Toyota has not only been the sales leader in South Africa for 38 consecutive years, but it has also been the pace-setter in terms of its service plans, which were first incorporated into the vehicle purchase price of the Corolla in 2002, as a margin sacrifice by the company. This development was a significant contribution to cutting the cost of ownership of a Toyota vehicle as service costs were covered for a prescribed number of kilometres travelled in a limited time. Now the company has gone even further, by improving the terms of the complimentary service plans which come as standard with new Toyota vehicles.
Vehicles sold from 1 May 2018 now have a specific number of services for a given distance travelled. Servicing no longer has to be undertaken in a given time period as long as the vehicle is serviced at least once every 12 months. Service intervals are either every 10 000 km or 15 000 km, depending on the specific model. For instance, a Corolla will require six services by the time it reaches 90 000km. In the past these services had to take place within a five-year period. Now they can take place over six years, which significantly improves the overall cost-of-ownership offering for the customer.
Using the example of a Hilux, which is serviced every 10 000 km then the benefit is even greater. It will require nine services in 90 000 km, which previously had a limit of five years for them to be carried out. Now the services can be spread over nine years if necessary, while still conforming with the requirement of servicing the Hilux every 12 months.
â€œToyota was the first local manufacturer to introduce a service plan for the ordinary motorist when it launched a programme for the Toyota Corolla in 2002,â€ explained John Thomson, Vice President â€“ Service, at Toyota SA Motors in Sandton. â€œPreviously full maintenance plans had been offered by some of the local luxury car brands, but Toyota brought this service plan programme into the realm of family car buyers and other motor companies followed this trend. Built-in service plans were later extended to other models in Toyotaâ€™s comprehensive range of cars and light commercials. â€œThe latest revisions will also apply to all vehicles with active service plans sold before 1 May 2018, benefitting many existing Toyota owners. We are proud that the latest fine tuning of our service plan ensures that it is the best in South Africa,â€ added Thomson. Placing the customer first has been part of the philosophy of Toyota in South Africa since the company was founded as a family business driven by industrialist Dr Albert Wessels, in 1961.
There have been numerous customer care initiatives and refinements introduced over the years. A big step forward came with the introduction of the Toyota Touch programme in 1986. This was an industry-leading customer satisfaction strategy in South Africa and has been improved and updated in various guises since then and Toyotaâ€™s focus on the customer experience continues today. Toyota has over 200 dealerships located countrywide with more than 4 000 people working in the technical servicing environment to ensure top quality after-sales back-up. Toyota service plans cover the cost of filters, spark plugs, remote batteries, oils, and fluids (brake fluid and engine coolant), as well as labour according to the schedule for each model, but do not cover wear items such as tyres, brake pads and linings and fan belts. There are also extension options to cover services up to 200 000 km or a maximum of 10 years from date of purchase.