Fleet News

Toyota woos fleets with business network

TOYOTA will revamp its network of business centres this year and hopes to attract more small businesses to the brand.

Launched in 2003, the Toyota Business Centre Network comprises 86 of the company’s 205 outlets and specialises in commercial vehicles and fleet sales.

Toyota’s annual fleet sales reached 51,876 in 2004, an increase of more than 8,000 over the previous year, and much of it can be put down to channelling fleet sales through the business centres where staff have specialist expertise.

However, Toyota is only expecting an increase of just over 1,000 units in 2005, but much of it will be achieved through centres concentrating on attracting local businesses.

Peter Howarth, national business centre manager, said: ‘There is not much growth planned this year because we want to rebalance some of our mix towards small fleets. We will also be doing fewer short- term rental vehicles than last year.’

During 2005 the number of business centres will be increased to 92 and there will be three different facility levels.

The ‘Level One’ centres will have at least one designated business specialist, who might also have another function on the retail side of the business. Demonstrators will include a diesel Corolla and diesel Avensis, as well as two different commercial vehicles, while maximum fleet volume generated by them will be up to 150.

‘Level Two’ and ‘Level Three’ centres have dedicated staff, a greater range of demonstrators and higher anticipated fleet volume.

The changes will mean an increase in the business centre staff headcount as well as increased demonstrator availability.

Other developments to be carried out by Toyota in 2005 will include a customer experience survey, performance evaluation through ‘mystery shoppers’, more involvement with local Toyota centres when delivering leased cars and the formation of a business centre committee made up of dealer principals and business centre managers.

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