29 March 2018

Toyota NZ Courts Private Buyers

Toyota NZ is the leading brand in NZ and by some margin. With tourist numbers at record numbers, many renting cars, Toyota pretty much monopolises that area of the market, as indeed the fleet market in general.

One area it struggles to lead in is private sales. Perhaps with late model fleet cars readily available and what I see as over inflated new car prices, why would you buy a new Toyota from a dealership? Toyota NZ want to fix that. How? Pull away from fleet sales?

The second question first. Fleet buyers will be classified into tiers depending on how many they buy and the discount based on the tier level. The more bought, the lower the price. So they will still be catered for.

Now on how to entice the private buyer. The old system of an unrealistic retail price dropped during haggling to give the impression of value isn't cutting it anymore. In April 2018 comes the Drive Happy Project. It will introduce no haggle pricing and the dealerships will become stores. The staff  will promote the product than be salespeople chasing commissions.

Its designed to make the process more relaxed and pricing both transparent and consistent. The customer will probably end up paying the same price they did after extensive haggling but with without the stress that can bring.

Many research vehicles online before a trip to a dealership, so Toyota will improve its website to allow greater configuration of models so customers can sort out details in advance and in the comfort of their home. Arriving at the dealerships, potential buyers will not see cars ready to buy a carpark with just demonstrators to enable the customer to see and drive the exact car they want.

Good  'product promotion' staff (must get the name right) will be rewarded by creating happy Toyota customers, measured by customer satisfaction surveys. Short test drives with a salesperson in the car with you will be replaced with longer evaluation options including 24 hour loans.

So will it work? It sounds good and depending how long it takes to catch on will be interesting. I personally like the initiative as pushy sales people are not to my liking. I also don't like the present smoke and mirrors pricing structure but want to know up front what I'm likely to pay. Presume haggling will still happen regarding trade in pricing.

For the official introduction, you could click here, but it is a bit underwhelming in the way its presented.

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