Gareth Matthews Toyota LCV
Gareth Matthews Toyota LCV
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New Toyota LCV strategy:

  • New LCV training programme
  • New LCV business centres
  • Central LCV helpdesk

THE CV Show 2016 saw the return of Toyota with the new Proace van and Hilux pick-up to shout about. But there was more than new product with a new man at the helm, Gareth Matthews – there’s plans  for a new Toyota LCV strategy too.

Business Vans met Gareth to find out more.

Is there more to your showing at the CV Show 2016 than just new product?

“Obviously we’ve got two new products, in fact it’s the widest range of commercial vehicles we’ve ever had.  We have three different versions of the Proace, in Compact, Medium and Long-Wheelbase versions. We’ve got two different grades, plus we’ve also got passenger variants to support the commercial versions.

“Plus, we’ve also got a brand new Hilux – the best Hilux ever really.

“To support these new LCV launches, what we’re doing as a company is we’re going to market with a complete LCV strategy.

“Clearly beginning with the products, we’re aware we need to rebuild our LCV expertise, so within the organisation, we have an LCV training programme, which is soon to be finalised. This will be rolled out to the network, so they can start understanding that LCV customers are different to car customers and start engaging in that way.

“We also have plans underway to be finalised where, within our network of business centres, we will be appointing LCV specialist business centres.

“In addition, what we plan to do centrally as an organisation, is to have an LCV helpdesk. This is where we will provide support to the network at large and engage with our customer database to understand their requirements in the market.

“So part of the training within the network, will be helping them to understand their local market, where the business opportunities lie, plus what those customers need in terms of vehicles and commercial vehicles.

“At the moment, we do really well with fleets from a central perspective as a manufacturer. But what we want to slowly do, is to reverse that scale and have the dealers delivering more of that LCV business and less of it being delivered centrally by Toyota GB.”

Do you see this being more conquest business, or are you looking at customers already driving Toyota commercials?

“I think a bit of both really. With Hilux, yes we’ve got a really good, strong and loyal customer base. There’s a new opportunity for Proace and we would be able to then talk to those customers about Hilux. More importantly, we recognise that having a strong and robust LCV strategy, enables us to have a really complete fleet package for all fleet customers.

“So once we’ve got this underway, we’ll have a strong LCV line-up, we will have a strong volume brand line-up with Toyota and a premium brand line-up with Lexus. So we’re able to offer fleet customer a bit of everything really. It’s a three-pronged attack – this way we’re able to go to the customer and cater for all their needs.”

How are you going to differentiate Proace from its Citroen and Peugeot sister van rivals?

“If we look at old Proace, it was a product that we took mid-life and it was just a rebadge really. This time round, we’ve been involved from day one, clearly the front end is completely Toyota – we were responsible for designing and delivering that.

“In terms of the engineering and all the stuff behind the scenes, it’s shared with PSA, but our involvement has been a lot more in depth with the new Proace than we had before. The vehicle meets our quality, durability and reliability messages – the things we need to deliver – which we realise we’re really strong at.

We’re really proud to say that every single Toyota vehicle comes with a five-year warranty

“From my perspective it’s a lot more Toyota, this time round than it was the time before – it’s got a lot more of the Toyota DNA which is shared with Hilux. The second point is, the front of the Proace is quite different to the others – which it wasn’t before, so that’s going to differentiate it from its rivals as well.

“The third thing we’re very keen to do and we’ve delivered, is that we have a five-year warranty across all of our products.  When we bought Proace to market, we were really keen to take that message across to our commercial vehicles, so we’re really proud to say that every single Toyota vehicle comes with a five-year warranty.

“Finally, there’s our network, we pride ourselves on the fact that the customer receives a specific experience in a Toyota dealership and we’re going to continue to capitalise on that – so the dealers are all tooled up to sell commercial vehicles well.”

Are you looking for an even spread of LCV Centres across the country and how many do you want to appoint?

“We haven’t decided on a fixed number yet and it’s not a number we will tie around our necks. Basically we are assessing the geographical coverage, SME potential in their market areas, commercial vehicle potential in those areas, we’re looking at their existing performance, we’re looking at their aftersales capability – because it’s really important to service the customer.

“So can they fix vans? Can they get them in the workshop – that sort of thing. We’ve also looked at the amount of stand space – so being able to display vans.

“All of those things have gone into the melting pot and at this point we’ll assess the situation and come up with a shortlist – then we’ll go into a consultation period to be able to say this is the opportunity. We want this to be a buy-in rather than appointing them – because that way we get the best engagement with the network. We like to work on that basis.”

When do you think this network will be in place?

“I would like to see it in place by the end of quarter two I’d say. We will probably have a number of centres that we’ve gone ahead with and the others will come on strong later. ”



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