Toyota’s new way of selling vehicles, the Drive Happy Project, is on target despite its relatively quiet start in April, with 1362 sales recorded to date since launch.
“We expected a significant dip in sales for April,” said Toyota New Zealand’s CEO Alistair Davis. “Transitioning to a new way of doing business is not going to happen overnight, or even in one month. We are in this for the long term.”
Davis said introducing the Drive Happy programme in April was partially by design.
“We had a good March, with Toyota stores contributing to this as they increased their demonstrator fleets as part of the Drive Happy Project.”
The first month of the new financial year – April – is also slower for the fleet, rental and lease business, said Mr Davis. “This has allowed us to fine-tune some of our system changes without the pressure of the usual larger sales volumes.”
He said customers had to get used to the idea of a Toyota Driveaway Price (TDP) – considerably lower than the previous recommended retail prices – with no haggling.
“People can still buy a new Toyota at their local store, with or without doing online research,” said Mr Davis.
However, most customers are making use of the improved online features with Toyota confirming a 10 per cent increase in visitors to their website on the previous month, with 15% of those making use of the online car builder.
The Toyota Driveaway Price includes delivery costs, number plates, registration, a full tank of fuel, floor mats, 1000kms of road user charges on diesel vehicles and a seven-day money back policy if the customer is not happy with the vehicle.
“Customers have more options to get the exact model in the colour they want from the large pool of vehicles held in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch,” said Mr Davis.
Toyota New Zealand expected and planned for slower sales with the introduction of Drive Happy, said Mr Davis.
“There’s a transition period for us as our network of stores and customers to get used to the improvements we’re making. We’re excited about the future and the opportunities these changes have opened up for us.”