Toyota New Zealand has today been announced as a finalist in the Deloitte Top 200 “Best Growth Strategy” category, sponsored by 2degrees.
Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Neeraj Lala says Toyota is immensely proud to have been selected by an esteemed judging panel and the acknowledgement reflects the company’s commitment to evolving its business in line with customer expectations.
“Our role since the company first started in 1966 was to serve NZ with the most reliable, affordable, and safe mobility solutions. That objective remains today with the addition of a new customer experience and a strong focus on sustainability” says Mr Lala.
In 2018 Toyota revolutionised the new vehicle purchase and ownership experience in New Zealand with the introduction of its “Drive Happy Project” with stores investing $40 million in the radical changes.
The Project pioneered a new way of doing business with private, business, fleet, and lease customers and has helped the company withstand the impacts of domestic COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We are taking a more customer-centric approach to car buying and the entire ownership experience to put the pleasure back into buying a vehicle, new or used,” says Mr Lala.
It includes a transparent drive away price, including all on road costs, consistent nationwide; a seven-day money back option; flexible test drive options from a larger pool of demonstrator vehicles at every Toyota store; and the ability to customise vehicles online.
Mr Lala said the vehicle buying process had not changed much in the last 50 years, yet up to 60 per cent of customers were now researching their purchase online and 10 per cent of all retail sales in New Zealand are now conducted online.
“We must make the buying process as easy and transparent as possible,” said Mr Lala, who added that global supply chain issues were creating significant delays to new vehicle deliveries.
“We are currently experiencing manufacturing delays which puts pressure on our ambition for a flawless customer experience. For those customers that are currently experiencing longer than normal wait times we apologise for the delay and thank them for their continued support and patience,” says Mr Lala.
To build its resilience to challenging economic conditions, Toyota New Zealand is focused on making better data-driven decisions, improving customer retention, and growing its electrified range of new and used vehicles.
“With one in four cars on New Zealand roads donning a Toyota badge, we have focused on offering customers the right vehicle for the task to transition as many customers as possible into low emission models.
The success of Toyota in New Zealand is driven by a team approach from our Stores around the country, our staff, and by Toyota Financial Services with finance options and mobility in the form of its Cityhop service.
“We are genuinely committed to reducing our impact on the environment, underscored by Toyota NZ’s leadership in the business community through positions on the Steering Committee of the Climate Leader’s Coalition and the Sustainable Business Council’s Advisory Board,” says Mr Lala.
Every Toyota dealership in the country, of which there are more than 60, has achieved enviromark diamond certification, acknowledging they have a robust environmental management system in place.
“We have also made public commitments to improving gender diversity in the automotive industry through our work with Global Women,” says Mr Lala.
“On top of this, we continue to focus on introducing new technologies and modes of mobility that will help support Toyota’s aim of moving away from being a traditional car company and evolving into a mobility company.
“This includes our Hydrogen Car Share Project, which sees a fleet of hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai shared by nine Auckland-based iconic New Zealand companies, and our investment in the CityHop car sharing service.
“While we are humbled to be named a finalist in the category, our core focus is ensuring we leave no customer behind by providing every kiwi the freedom to move. Our promise to New Zealanders is that we will provide innovative, low emission mobility services both now and into the future.”