Toyota expects GT86 'halo effect'
06 June 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Toyota's new sports car, the GT86, will have a "halo effect" on the brand, according to UK managing director Jon Williams.
Speaking to BusinessCar, he said: "Before the launch people have been talking about it and visiting our website where they didn't before -
and they do go on to look at other areas of the site. We can add energy to the Toyota brand and get people to come and have a look at us. It gets people talking."
The GT86 is unlikely to have much impact on the corporate market in terms of sales, but Williams said that the company is expecting to sell some cars through contract hire.
He also said that the firm will be advertising the car on television, which is a bold move for such a small-scale seller: "We're going to [advertise] it on TV. This is a huge thing to do based on the volumes and gets us on the consideration list."
He noted that the firm's core fleet model, the Avensis, has seen a rise in sales since its facelift in late 2011 and that further increases were expected: "The Avensis is up 5% year to date
in the UK. That's due to cost of ownership and spec in particular. It's been well received by corporate customers and that seems to be building. We're expecting that trend to continue."
The company has a number of significant product launches on the horizon, including two new hybrids - the Prius Plus and the Prius plug-in - along with a new Auris in December and a new RAV-4 small 4x4 due in the first quarter of 2013.
Williams said that the firm has focused on keeping costs to a minimum for business customers: "We've done a lot of work on costs and we're just about to launch an app for business customers dealing with total cost of ownership."
He is also expecting growth as a result of the product portfolio and the company's efforts to cut running costs: "I'm looking for us to grow. We have a relevant product line-up, outstanding cost of ownership and we should be doing better. We have an outstanding range to make us appealing to corporates. We're trying to match the product improvement with service to customers."
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