Toyota leaves Pyeongchang podium to South Korean competitors

Toyota Yaris GRMN

For a significant new Olympics sponsor, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor is unusually undetectable at the Pyeongchang winter Games.

Unlike other leading worldwide sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Visa, Toyota is no place to be seen, having sent only a few dozen representatives to South Korea for the occasion.

Its vehicles are missing from Olympic fleets, the logo is nowhere to be seen and only checking out Toyota authorities from other countries such as the United States, whose teams it independently sponsors, can wear Olympic rings on their clothes here.

That’s because Toyota recognized before signing with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nearly 3 years ago that these Games, like the South Korean car market, would constantly belong to Toyota’s regional competitors, Hyundai and Kia.

“Toyota felt that quiting some of our benefits from these collaborations at Pyeongchang 2018 was the ideal thing to do after consulting the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee,” a Toyota spokesperson stated.

Toyota signed its nine-year deal with the IOC in 2015, after Pyeongchang was granted the Games, the result of a 10-year project that had been backed by Hyundai and Kia which were already in different sponsorship talks with local organizers.

Toyota still has the right as international IOC sponsor to use the Olympics logos in its advertising somewhere else worldwide, and it did so prominently this month in two commercials throughout the United States Super Bowl, when a 30-second advertisement can cost $5 million.

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