Many questions have been asked about the Toyota brand beyond the year 2010.
- Some wonder how the brand has been able to conquer the South African auto market
- Some wonder why The Toyota brand is one of the most valuable in the South African brandspace.
- Some even wonder how the company is able to launch a new version of an existing vehicle or a completely new vehicle almost every year and their sales figures never really drop.
For the Toyota brand to be where it is today is truly a remarkable feat, and we will tell you why. But before we do that – here’s a bit of history.
- The Toyota brand was born in Japan in 1933 as the automotive brand of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in Japan – after extensive research into American car manufacturing by the Japanese.
- By 1935 the first Toyota vehicle – the Model A1 – took to the road
- In 1936 the company began mass producing Toyota vehicles
- In 1961 the first 10 Toyota bakkies were imported into South Africa.
- By May of 1972 the first locally manufactured Toyota vehicles rolled of a South African production line.
- By 2013 close to 3.6 million Toyotas have been sold in South Africa and the 1 millionth Toyota Corolla rolled off the production line.
But the question of how the Toyota brand became and remains successful is still unanswered.
So how exactly did the Toyota brand became one of the biggest in South Africa?
The answer is two-fold.. and really simple.
Beyond doing thorough research on how American automotive assembly lines work and how American companies market themselves, the Japanese – from the outset – discovered that one of the strongest weapons in a business arsenal is a STRONG BRAND. The Japanese understood very early on that the Toyota brand would not be one single characteristic but a collection of attributes that would make up the Toyota brand. However the best discovery they made was that although they sell a product you can see, a brand is more perceived than visualised. So the Toyota marketers in the early days set out to take the characteristics shared by all of their cars and do whatever they had to do to ensure those characteristics become the brand. These are:
- Fuel Efficiency
The Toyota brand has never stood for anything else regardless of where you go in the world.
Long term vision casting
The second reason for the Toyota brand’s immense success globally is the ability of the visionaries in the company to cast their visions long-term. Although a rival automotive rand’s founder was the first to develop a hybrid electric vehicle way back in 1901, it was the geniuses at Toyota that made the technology available to the mass market. Toyota launched the Prius Hybrid-Electric hatchback in 1997 and since then the scramble to keep up has been on. A plethora of other car manufacturers have since jumped on the hybrid electric bandwagon
What they never knew and only recently discovered is that Toyota have moved on from hybrid cars and have for the last 10 years or so experimented with Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. In 2016 Toyota will be launching the Mirai (which means FUTURE in Japanese) – the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle – to the world. So while everybody is still thinking hybrid, the Toyota brand has already cast its vision even further into the future. Who knows what may be next. Only the geniuses at Toyota does.
And with two simple things like long term vision casting and building a strong brand in the mind of the consumer, Toyota has been able to invade and dominate markets for decades.
The Toyota brand is and will remain one of the best in the world.