Toyota Motor Corp. is the global leader in automotive sales. In the New Zealand market, the same holds true and this year marks Toyota’s 31st consecutive year as market leader.

“The number of Toyota vehicles sold in New Zealand every year is almost double that of our closest competitor,” said Alistair Davis, Toyota New Zealand Ltd.’s managing director of 11 years.

“Today, approximately 25 percent of all cars on New Zealand’s roads are Toyota vehicles,” Davis said. “This year we sold over 40,000 new and used vehicles, the highest volume we have ever recorded.”

New Zealand’s automotive sector is unique for a developed Western market as automotive sales are divided into new and used car imports.

“We are a major player in the used car segment,” said Davis. “We import used Toyota cars from Japan, refurbish them and market these certified vehicles under our Signature Class brand.”

Toyota New Zealand is challenging the traditional way of selling vehicles. Unique to global Toyota subsidiaries and the New Zealand market, the company recently launched the customer-centric Drive Happy Project that aims to make buying a brand-new vehicle an even more pleasurable experience.

“Our business needs to evolve with our customers,” said Davis. “We have transformed former dealerships into agents and relaunched these as Toyota stores.”

This shift toward a retail-style business model will provide price transparency and consistency, better test-drive flexibility, more comprehensive extended warranties and a better overall customer experience, whether customers are buying online or in person.

“Our redesigned website allows visitors to customize their vehicles and calculate costs before their vehicle is even ordered,” said Davis.              

Radical changes such as electrification, self-driving cars and online sales are changing the global automotive industry. As a Toyota veteran of 39 years with the company, Davis is proud of Toyota’s leadership role in the global industry and the company’s position in New Zealand.

“While the industry undergoes changes, we are in a strong position in New Zealand,” Davis said.

“Toyota is driven by strong values and has a long-term approach to the market. These factors resonate with us living in an ethnically diverse nation and our aim is to ensure Toyota remains New Zealand’s favorite automotive brand.”