Toyota taps pretty public figure to break the ice in Asia
Ando adds a cool edge to help Toyota slide into the Asia market.Adored Ice Queen Miki Ando has become the face of Toyota Motor Co.'s push into previously untapped markets, according to Shukan Taishu (12/5).
The idolized teenager, whose athletic prowess, stunning looks and youth have combined to make her the darling of the ice and introduced millions of new fans to the world of figure skating.
And it seems the 17-year-old sweetheart is set to spearhead Toyota's new approach to opening up previously untouched markets.
"Ando has received the offer of a full-time job at Toyota from spring next year," a reporter for a sports newspaper tells Shukan Taishu. "Toyota's offer reaffirmed its commitment to her, as well as confirmed her powerful popularity and ability on the ice."
Toyota is building up quite a stable of high profile Japanese sports stars amongst the ranks of its employees, including dual Olympic gold medallist Ryoko Tani and speed skater Satoshi Terao.
Mikitty, the nickname given to the ice skater, is expected to become a powerful addition to the automaker's imposing sports promotion team.
"Toyota pretty much dominates the European market and now Asia has become the next huge target it has turned its eyes toward," a hack from a national business daily tells Shukan Taishu. "Toyota will put its high profile athlete-employees right out in front and center to plug the company and do everything it can to improve the corporate image."
But it looks like Mikitty isn't the only big name in the car manufacturer's sights.
"Toyota is looking to take on some pretty big names in Japanese sports," an insider at a major advertising agency tells Shukan Taishu. "There's Athens Olympics gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi, figure skating's rising star Mao Asada and snowboarder Mellow Imai." (By Ryann Connell)
November 25, 2005