Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Family Trip to Europe & Israel Reveals New Discoveries of Toyota as a Global Brand


Ever since I was first selected as a member of the Toyota Women Influencers Network about six months ago, I've never stopped learning about all things Toyota. For sure all the different auto models offered by this major car maker are mind-boggling -- there is really a vehicle for every lifestyle for just about any budget.  Along the way, I've become aware that Toyota USA makes a significant contribution to American employment in the automotive industry through its three very busy U.S. manufacturing plants, too.

Old-fashioned desert transportation: My Triplets, Negev Desert, Israel
Yet, it wasn't until our family took a vacation trip to Europe this summer that I realized that Toyota isn't just in Japan and the USA, it's also popular abroad with visibility in so many other places I hadn't realized before -- in Europe as well as Israel. Indeed, Toyota was in every country we visited in June and July: France, the Czech Republic, Holland and Israel.

Toyota in Amsterdam, Holland where bikes even outnumber cars
I've been to Europe numerous times before but this trip turned out to be really different. As retold in this post I saw through cities and countries we visited through the eyes of an ambassador for Toyota. Every where we went I was on the lookout for Toyota vehicles. Almost without exception, in each region we toured, I saw few larger Toyota vehicles such as flat bed trucks, SUVs and other gas guzzlers.

Parking spots along the canals are at a premium in Amsterdam
The fact that there are so many smaller cars isn't really surprising, especially when you consider that fuel is even more expensive in both Europe and the Middle East than it is here in America. In fact gas was the equivalent of about $7.50 U.S. dollars per gallon in Israel and Europe prices weren't much different.

Toyota on an Israeli highway in the interior of this small country
The majority of the foreign Toyotas I saw were primarily compacts and subcompacts, small enough to fit down the centuries-old narrow cobblestone streets that are common in many big cities in older parts of the modern world such as Jerusalem, Prague, Paris, and Amstersdam.

Prague Cathedral, streets are narrow in ancient cities like this in the Czech Republic
Particularly throughout the State of Israel and in the antiquated city of Amsterdam I was excited to see an obvious commitment to green living. Evidence of greater fuel efficiency in practice was everywhere with all the different types of hybrid and energy-efficient Prius cars both parked and driving local streets and freeways.

On this trip our family of 6 walked up stairs to the top of Eiffel Tour, Paris
I did find a few Toyotas here and there in Prague. But Toyotas were ever present en masse in places like Holland and Israel where other modes of transportation often supersede the automobile.

Toyota with Rijks Museum, Amsterdam, Holland in background
For example, Amsterdam is the bicycle capital of the world with more people pedaling their way around the city than people who drives cars -- yet it didn't seem hard to find different types of Toyotas from Camry and Prius to Corolla and Yaris models dotting the streets. Likewise in Israel where camels are still used for transportation by the Bedouins of the Negev Desert, I noticed plenty of Toyotas in all the towns, farm villages, kibbutzim and major metropolitan areas like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that we visited.

On the road to Jerusalem, Israel another Toyota is sighted

Looking for Toyotas wherever we went was definitely not something I planned on doing when we set out on this trip. Yet it opened my eyes yet to another facet of the brand I had never considered before. In fact, one of the true highlights of my hunt for Toyota adventure on this vacation was discovering Toyota's main office in Israel emblazoned with the family company name on a high rise beside the freeway on the way into Tel Aviv.

Toyota Israel Headquarters, Tel Aviv

This is definitely one vacation that I'll remember for a long time. Taking pictures of cars and having my family help me find Toyotas to photograph for this post was a blast.

Toyota Museum at Headquarters in Torrance, California
FTC Disclosure: I am a member of the Toyota Women Influencers Network TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota or any of its brands. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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