‘Why Toyota remains Nigeria’s best auto brand’

Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL) has restated its commitment to customers’ satisfaction which it said is driven by the principles of the “Toyota way,” that is, “continuous improvement and respect for people.

The Managing Director, TNL, Mr Kunle Ade-Ojo, stated this during its 2016 Customer Engagement Forum, held recently in Lagos.

According to him, Toyota is an auto company which has respect for people, with a belief that its business success is a creation of individual efforts and team work, as well as its customers, partners, associates and other stakeholders.

This philosophy, Ade-Ojo said is the reason the auto company maintains its leadership position in Nigeria’s auto sector.

He said it was its customers first principle that made Toyota mobilise its customers for free checks of their vehicles at the last recall of faulty Toyota vehicles.

“Toyota Nigeria Limited is the only company in Nigeria that has consistently informed the public about developments in the sector as far as Toyota is concerned.

“Our customers mean a lot and we go a long way to ask them to bring in their vehicles for checks, though the specs brought into the country then were manufactured in Japan and not the faulty American specs,” he said.

he said“Toyota also continuously trains its staff to ensure they are up to date on the changing technology.

“In pricing we may be higher than competitors, but in terms of maintenance, we are the best. It is cheaper to maintain a Toyota than other brands,” Ade-Ojo said.

He said the hike in the dollar exchange rate had contributed to changes in Toyota prices, but promised that customers would still have value for their money.

Answering stakeholders’ questions on the rising purchasing powers of vehicles, Ade-Ojo said it was due to the unstable dollar exchange rate.

According to him: “CBN began the exchange rate at N288.5, but which later changed in a couple of weeks, now, the exchange rate is over 300, so, the instability in the economy and dollar rate tell on vehicle pricing,” Ade-Ojo said.

Likewise on the spare parts, he explained that spare parts also got worse this year, adding that “it takes six months to stock new parts, likewise the forex issue affect purchases.”

He said to arrest the situation, “in a couple of weeks, Toyota partners will be brought in for brainstorming on how things can be put into shape. We are aware of issues involved and working to resolve them.”

He charged that to enjoy Toyota’s facilities, especially its after sales and warranty package, people should patronise Toyota accredited dealers.

He said there are dealers who do not get their vehicles from Toyota Nigeria, hence, whoever patronises them, may though enjoy cheaper prices as some of them evade tax, the reason they could afford to lower prices after buying from America and the Middle East.

However, Ade-Ojo said, the quality is guaranteed if bought from accredited dealers, and customers would surely have value for their money, but which is not guaranteed from grey sellers.

“The issue here is that, we pay the right duty which is 70 per cent of the cost price, which plus other charges may double the cost price.

“Now, prices can’t be the same because most of the grey dealers don’t pay correct duties, hence they sell at reduced price.

“We have a standard retail price among the dealers. Sometimes, individual dealers from their own volition can decide to give customers a particular amount to make a deal.

“In pricing we may be higher than competitors, but in terms of maintenance, we are the best. It is cheaper to maintain a Toyota than other brands.

“We continue to bring in the fiber engines because these are what perform optimally with the peculiarity of the market. In the proper analysis, if you do your costing, you will discover you are saving money.

“Prices are going up because of rise in dollar rates. The volume of vehicle usage is high in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. To establish a workshop costs a lot of money, so setting up a workshop in a particular location will depend on the spread of customers to a particular area.

“Once a vehicle is tampered with by someone who is not an accredited dealer, such vehicle becomes unwarrantable,” Ade-Ojo said.