What's new for 2016?
Neil Broad, general manager, Toyota and Lexus Fleet Services: From a Toyota perspective, 2016 sees the imminent July introduction of the All New Hilux. The latest incarnation combines updates to its off road capabilities with the injection of SUV like interior quality. Hot on its heels will be the September introduction of the All New Proace medium duty van. New Proace brings Toyota into the heart of the segment with a much broader product offering of lengths, engines and variants to be followed at the turn of the year by passenger car Verso variants in multiple guises. New Prius was introduced earlier in the year building on its technology with a combination of looks and driveability.
Lexus product development has been incessant in recent times with the RC 300h joining its muscle bound RCF family member, along with the new generation RX, and with GS supplementing the standard car with a hugely powerful GS F version that set a few pulses racing at CCIA in the hands of our pro drivers.
What are your hopes for 2016?
NB: 2016 is another year of evolution or kaizen in our parlance. We aim to improve products, services and accessibility to continue to drive towards our fleet goal of being easy to do business with.
Our hybrid mix exceeds 30% and with 50% targeted in the very near future, we can, across both brands, stand behind the view that this is mainstream technology.
What new initiatives are you introducing for fleets?
NB: The most important word we are currently focussing on is localisation. The industry wastes time and money with inefficient delivery structures exacerbated by the multiple stakeholders that can become involved in a fleet transaction. We want to be able to offer excellence in handover and customer care and are working both internally and externally to begin to shape a better way of operating that reduces waste and increases customer control.
What’s the biggest automotive issue facing fleets this year?
NB: Uncertainty! Exchange rates, Brexit, taxation and future emissions legislation all make the task of the fleet manager a tough one. We have to aim to assist where we can with giving fleet managers confidence that investment in our products will protect them as much as possible from future shifts in policy or economic circumstances.