Following a challenging year for the auto industry, automaker Toyota is heading into 2018 with optimism, betting on the quality of its products and services and the trust of its customers, to defy the new year.
The brand also ramping up efforts with business partners, such as the Toyota dealer network and Toyota Financial Services to meet its goals, company executives said during a meeting with member of the local media.
Nancy Navales, vice president of Toyota of Puerto Rico said, “2017 was a year of lessons that encourage us to move forward with purpose. We were not exempt from the effects of [Hurricane] María or the socioeconomic situation, but thanks to the support of customers and business partners, we maintained our leadership, and it will be that way during 2018.”
Toyota de Puerto Rico closed 2017 with a market share of 33.4 percent, increasing its sales by 5.0 percent compared to the previous year. Its most popular models led a total of six segments.
Yaris led in the entry sub-segment, Corolla in the standard sub-compact, the C-HR in the entry SUV, RAV4 in the small SUV, Highlander in the mid SUV, and the Tacoma in the small pickup categories.
Meanwhile, Lexus ended the year as the top brand in the luxury market, with a 24 percent stake, which executives attributed to positive sales of the IS and NX models.
This year, Toyota hopes to continue the same “slow and steady” sales to end the year with an 3.4 percent sales increase. Another goal for Toyota is continuing to strengthen its leadership in customer satisfaction in the areas of sales and service, with a goal of surpassing the 90 percent mark in both segments, executives said.
“Given the island’s situation and the reality for many customers, we have been cautious and have set conservative but achievable goals,” Navales said.
“This by putting a high priority on providing quality products and services that meet the needs of our customers and exceed their expectations. This commitment to them is what has enabled us to sell more than one million units since the brand was established on the island and continue to be one of the favorite brands of Puerto Ricans,” she added.
The portfolio of new models that Toyota will unveil during 2018 also reflects the commitment the company has to innovation and quality, executives noted. New editions of the Avalon, the Corolla hatchback and Lexus LS will roll into dealers this year.
Toyota will also remain committed to the strengthening of its dealer network, for which dealers invest $6.2 million to remodel and renovate a number of locations.
Meanwhile, Brett Beals, general manager of Toyota Financial Services, recapped on 2017 efforts, including offering a 120-day moratorium to all its customers and three years of free oil change and filter in purchase of new vehicles.
It also contributed to the island’s restructuring efforts with a donation of $140,000 to the American Red Cross Chapter of Puerto Rico and another $40,000 to Boys & Girls Club of Las Margaritas for supplies.
“Toyota Financial Services remains committed to supporting the Toyota and Lexus dealer network on the island, and all our customers by offering competitive offers and making them more accessible through easy-to-use technologies,” Beals said.
“Above all, our commitment to Puerto Rico is strong and will continue to grow steadily,” he said, adding that Toyota Financial Services is developing innovative financial products that are in tune with the needs of the local market.