapid rates – today’s hybrids emit 66% fewer smog forming emissions…
…while fuel economy is increasing at incredible rates.
And the industry’s efforts in advanced, greener and more fuel-efficient driving is reaching a younger demographic in a much stronger way.
A recent study has shown that almost 60% of Gen Y believes that hybrids are proven and reliable -- and they are willing to pay more for a hybrid than any other powertrain.
When you consider Gen Y is approximately 90 million of the North American population, they are expected to account for 40 % of vehicle sales in the next ten years.
This could equal 6 million hybrid sales in North America.
The spring selling season for the next ten years -- just started to smell a whole lot better.
In addition to advances in fuel efficiency and reducing environmental impact, our advances in communication technology are unprecedented.
Today’s cars are well on the way to meeting the needs of connected customers.
In-car electronics are becoming more compatible with the smartphones that have become the communication hubs of our lives.
The key is providing these connected activities in a way that won’t distract drivers.
While all manufacturers are striving to meet customer needs, here are some items thatToyota is working on:
● better voice recognition systems…
● i-Pad-type consoles and new concepts in touchpads…
● cameras that replace inner and outer rear-view mirrors…
● new glass technologies that block harmful sun rays and improve visibility in bad weather,
● and even steering wheel health monitors.
As an industry, we are working on many items that will serve the needs of our customers, the environment and society.
In doing so, I am extremely optimistic the auto industry will grow, prosper and have a very bright future.
In short, it’s a great time to be in the auto business.
We're entering an era of innovation that will significantly alter transportation in the 21st Century.
And the most exciting part of all is that we are just at the very beginning of this amazing journey…
Think about what it all means for Canada – what the auto economy can do for the future:
● we offer young Canadians and Americans the opportunity to advance and leave their mark,
● we create, build and adapt faster than any other mature industry,
● we are the hope and home of the next generation of engineering and design technology, advancements in computing and electronics...
● and even breaking new ground in creative arts.
Here’s what I know about the auto industry.
Its ability to innovate is second to none.
Walking this show, you will see that everywhere you look.
And we will all be reminded how there is nothing like the excitement of a new car and the emotion that it evokes.
You will see some powerful energy in this morning’s entertainment -- and then the first examples of just what this industry is capable of -- with the Toyota press reveals.
Ladies and gentlemen -- it’s going to be a great show.