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Kaizen is what we stand for

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We believe every day’s an opportunity to improve.

Toyota is a company whose eyes are always on the road ahead. Working to find ways to be safe. Go faster. Go further on a tank of gas. Help the Earth go further on its limited resources. We strive for continual improvement in everything we do. It’s not a motto. It’s not a mission statement we hang on the wall. It’s the way we do things. We believe there is no best – only better.

Kaizen is the Japanese principle of continual improvement – which means small incremental developments or enhancements to a process.

We’re forever thinking about the next and learning from the past.

The growing technological complexity of vehicles can sometimes mean they do not always fully operate as intended. Toyota New Zealand has a long-held commitment to customers who have bought their vehicles from Toyota Stores and those who have bought used Toyota vehicles from other distributors, to fix, at no cost the parts of any vehicle that is faulty or affected by a recall.

When something goes wrong, we endeavour to do what we can to fix the problem through any of our Toyota Stores nationwide. Where we find there is a ‘safety-related issue’ that necessitates a recall of a vehicle, we follow the Motor Industry Association Codes of Practice for Vehicle Recalls and we make every effort to notify customers publicly, as well as contacting owners directly. We then monitor the response by reviewing the number of vehicles fixed through our service centres each month.

Recently we had an issue with diesel particulate filters in some Hilux vehicles, which resulted in a large amount of white smoke coming from the exhausts. Although it was not a safety issue, Toyota New Zealand recalled the vehicles to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, the solution did not work for everyone, and some customers have had multiple temporary fixes. Through the work of engineers in Japan, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand, an effective repair has been developed, tested and confirmed, and we are now working through the affected vehicles. We have appreciated the patience of our customers as we have worked towards and begun rolling out the fix to their vehicles. We’re always on a journey to improve.

The Toyota Drive Happy Project, introduced just over 12 months ago, was in response to what our customers had told us about the ‘bothers’ they’d experienced while trying to buy cars. We listened. We responded and changed the way we conducted our business. After all, the next biggest investment for most people after buying a house is buying a new vehicle. It should be an enjoyable process.

The new way of doing business was to address the various issues that customers were telling us were pain points. Feedback and research show that customers now enjoy greater confidence in the sales process, which includes managing expectations on pricing, delivery and service.

Stores and sales teams have embraced the Drive Happy sales initiative and prefer the unified approach to selling new vehicles, reporting that they wouldn’t go back to the old way – even if they could.

The unprecedented success of the latest-generation RAV4 has challenged Toyota New Zealand and stores to keep up with demand.

In a bid to continually improve our service, new guidelines have been established and continue to evolve since the launch of Drive Happy, to improve communication and the visibility of stores selling and supplying vehicles.

Our website was redesigned to enable customers to build their perfect cars online, add accessories, calculate finance options and view warranty information. Once they have done this with Toyota’s online car builder (at www.toyota.co.nz) they can share their designs with consultants at their local authorised Toyota Stores. They have designed their cars and know the price; now it is simply a matter of test driving, making decisions and ordering the vehicles.

Projects to support the evolution of customers purchasing new vehicles include ‘Expressions of Interest’. Customers can order vehicles prior to their launch, with priority options when the vehicles are released for sale.

This new process is constantly being refined, and delivery times from order to delivery are constantly being looked at and reduced. Demand is huge, but we are trying to improve all the time...