Toyota dealers celebrated after tough year

For the second year in a row, Toyota celebrated its outstanding dealers via virtual platforms, announcing the 2020 Dealer of the Year during a time when local automotive retail is experiencing an extremely challenging period.


According to a statement released to the media by Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), the local automotive industry posted its lowest sales in 18 years with a drop of 29.1% in sales, compared to 2019. With a cumulative total of 380 449 units sold in total, compared to the 536 612 units sold in 2019, this massive drop is attributed to a host of COVID-19-related restrictions implemented last year.

Even with lower sales recorded, Toyota still contributed to almost one in four of all vehicles sold in the country, with 90 129 vehicles finding a new home away from the dealer floor. “We are grateful to the entire Toyota family for having worked diligently in a very tough market to help TSAM end the year with a laudable aggregate market share of 23.7%,” Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TSAM, said in the statement.

Two of the three big winners hail from KwaZulu-Natal, with Halfway Toyota Scottburgh receiving the coveted title of Toyota Dealer of the Year, Lexus Fourways is the Lexus Dealer of the Year, while the Hino Dealer of the Year award was bestowed on Hino Pinetown.

During the ceremony, Theron said the DP of Halfway Toyota Scottburgh, Sumen Naidoo, has used his wealth of knowledge to grow and develop his staff to their true potential. “This dealership is an example of the service excellence that can be achieved in difficult times through teamwork and a common goal. When you win in good times, you are good. When you also win in bad times, you are superb,” Theron said while handing over the award.

With Chris Jones at the helm of Lexus Fourways, Theron told the virtual audience to ‘Experience Amazing”, the core philosophy of the Lexus brand, a dedicated and balanced approach was achieved by refusing to follow the negative trends, thereby succeeding in creating positive trends of their own. “Not only were their sales rate of decline less than that of the premium market, but they also managed to improve their executive pre-owned sales volumes by 63%,” Theron said.

From left, Toyota CEO Andrew Kirby, Chris Jones, Lexus DOTY (Fourways), Piet van Romburgh, Hino DOTY (Pinetown), Sumen Naidoo, Toyota DOTY (Scottburgh) and Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota.

When he presented the honour of Hino Dealer of the Year to Piet van Romburgh, DP of Hino Pinetown, Theron pointed out that, although the dealership had a slow start to the year, it quickly put plans in place to ensure survival during this extraordinarily difficult year. “They achieved an overall pyramid of excellence score in excess of 95%, with customer experience scores for sales and parts exceeding 99%, while their score for service came in at 98%,” Theron said proudly.

Depending on dealer size, the President’s Awards were presented to the following dealers:

  • Andries de Villiers, DP at Rola Toyota Bredasdorp (small)
  • Thomas Orchard, DP at Malmesbury Toyota (medium)
  • Sumen Naidoo, DP at Halfway Toyota Scottburgh (large)
  • Dirk van Rooyen, DP at Halfway Toyota Honeydew (mega)

Apart from dealerships, individuals were also recognised during the presentations. Charles Rieckhoff of Thekwini Toyota Group received the President’s Award for Group MD (Divisional), while the President’s Group MD Award went to Anton Labuschagne of NTT Toyota Group.

The coveted Chairman’s Achievement Award, presented by President and CEO of TSAM Andrew Kirby, was awarded to Divisional Executive for Toyota, Lexus and Hino at CFAO Motors, Carel Volschenk. “An absolute gentleman with a wicked sense of humour, this humble Toyota legend has given unselfishly to the continued advancement of the Brand and his colleagues,” Kirby told the audience. “He has the respect of his staff, which is shown by the low attrition rate within his group, and the great respect with which his DPs hold him. They will be amongst the first to congratulate him on this well-deserved award,” Kirby said.

During the presentations, the TSAM executive team paid its respects to all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and commended Toyota, Lexus and Hino dealers in the exemplary way in which they navigated this global crisis.

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