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AMA x Toyota

Leading Challenging Business Conversations

This week, AMA was proud to be joined by Dennis Mathews, Dana D’Aquila, Aaron Neuman, and Jackson Tolke from the Central Atlantic Regional Toyota Office! In an exciting team workshop, members were able to get an inside look at some real-life scenarios the Toyota employees encounter on a daily basis. But first, let’s get some background information about who Toyota is and what they do.

Everyone has heard of Toyota. So their employees surely must make and sell cars right? Well, not exactly. Beyond the basics, Toyota also designs, supplies, accessories, finances, markets, service repairs, and supplies parts for cars. The employees at the regional office consult with dealers about cars. They represent Toyota to the dealers and the dealers to Toyota, therefore acting as middlemen between the two. So what exactly does that look like?

To give AMA a glimpse, the employees split up members into four groups, and give a unique scenario to each. In the parts purchase scenario, the parts manager who works for the dealer is purchasing aftermarket A/C compressors from a local supplier because they are cheaper and easier to install. They receive a 5% kickback of each part so they are happy to continue purchasing aftermarket A/C compressors instead of Toyota’s. However, the district manager on the Toyota side wants the dealers to purchase Toyota’s A/C compressors because parts purchased from Toyota generate a 10% higher gross profit for the dealership compared to the aftermarket part. Not to mention, although the Toyota part is $50 more than the aftermarket cost, it has a similar design which leads to ease of installation and similar labor costs coupled with a higher warranty. Therefore, Toyota wants the dealership to sell customers the new A/C compressor, as the dealer represents the Toyota brand.

Toyota employees discussing scenarios with each group.

Since each party has different motivations, it is not an easy conversation to have. In order to practice having these difficult business conversations, members got a chance to role-play as the Toyota representative while our guests played the dealership parts manager. After much back and forth discussion and analysis of empirical data, a conclusion was reached for each scenario, although the parts managers did show resistance. At the end of the exercise Dennis Mathews, the Northern Virginia District Manager, laughed and said “this is exactly how it goes in real life.”

Aaron leading scenario 3 with AMA member.

Now that AMA members are prepared for real-life business scenarios, here are some Toyota opportunities where they can apply their new skills!

  • Summer Internship

    • Juniors

    • 12 weeks

    • Roles & responsibilities

      • Rotate through various region departments: demand & supply, customer relations, sales, service & parts, technical engineering

      • Collaborate with other interns to solve a region problem and present to management

    • Progression

      • Management trainee

  • Management Trainee

    • Senior/recent grads'

    • MAX 18 months

    • Roles & responsibilities

      • Rotate through various region departments: demand & supply, customer relations, sales, service & parts, technical engineering

      • Travel with various field travelers and assist on dealer contracts

      • Responsible for region reports and projects

    • Progression

      • Vehicle product training specialist

      • Smartpath field manager

      • District service and parts manager

      • District manager

Check out to learn more and apply! Thank you so much to Dennis, Dana, Aaron, and Jackson for taking the time to run this workshop with UMD AMA!

- Rumi Petrova

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