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In 1966 Toyota made a modest entry into the New Zealand car market. The 50th anniversary was marked by the planting of a native pūriri tree at Toyota’s National Customer Centre in Palmerston North in March.
Although a great deal has evolved, a constant theme remains in Toyota’s business that is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
“Toyota New Zealand entered the New Zealand market with the aim of leading the way to the future of mobility; that remains our mantra 50-years later,” says Alistair Davis, CEO of Toyota New Zealand.
“Recognising the 50 year journey is not only taking a moment to reflect back on the challenges and the triumphs but largely an opportunity to celebrate, motivate and prepare for the next 50 years.”
In its early phases in New Zealand, Toyota assembled a variety of vehicles from the late 1960s through to the late 1990s as Completely Knock Down (CKD) vehicles, brought in from Japan and assembled at plants in Christchurch and Thames. They included the Corolla, Corona, Crown, Hilux, LiteAce and Hiace, models we still see onour roads today. Toyota led the way with the bestquality assembly plants in the country, culminatingin winning the New Zealand Quality Award in 1993.
Local assembly ceased in New Zealand in the late 1990s after the Government lifted tariffs on imported vehicles. The Thames plant became the Vehicle Operations facility and a National Customer Service Centre was established in Palmerston North.
Local assembly ceased in New Zealand in the late 1990s after the Government lifted tariffs on imported vehicles. The Thames plant became the Vehicle Operations facility and a National Customer Service Centre was established in Palmerston North. Toyota New Zealand’s head office, based in Johnsonville in Wellington, faced major restructuring in the years to come and moved to the Palmerston North site, becoming the National Customer Centre.
In the early 2000s Toyota once again led the way, introducing hybrids to New Zealand. With sales of 1,000-1,200 per year, Toyota remains the dominant leader in hybrid sales, with a wide variety of Toyota and Lexus products now featuring this key technology for improving motoring sustainability.
In the past year, Toyota New Zealand has achieved market leadership for the 28th consecutive year. At the same time it has achieved record sales of almost 27,000 vehicles, with notable models including the Corolla, Hilux and RAV4.
Both the longevity of leadership and the volume of sales are unprecedented in New Zealand.
Toyota New Zealand has big priorities for the next 50 years, with environmental targets, improved safety ambitions and plans to grow and support the best of New Zealand life.
The ceremonious planting of the native Puriri tree was chosen for its longevity and sustainability with a nod towards the next 50 years of Toyota’s presence in New Zealand.
A recent partnership with the Department of Conservation has resulted in the launch of a new programme, ‘Toyota Kiwi Guardians’, to help families explore New Zealand’s great outdoors and increase Kiwi kids’ connection with nature.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
To celebrate 50 years of Toyota New Zealand, we are running a competition through our Toyota Facebook page, where we are encouraging past and present Toyota owners to share their love stories about their Toyotas. The best 50 stories will be selected for a special edition Toyota book!
Source: Believe Magazine - Issue 13 2016