Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) is pleased that the economy has been opened up following two months of hard lockdown that put businesses as well as the local automotive industry through the wringer. During lockdown Alert Levels 5 and 4, the South African automotive sales and services were only limited to essential services personnel.
“We may have not been operating at full capacity as TSAM, but we are proud of the work carried out by our dealerships and parts services that kept various essential services vehicles running – including minibus taxis, armed response units and medical services – when the country was on Alert Levels 5 and 4,” says Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TSAM.
For the month of April, during Alert Level 5, Toyota supplied more than 2 600 parts pieces to the local dealer network with the express aim of supporting the mobility of all essential workers. In May, Toyota supplied more than 1.1 million parts pieces to its dealers in order to support essential vehicles operating under Alert Level 4. A further 163 000 parts pieces were exported into African countries between 18 and 31 May.
TSAM is also pleased that its parts’ distribution business was operating at 80% of pre-lockdown volumes while its vehicle service operations was at almost full capacity by the end of May. The sales of new vehicles were indolent in the last two months due to the government-imposed lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus, but the motoring industry welcomes the relaxation of the regulations that now allow for the opening up of business operations.
According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), although the 12 932 new vehicles sold in May 2020 still reflect a substantial decline of 27 496 units (68%) compared to 40 428 units sold in May last year, this was a noteworthy improvement from the April 2020 performance when only 574 units were shifted.
TSAM accounted for 1 848 new vehicle sales in May while a further 1 418 pre-owned units were sold through Toyota Automark. In the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) segment, Toyota staked a claim of 34.1% – courtesy of class-leading sales by Hilux and Hiace, which were both in demand for many essential services during May. According to Theron, the industry is not out of the woods yet – despite the relaxation of lockdown regulations – and “we still have tough times ahead of us”.
“The increase in the price of fuel this month – ironically, when most people are going back to work – isn’t going to bring any reprieve to the economy that’s already bleeding jobs and marred with business closures. Our role, as a corporate citizen and as a responsible organisation, is to continue affording support to the government directives in dealing with the pandemic while doing all we can to keep businesses afloat,” says Theron.
However, the Toyota business machinery is propelled by more than just new vehicles sales, and therefore thrives on the commitment and goodwill received from all its ambassadors and stakeholders – including customers, fans, its wide dealer network as well as its employees. “We are confident that the Toyota brand, with its sound business principles and values, will weather the COVID-19 storm with great cautious determination and dexterity. In addition, our business strategy is not only limited to new vehicle sales, but also encompasses pre-owned sales as well as aftersales service operations. We are therefore going to galvanise our support behind our hard-working Toyota, Hino and Lexus dealers as we negotiate these trying economic times,” concludes Theron.