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TOYOTA: 'Year of opportunity'

Date: 01 July 2013

After historically focusing more on the retail market than fleet, 2013 is the year Toyota targets the corporate arena, as the firm's commercial director Matt Harrison explains to Paul Barker.

As is generally the case with all Japanese brands, Toyota has always been a manufacturer more successful in the retail arena than in the business car market, but 2013 is the time when it makes a more serious dent into the corporate sphere after spending 2012 preparing to make an assault.

"We spent an awful lot of effort [last] year to get a foundation in fleet - it's a fundamental pillar of our growth strategy," Toyota GB commercial director Matt Harrison tells BusinessCar. "For quite a while Toyota has overperformed in retail and underperformed in fleet - we're constantly pushing 5% in retail and getting more like 3-4% in fleet."

The reason for that, and the big thing Toyota is rectifying in 2013, is the competitiveness of what it describes as its C-segment product, across lower medium hatchback, estate, SUV and MPV - essentially the Auris, Rav4 and Verso models. "Across all elements we've not had the product desirability to really deliver, but we're putting the foundations in for significant growth this year."