Like any business, Toyota Motor Co. is always looking for new markets, and it appears to have struck oil deep in the heart of Texas.

The Lonestar State already accounts for 70-percent of Tundra pickup truck sales, and the automaker is now opening dealerships called "rural opportunity markets" (ROMs), in rural areas in the eastern and central sections, far from its traditional urban areas. The new expansion is part of Toyota's plan to maintain its current growth rate, which analysts predict will be halved between now and 2010.  

"Right now, their momentum is strong enough to keep them at 5-to-8-percent [annual growth] for the next couple of years" says Wes Brown, an analyst with Iceology, a consultancy firm. "After that, I think it will be in the 1-to-2-percent range."

While Toyota is building new dealerships, its luxury brand Lexus is becoming a part of the Texas community. The division is now the official luxury car for the MLB's Texas Rangers. Lexus receives in-park and on-air advertising; has had several sections of Ameriquest Field in Arlington branded and offers free valet parking to anyone driving a Lexus to a home game.

More details on the Toyota rural dealerships and the Lexus/Texas Rangers deal can be found at the links.

[Source: Dallas Morning News and Dallas Business Journal]

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