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Toyota’s plans for South Africa

Over the next three years, Toyota South Africa wants to significantly grow its local footprint in line with the industry, which is projected to grow by 13% to over 610,000 sales per annum.

It plans to do this by focusing heavily on three rapidly-growing segments, the A, B, and sub-B categories – which mostly comprise the country’s “small” hatchbacks and SUVs.

2025 Targets

Toyota’s light commercial vehicles including the Hilux and Hiace have enjoyed steady market share for quite some time and this is expected to continue into 2025, although the company is not projecting too much expansion in this arena.

For its most-popular model, the Hilux Double Cab, the manufacturer only anticipates 8% growth between 2023 and 2025.

As such, focus has been shifted to smaller vehicles to boost overall market domination.

The first steps of this plan have already come to fruition with the launch of the highly-popular Starlet and Urban Cruiser, with the Agya also doing its part for the automaker’s local sub-compact success.

In 2020, Toyota had a 10% share in the country’s small-car segment which grew to 16% the year thereafter mostly thanks to these three models. But a “big challenge remains” for the manufacturer as, by the end of 2025, it plans to own 25% of this market.

This will see its current range of compact cars updated over the next few years, as well as the introduction of a multitude of new models including the automaker’s first fully-electric SUV, the bZ4X.

A few of these vehicles are expected to be unveiled at next year’s State of the Motoring Industry (SOMI) address in January.

In support of this ambitious endeavor, Toyota has built plenty of space to grow at its upgraded Africa Parts Centre (TAPC), which is the largest automotive parts distribution centre in the Southern Hemisphere, it said.

This facility is now able to carry enough parts for a particular vehicle for up to 15 years after the last unit rolled off the production line, with each individual model range requiring roughly 3,500-4,000 components.

The company has also serviced no fewer than 1.4 million customer cars this year and it wants to grow this number even more.

This will be done by providing more after-sales incentives to owners who keep their vehicles long after the service plan has concluded to ensure they still have a reliable place to get genuine parts.

Throughout the coming years, the company aims to offer these services to owners of Toyota vehicles between 8-15 years old, as this is where data shows the fewest drivers install legitimate parts.

Prospecton update

Toyota delivered good news for local customers as it confirmed that the Durban-based Prospecton plant is nearly fully-operational again after sustaining severe flood damage in April.

After the incident, the company immediately started the procedure of removing and replacing tools and components that were beyond repair, while meticulously cleaning others and bringing them back to life.

Toyota said that, had it not been for global lockdowns, shipping constraints, and parts shortages, it would have replaced all the damaged equipment with new ones, but this would have taken around six to nine months longer before the plant could be at work again.

As such, the South African subsidiary made the decision to repair what it could and import the rest with the help of colleagues from the head office in Japan in order to get production lines back up and running as soon as possible.

The reparation work is inching closer to full completion by the day and “essentially all our [product] lines” have been restarted, said Andrew Kirby, president and CEO of Toyota South Africa.

The Hino line was already running a few weeks after the flood, with production of the Hilux, Fortuner, Hiace, and Corolla Cross also having resumed since then.

The Corolla Quest will start rolling through the doors again in August, marking one of the last phases before the plant is complete.

Toyota said it will completely replace the repaired tooling and equipment over the next few years as global conditions recover, ensuring there are no weak points in its domestic production cycle.

The below photo shows the Prospecton plant at the time of the flood; 88% of the completely built-up vehicles on site were written off.

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