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New Toyota Business trim kicks off with Avensis

Date: 31 March 2014   |   Author:

Toyota is about to launch a new business car-focused trim level called Business Edition, coming first to the Avensis, with the possibility of extending it to the Auris and Verso if it's deemed a success.

"What you have to do in the D-segment [upper medium] is offer value for money and a lot of car for the money - look at what Vauxhall and Ford are doing and it will be along those lines," Toyota's fleet boss Neil Broad told BusinessCar.

"You need to fight a value war - lower price but more kit."

Broad said the new trim will be primarily be aimed at user-choosers, and precedes an exterior and interior revamp of the firm's upper medium challenger around 12 months from now.

The car will also receive the new 1.6-litre diesel engine that recently went into the Verso mini-MPV, a unit born out of a joint development with BMW. 

Broad is also looking for an improvement in the way Toyota dealers handle fleet customers, with premium sister brand Lexus lighting the way.

"Lexus is ahead of Toyota in understanding and recognising the importance of fleet," he declared.

"The market is 50:50, so our approach needs to be, and Toyota has not been. Lexus has more so because it has had to be, and Toyota will learn from that."

Broad has recently completed a dealer roadshow to try and communicate the message about the growth in fleet care, emphasising the importance of looking after business buyers.

"We want them to take the time to look after customers even of big fleet user-choosers where you don't service their account," Broad continued.

"Their partner might be a potential buyer and their whole perception of the dealer will be shaped by the experience, and they may pick up service business from what are traditionally higher-mileage drivers.

"Open your eyes to the bigger picture and Lexus is there pretty much," said Broad, also pointing to the multi-site dealer businesses where the fleet specialist is housed in one dealership so the others don't consider themselves a fleet option. 

"We've got to look after them better than the competition, and anyone from any size of fleet going in for information or test drive be welcomed," he added.

"We were too preoccupied by retail, and people need to say they are a sales executive, not a retail sales executive."