Toyota Credit de Puerto Rico, the only captive finance company in the market, is preparing to face challenges in the short and long term under the leadership of its new CEO Brett Beals, a veteran executive, with more than 18 years of experience in the field, who took office last June.
As head of TCPR, Beals will be responsible for all operational aspects of the company. His main goal is to continue to increase market share and continue to develop programs that offer exclusively for Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the island.
Beals, who met with members of the local media Wednesday, will also oversee the development of new products and services, building long-term relationships with customers, and initiatives that contribute to the experience of owning a Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicle.
“Puerto Rico has one of the most robust car industries in the world, even in these challenging economic times. That’s why TCPR has tempered the market by offering innovative and flexible services. To continue strong in this market, we must provide the same levels of trust and inherent quality of Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands,” said Beals, who is familiar with the local market, having worked for TCPR once before, from 2004 to 2007.
TCPR has funded more than 200,000 vehicles in Puerto Rico since the company began operations in 1996. Currently, about four in 10 customers financed their vehicle through Toyota TCPR, which has 40,000 clients in its loan portfolio, Beals said.
“As a captive finance company, our focus is to support Toyota, Scion and Lexus sales, as well as work with Toyota Puerto Rico. We’re very different from banks and credit unions, because we’re not tied to the local economy and have a lot of capital available to help individuals address their challenges,” Beals said.
TCPR has an AA3 credit rating from Moody’s, which gives the company an advantage when it comes to borrowing to finance vehicles. Its favorable position also allows it to offer aggressive interest rates to buyers. Financing programs and special offers have prompted an increase in market share for Toyota to more than 30 percent as of January in non-fleet sales.
George Christoff , president of Toyota of Puerto Rico said the company is on track to hit its February numbers and launched its March programs early “to get a strong start.”
“Our belief is that we support the Puerto Rico economy by selling cars and selling services,” he said, noting Toyota has 24 dealerships in Puerto Rico and two in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As part of his strategy, Beals said the company plans to “capitalize on the elements that place it as a leader in its segment,” including an ecosystem of products and services that facilitate the purchase of a Toyota, Lexus or Scion. For one, the company plans to continue offering long-term financing, which can stretch the term of the loan to 84 months, in specific cases.
While longer-term loans lower monthly payments, they also represent more interest payments for the buyers.
“This extended credit option is offered in certain markets. We’re focused on Puerto Rico and felt it was an opportunity to try to offer the best possible solutions for customers to get into a Toyota,” Cristoff said.
“One of our priorities is to retain current customers and for this, our partners provide the extra mile to help with any situation that threatens their funding request,” Beals said, noting default rates are stable and are expected to remain that way.