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Toyota pledges new fleet focus

Date: 11 January 2012   |   Author:

Toyota is promising a renewed focus on the business car market in 2012, as well as a new breed of more "engaging and fun to drive cars", after admitting to a fleet conference of almost 500 guests that its corporate performance in recent years has not been good enough.

The brand's fleet and remarketing boss, Ewan Shephard, said the event, held in Birmingham in December, was designed to show "how we think Toyota and Lexus products are fit for fleet and how important fleet customers are to the company".

He added that Toyota is seeking to "sustainably" grow its fleet share from 3% to more than 4% off the back of a raft of new products, more investment in communication and relationship building, and demonstrating the firm's "outstanding" cost of ownership.

"We are now stronger and now prepared to grow again. We will only achieve sustained growth if we make better cars," said Toyota managing director Jon Williams. "Future Toyota products must be engaging and fun."

"Over the next three years we plan to transform our brand and grow. We have 19 product enhancements," said commercial director Matt Harrison.

Toyota used the conference to show numerous new products coming to market, from the revised Prius, Prius+ and Prius Plug-in coming this spring to sneak advanced previews of models, but those not due until 2013 or beyond that were protected by a strict confidentiality agreement.

The firm also announced a Fleet Services Charter bringing together new and existing commitments to the corporate sector in one document. It includes a network of 90 business centre dealers, comprehensive demonstration vehicle availability, a personalised web portal, minimum 28-day notification of price rises and the promise of improved servicing with a courtesy car on request or free collection and delivery, as well as a booking guaranteed within three days if no courtesy car is required.

The company is also promising not to charge for exterior bulbs, wiper blades or screen wash, said it won't add an environmental charge at a service and will carry out a free 37-point visual safety inspection after any service or repair work.

"Complete customer satisfaction is a key part of the DNA for Toyota and Lexus," said Shepherd.

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