Launched in 2003, the Toyota Business Centre Network has successfully established a dynamic and dedicated approach to meeting the needs of commercial vehicle and small business customers. For 2005, in a new vehicle market that has seen national small business and fleet sales reach record levels, Toyota is developing the structure of the network and the way it operates to deliver even higher standards of service and adapt to the wide range of opportunities within the business market.
From the outset, Toyota Business Centres have been required to operate to minimum standards in terms of dedicated, trained staff, a designated work area within the premises, the range and number of display and demonstrator vehicles and the development of a business customer database and marketing activities.
Working to this pattern, the results have been excellent. To date 86 Business Centres have been appointed, with currently more than 200 dedicated staff in position nationwide. All have fulfilled TGB’s operating requirements, with more than 350 dedicated Business Centre demonstrator vehicles available to customers and the successful implementation of database and marketing programmes.
This has contributed to excellent growth in business and fleet sales: figures released this week for 2004 show Toyota registering a 20 per cent increase in the fleet market overall, with cars up 20 per cent and LCVs 18 per cent ahead on the previous year.
That equates to a 4.2 per cent share of the total fleet market, placing Toyota sixth among the UK’s top manufacturers. Notably its rate of growth was more than double that of any of the higher-ranked marques.
The key objectives for 2005 are for the Business Centre Network to develop to reflect the different market opportunities that exist and to enhance the business customers’ ownership experience. Improvements to the network will help create a balanced approach to meeting the needs of national fleet customers, while developing healthy business at local levels.
The new Business Centre Development Programme introduces new operating standards in three distinct levels, tailored to reflect variations in the market across the country and the fleet volume achieved by individual centres.
Level 1, for centres with a total fleet volume up to 150 units, requires a minimum of one designated business to business sales person and the provision of Corolla and Avensis D-4D and two LCV demonstrators.
Level 2, where fleet volume is approximately between 150 and 350 units, requires a dedicated Business Centre Manager/sales consultant and a demonstrator range comprising Corolla and Avensis D-4D and three LCV models.
Level 3, for centres with fleet volume greater than 350 units, will have a minimum dedicated staff of two sales persons and an administrator. The demonstrator fleet will include Corolla and Avensis D-4D, two further cars and three LCV models, plus access to one demonstrator vehicle as a fleet courtesy car.
This effectively means that to meet these structured changes throughout the country, the number of Business Centres will rise slightly to 92. However more significantly the final headcount will increase to over 300 staff to manage the programme, and the number of demonstrator available vehicles will rise to over 500 vehicles.
Breaking down the network into the three levels at present places 35 in Level 3, 44 in Level 2 and 12 in Level 1. The Level 1 figure also includes non-Business Centres who are likely to join the programme.
As previously, the network will receive the specialist support of Toyota’s Regional Business Centre Managers Field Team to ensure the effective roll-out and operation of the new programme. Further areas of focus for 2005 include an on-line Customer Experience Survey and centre performance evaluation through mystery shopping. A Business Centre Committee is also to be established, enabling centres to debate network issues and to have strategic input into developments, and the Toyota Business Centre Annual Awards Conference and Dinner is to be instituted from January 2006.
Peter Howarth, Toyota (GB) PLC’s National Business Centre Manager, said: “The successful establishment of the Toyota Business Centre Network has provided a sound foundation on which to develop Toyota’s growing position within the business and fleet market. Strong results have already been achieved and we are now able, with the support of our centres, to refine the programme to deliver even better service to our customers and greater returns for our Centres.
“We are working with excellent products in a growing market. With a strategy that targets more effectively than ever before the wide range of business opportunities at all levels, we can anticipate continued growth this year and beyond.”