Toyota is targeting 5% market share in 2015, as it celebrates 50 years in the UK, but its main focus is in the core A, B and C segments (Aygo, Yaris and Auris) where it has a 6.8% share.
It has also enjoyed a strong performance in vans, holding steady year-on-year at just over 6,100 units, despite the fact that its range is limited to just two models, the medium-size Proace and the 11-year-old Hilux pick-up.
The Hilux will be replaced next year and Toyota doesn’t rule out adding additional models to its LCV line-up, according to Toyota GB president and managing director Paul Van der Burgh. The Hiace, on sale in Asia, is one possibility.
“Previously, we didn’t have enough volume to warrant much activity ,” Van der Burgh said.
“But with the new models coming we will have more. We will do a better job and the product will have wider appeal. It’s an exciting opportunity for us.”
Total UK car volumes should top 110,000 for Toyota this year, while Lexus is slated to hit 13,000-14,000 registrations.
“We are happy with our mix ,” added Van der Burgh. “Aygo is up 28% and Avensis and Auris will support us in the second half of the year.”
Toyota’s rental registrations in the first six months were up 9% year-on-year (6,272 units), but Van der Burgh put this down to agreements with its core rental partners. “Supply was front-loaded,” he said. “That was always part of our plans. We are not trying to force the market."
Van der Burgh recognises a need to raise service levels for fleets within the dealer network. With sales traditionally biased towards retail, Toyota resource had also been focused in that area.
However, he said: “Our partners understand the opportunities for fleet business. We are looking at ways to enhance our business centre proposition and are working with fleets to understand a better way of providing what they need.
“We want to be easy to deal with, from a fleet experience.”
Part of the programme is wrapped up in a more extensive customer experience initiative, focusing on the way the car buying process is changing from face-to-face to online. “We have to follow this with our sales process,” Van der Burgh added.
It will include investment in social media to interact with customers and company car drivers particularly outside office hours. Toyota is also working on a ‘best dealer in town’ award to recognise those business centres offering the best customer service.
Relatively limited resource means Toyota has to be precise in its fleet targets – typically small to medium fleets of up to 2,000 vehicles. It has restricted business with the largest fleets due to the high discount strategy required.
“We want stable relationships so we can provide the best service, but we won’t chase sales with high discounts,” Van der Burgh said. He is confident that the improvements to Avensis and Auris will increase their appeal with fleets.
“User-choosers will look at them in a different light. We expect an uplift ,” he said.