Toyota earns sports sponsorship success at 2016 Dakar Rally

Toyota Gazoo Racing won honors on the podium at Dakar 2016, where one-third of cars were Toyotas.

Toyota’s new role as official supplier of the Dakar Rally in 2016 was rewarded with a double victory. Toyota earned a place on the podium as Ginel de Villiers of South Africa piloted a Toyota Hilux to a third place finish when the race concluded today. And Toyota reinforced its image as the car of choice of Dakar Rally drivers. One-third of the competing teams drove Toyota cars or trucks to the finishing line, more than any other brand. The thirteen stage event over rugged terrain in hot summer temperatures made the trek to the finish line a tribute to the vehicles’ durability.

Toyota’s support of the 2016 Dakar Rally provides a good example of how sports sponsorships can support brand management. The fifteen day event provided extensive broadcasting and reinforcement of the Toyota brand. The advantage was particularly notable when compared to a “quick win” at a weekend race. The remote locations near the Andes Mountains of South America made the race a vivid image for television audiences. Television proved an especially effective medium to reinforce the Toyota brand with advertising spots and sponsored segments.

And the Toyotas just kept on coming at Dakar 2016. With one-third of the car category competitors bearing the Toyota brand, the television broadcast on Fox Sports beamed an “All Toyota All The Time” image for the event. Toyota drivers Leeroy Poutter and Vladimir Vasilyev strengthened this image with fifth and eighth place finishes, respectively.

The Dakar 2016 Rally also boosted the image of Peugeot. The tam of French driver Stephane Peterhansel won a first place finish in a Peugeot 208. The winners clocked a 35 minute lead over second place finisher Nasser Al-Attiyah, driving a Mini. Peugeot is not as well positioned as Toyota to benefit from the global visibility, since Peugeot’s distribution network is largely limited to Europe and South America.

Toyota can put its good experience in sports sponsorship at Dakar 2016 to good use. Last year, the Japanese automaker became the first automotive firm to become an Olympic TOP sponsor in an agreement that will continue through 2024.

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