GROUP VP-GENERAL MANAGER,
THE NUMBERS: Even in the industry slowdown, the Toyota line has eked out a small share jump to 14.1% through September -- from 13.9% a year ago -- even though the brand's new-vehicle sales slid by 26% to 1.09 million units. First half measured media spending declined 17% to $430 million from the same period the year before.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Other key players on Mr. Carter's team: Scion chief, VP Jack Hollis; Toyota brand's Allen Vaught, manager-internet marketing; and Michael Nelson, manager-interactive communications, Toyota brand. Mr. Carter's counterpart at Lexus is Mark Templin, with David Nordstrom the luxury brand's VP-marketing.
THE CHALLENGES: It's lonely at the top. Historically untouchable, Toyota has seen some of its Teflon wear off this year after the carmaker's biggest U.S. recall ever for floor mats and a probe into potential corrosion problems with its Tundra pickup, which has suffered from sagging sales. High-profile lawsuits surfaced this year: One alleges an online "terror marketing campaign" for the Matrix and another claims the eco-friendly and popular Prius has a safety defect -- upgraded optional headlights can fail. Still, many auto experts predict these won't do much to damage Toyota's sterling quality image.
THE AGENCIES: Despite creating much-liked Prius launch spots in June, creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, owned by Publicis, faces a jump ball against Dentsu for a spring assignment.