1.8M owners, 19th year on top, 41% market share
Automobile manufacturing has always been a tremendously complex business. Automakers are always performing numerous balancing acts, tempering their ambitions and technological knowhow with unpredictable realities, anticipating not only socioeconomic conditions but also the vagaries of consumer lifestyles while developing and rolling out new products and services to their public.
Then, every once in a century, a life-altering global health crisis messes up the equation, throwing all of the tried-and-tested “formulas to success” out the window. What worked so well prior to 2020 isn’t good enough anymore. Radical changes must be adopted and applied on the run.
The global Covid-19 pandemic that struck early in 2020, and which still rages to this day, affected all sectors and all organizations across virtually all countries. It certainly didn’t spare corporate giants such as Toyota Motor Corp. and its allied companies around the world.
A quick glance at its history gives us a hint, however, of how Toyota has met and managed its latest and most daunting hurdle.
In his book “The Toyota Leaders,” industry expert Masaaki Sato wrote: “In the difficult postwar years, (Toyota) very nearly went under … The global ascendance of an automaker … was never a given. Throughout its history, it was leadership at the top that moved the company forward.”
The “Toyota Way FieldBook,” in its discussion on “Toyota Way principles”, stresses that Toyota executives understand their place in the history of the company, and work to bring the company to the next level.
“The sense of purpose is like that of an organism working to grow and developing itself and its offspring. In this day and age of cynicism about the morals and ethics of corporate officers and the place of large capitalistic corporations in civilized society, Toyota gives us a glimpse of an alternative, provides a model of what happens when tens of thousands of people are aligned toward a common purpose that is bigger than making money. Toyota always starts with the goal of generating value for customers, society, and the economy.”
It is not without a sense of irony, then, that what has made Toyota hurdle such a tiny yet insidious an enemy as a virus has required its entire manpower complement to think and act like one giant organism, with the single-minded purpose of overcoming a health crisis and its economic ramifications through trust and teamwork. These efforts needed to be replicated in all countries where the automaker had a presence.
In the Philippines, Toyota Motor Philippines’ one big, coordinated heave for 2020 spelled all the difference, beating a “corona” of a virus with its own triple crown, its 19th in as many years, but undoubtedly its sweetest and most hard-fought.
TMP chair Alfred V. Ty, during the recent awarding of top-performing dealers of 2020 and celebration of its 19th consecutive Triple Crown, told the 71 dealers via live online streaming from the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City: “This pandemic has really tested our spirits and pushed our limits. Yet, we were able to achieve a record-setting 41.3-percent market share last year. We emerged from 2020 with many new learnings, reflections and green shoots that we can nurture towards our sustainable growth in 2021 and beyond.” The awarding was attended by Toyota officials, key dealer principals and top affiliates and partners.
Ty also acknowledged that TMP and its network of dealers had a deeper obligation to its customers and the country as a whole.
“As the leading automotive company in the Philippines, I believe it is our role and responsibility to take the wheel and help steer the country towards economic recovery. Let me make this appeal to all the members of Team Toyota Philippines: Let us be the solution. We should not watch from the sidelines. As a market leader, as a pillar of industry, and as a partner in nation-building, we must provide strength and hope for the healing of Filipinos all over,” he stressed.
The Triple Crown achievement is TMP’s recognition of being the industry leader in sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, as well as overall sales.
The 9 key segments TMP has dominated for the 19th consecutive year are: Subcompact passenger cars and sedan overall (Vios); MPV (Innova); Low-cost passenger car (Wigo); Entry-level SUV (Rush); SUV and SUV overall (Fortuner); Pick-up (Hilux); Utility van (Hiace); SUV Hi (LC200), and; Medium passenger car (Camry).
The Triple Crown might as well be TMP’s statement that the industry’s “MVP”, its “star player”, has truly stepped up its game to face a common adversary head-on, full throttle.
Its 19th Triple Crown also underscores the fact that TMP has become the country’s most dominating automotive presence, with over 1.8 million Toyota owners (and counting) since its establishment over 30 years ago. TMP’s latest achievement symbolizes its customers’ trust in its products and services, which in turn drives the company to deliver even better products, services, and innovations.
In a statement to Inquirer Motoring, TMP said: “We navigate the ‘new normal’, we continue to strive for customer experience enhancement, provide ever better products and services, and introduce new mobility solutions to the market.”
Transportation essential to recovery
In the statement, TMP added, “While still challenging, 2021 carries a lot of hope and optimism. The economy already started its recovery last year and continues to grow this year. Developments and inoculation of the Covid vaccine are already being rolled out for our priority groups, and mobility has further proven its importance as we move forward from the effects of the pandemic.”
After the market contraction of 2020, TMP expects 2021 and beyond to be a period of expansion, recovery, and a new source of inspiration to retain the Triple Crown. “What would motivate the team is the fact that transportation is a very important part of rebuilding lives, communities, and the country, and as the leading mobility company, TMP has a responsibility to move the nation forward. Coming from a very challenging 2020, we are certain that Team Toyota will only come out stronger and better this year, in order to serve our customers better,” TMP declared.
Welcoming new competition
Asked how it viewed new and aggressive brands coming from China, TMP said: “We believe that the entry of new brands will stimulate the industry and provide more options for Filipinos, and this is a very welcome challenge that will also motivate us to provide ever better products and services for our customers.
“As a well-known and trusted brand in the country, many customers have already experienced the Toyota Sure Advantage and convenient ownership that comes with every Toyota vehicle purchased. From buying to aftersales, and eventually upgrading your vehicle, offers like flexible financing schemes and value chain products make Toyota a ‘one-stop-shop’ for customers’ convenience.
“Aside from the entry of new brands, the automotive landscape is constantly evolving. TMP recognizes this change as we transition from an automotive company to a mobility company. New mobility solutions from Toyota will be made available soon as we work towards making ‘Mobility for All’ a reality.”
TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto echoed Ty’s sentiments: “We have proven ourselves that despite any challenge mankind can experience, we can successfully get through it as one team. The next step is how we can accelerate forward and lead the market towards full recovery. Let us remain adaptive and continue to stay ahead to provide mobility and produce happiness for all,” he said.