TORRANCE, Calif., July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America, was recognized as Industry Leader of the Year at the Automotive Hall of Fame's 75th Anniversary Gala on July 24, 2014. The event was held at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
"I am honored to be accepting this distinguished award," said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America. "I accept it on behalf of my teammates, the more than 40,000 Toyota associates in North America who have helped me achieve this dream."
Also recognized was Ken Gross, writer, curator and historian and Frank Venegas, Jr., group chairman and chief executive officer. Both were given the Distinguished Service Citation award. Additionally, four industry leaders were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the ceremony, including Keith Crain and J.D. "Dave" Power III.
The Automotive Hall of Fame is constantly expanding its role as a primary source of inspiration for those working in the global automotive industry. Best known for celebrating the insights and ingenuity of people who have contributed to the auto industry's success, the Hall of Fame has inducted nearly 300 people since 1939.
Lentz joined Toyota in 1982 as the merchandising manager for its Portland region, where he later became the distribution manager and field operations manager. Since then he held several executive positions, including Toyota division group vice president and general manager, where he oversaw all sales, logistics and marketing activities for Toyota and Scion regional sales offices and distributors. He also served as Toyota division group vice president of marketing and vice president of Scion, responsible for the initial launch of a new line of vehicles designed for the next generation of new-car buyers.
Jim serves as chairman on the board of directors for The Global Automakers and is a member of the executive advisory board for Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver (DU), his alma mater.
Toyota (NYSE: TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company's extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com