By Daniels Ekugo
Once again, Toyota has demonstrated that what distinguishes it from other automakers has less to do with products and processes than with how its people think. Toyota executives are obsessed with creating value and quality for the customers globally. And in recent times, the Toyota Nigeria Limited has shored up its chest of garages with re-jigged brands of Toyota, aiming for the zenith as the New Year rolls in.
The country’s economic downturn, recession also forced the sales forcast on the balance within the automotive segment in Nigeria, notwithstanding the influx of ‘grey’ siblings from Toyota.
The Lexus brand, Venza and Avalon, were in contention with other Toyota brands in Nigeria, swaying youngsters, the money bags and the ever ready politician. Regrettably, the trio of Lexus, Venza and Avalon, are all Toyota siblings, they came, with an intent to divide the market share segment of Toyota, but alas, the impact wasn’t as much felt as the recent onslaught by Toyota in Nigeria to unleashing re-jigged brands to counter the effect the trio wanted to create, and by and large, it has started to create a revolution in the Nigerian automotive industry. Simple reason – Lexus, Venza and Avalon are of the grey market – meaning they have no authorized ‘home’ in Nigerian automobile market.
It all seemed going down, until the honchos in Toyota Nigeria Limited (the good executives) , put in that effort needed, prove its leadership and marketing acumen thereby positioning its products to the forefront. They read in-between the red flag lines; listened to the yearnings of customers and critics alike.
With a steady brilliance, clear thinking, the ability to listen, vision, a focused consistency, and the ability to stay ahead of the curve by grasping the details while keeping the Big Picture in mind, they came forth with a totality of what the generational shift in the choice of elegant and stylish brand of vehicles the teeming customers have been praying for. These executives with Toyota Nigeria Limited lead with clear purpose and an unwavering drive, and their stellar example resulted in the ability to inspire and get the best out of their brand. It sounds easy, but it definitely isn’t because the truly good ones only come along once in a while.
In fact, the executives on the “ugly” side of the spectrum share many of the same “good” traits. And that’s why these executives are the most dangerous; because they lull people into thinking that they are something that they are most definitely not. These executives are usually diploma-carrying graduates and they mix a particularly nasty cocktail for themselves every morning made up of one-part arrogance and one-part hubris.
And these executives, if you pay attention, are easy to spot. They thrive on the notion that they are a Master of the Universe, that they harbor a kaleidoscope of gifts that make them the smartest guy or girl in the room – any room. They love to create a legendary aura for themselves, carefully crafted by their PR minions and then disseminated to the press in drips and drabs, so that the media can dutifully report details as scoops to help manufacture the legend.
But with the executives in the helms at TNL, it was a different ball game. The company succeeds, is believed, because it creates contradictions and paradoxes in many aspects of organizational life. Employees have to operate in a culture where they constantly grapple with challenges and problems and must come up with fresh ideas. That’s why Toyota constantly gets better.
They do not have one individual star, not one person takes credit for everything. They emphasize teamwork when creating new things. Everyone that works for Toyota is equal. Even if they are a mechanic compared to the CEO, they are glorified as the same thing and are given the same praise. Toyota is all about team work, and they carefully have crafted an aura for the legendary Toyota brand in Nigeria within a stormy marketing year.
So, dutifully, the entire automobiles of Toyota in Nigeria came re-jigged for a fight; a commitment to service and a promise to hold onto its numero uno badge. So the Corolla; Yaris; RAV4; Fortuner; Hilux and the Coaster gets fresher, new look ahead of 2019 and beyond.
The RAV4 is, in essence, disrupting the segment it created. It is bringing more sport and more utility back while enhancing the agile handling, everyday comfort and exemplary fuel efficiency that made RAV4 the segment leader it is now. All told, the RAV4 is designed to tackle urban, suburban and great outdoor adventures with equal aplomb. The look is tougher and there is greater capability with a new type of all-wheeled drive, yet the ride is smoother and quieter with new comfort touches inside.
For the all-new Toyota RAV4, designers kept in mind design elements of Adventure and Refined to allow owners to get up and go in their RAV4, no matter the time or place. An emphasis was placed on maximizing the presence of a small SUV while maintaining high levels of finesse inside and out.
The Yaris offers an exceptional blend of efficiency, fun, comfort and safety, all at a reasonable price. Is this combination too much to ask of an entry subcompact vehicle? The new Yaris answers with a resounding, “No!” Safety is a priority on every Toyota, and that’s why all Yaris sedans come standard with an Active Safety System and Low-Speed Pre-Collision System. The Yaris features a high-compression 1.5-liter engine that boasts up to 40 miles per gallon (MPG) on the highway.
The sporty Yaris is a blast to drive, thanks in large part to the engine and transmission offerings. The 1.5litre DOHC four-cylinder engine pumps out 106 horsepower and 103lb ft of torque for plenty of pep to power onto highway ramps and seamlessly navigate workday traffic.
The new Toyota Camry utilizes TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture), which represents a completely new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers, and packages its vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota’s traditional values of superlative build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses. The physical manifestation is the usage of a new engine, transmission and GA-K platform.
“With an exhilarating design, refined interior, stirring driving performance, cutting edge safety and technology and class leading fuel efficiency, the all new Camry retains its excellent value while raising its level of fun and excitement to new heights,” said Bill Fay, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “It is quite simply the best Camry ever and the benchmark in the mid-size sedan segment.”
The Landcruiser also, available in more than 190 countries worldwide, the most of all existing Toyota models, the Toyota Landcruiser’s unrivalled off-road abilities have earned it a rock solid reputation as one of the world’s toughest and most reliable 4x4s, and made it the segment sales leader.
Now to the cash cow of the Toyota Nigeria Limited, the Corolla. With more than 46 million Toyota Corollas sold globally since its introduction in 1966, it would be difficult to find a driver who did not recognize the name. Everyone, it seems, has a Corolla story. Many though are going to be doing double takes when they see the reimagined and reconfigured Toyota Corolla. And that is exactly the point.
The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), transforms both Corolla styles into drivers’ delights while also bolstering the model’s renowned value and reliability. Both draw from the same DNA and share powertrains. It is no surprise then, that the Corolla sedan dramatically elevates this models’ focus on comfort and refinement while also infusing it with the Corolla feisty personality.
The Toyota Corolla sedan’s bold new look is a perfect reflection of the bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation that has taken place. The TNGA platform means an available engine that produces more power than its predecessor yet delivers better fuel efficiency. TNGA imbues the Corolla sedan with greater agility, yet also with its smoothest, quietest ride. TNGA also means an elevated feeling of quality in every surface, switch and control the driver sees and touches. And critically, TNGA delivers on Toyota’s commitment to driver and passenger safety with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems – standard on every Corolla sedan model.
Analysts are of the opinion that Toyota are poised to go further and retain its position as the number one car brand in Nigeria with different recognition when the Nigerian Auto Journalist’s Association’s Award shall bequeath to Toyota that longstanding world championship belt, during its annual award night on the 13 December, 2018, at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suits.