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Hawkes Bay Toyota takes supreme honour at Toyota Business Excellence Awards


Hawkes Bay Toyota won the Toyota Supreme Award at the hotly contested Toyota and Lexus Business Excellence Awards, held over the weekend.

Hawkes Bay Toyota has been a successful, locally owned, and operated company for more than 30 years, and prides itself on providing customers with an exceptional level of service across its five locations in Hastings, Napier, Taupo, Rotorua and Gisborne.

The Toyota Supreme Award is awarded for overall excellence in store operations, market leadership and branch facilities. There is fierce competition each year for the Toyota Supreme Award among the 64 Toyota and Lexus stores spread across the nation, from Whangarei to Invercargill.

Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Neeraj Lala says the Business Excellence Awards celebrate the annual achievements of Toyota Stores and their contribution to keeping the Toyota brand as the leading mobility brand in New Zealand. 

The Citizenship Award went to Rutherford & Bond Toyota in Wellington for a leadership programme it co-developed with its ambassador Ardie Savea to inspire and influence 10 emerging leaders from low-decile Wellington high schools, with one taking home a $2,500 scholarship. It had a significant impact on the lives of participants, giving them a renewed sense of dedication. Many gained scholarships to tertiary institutions, achieved regional or national honours in their sports or gained academic awards. Rutherford & Bond also won the Used Vehicles Excellence Award.

The Citizenship Award was introduced in 2022 to recognise the commitment to supporting community activities from Toyota Stores. After receiving 18 entries in 2022, there were 33 entries in 2023 reflecting the amount of community work supported by Toyota Stores and shows that Toyota is a business that cares about people and is giving back in a meaningful way that aligns with the things that Kiwis value.

Most Toyota Stores support more than one community group; the projects recognised at the 2023 Awards range from environmental causes to mobility services, sports clubs, mental health programmes, youth employment initiatives and emergency services such as surf lifesaving and regional rescue helicopters.

“Our Stores care deeply about the communities they operate in and they’re actively doing things they feel are worthy of recognition,” says Neeraj Lala.

“This Award highlights a growing trend among businesses, including those outside the automotive sector, towards prioritising social impact. As we all grapple with how to grow the economy at the same time as protecting the things we value: people and nature. It’s up to business leaders to highlight examples where business is not just achieving sales growth but also achieving sustainability targets. Turns out there’s a strong link between corporate success and social responsibility.

“In 2023 we not only held onto our number one slot against some tough competition, disruption from Cyclone Gabrielle and regulatory challenges, but we also broke our own records and sold more vehicles in one year than ever before,” he says. 

“2023 was a very good year for our Stores and the Toyota and Lexus brands. Our store network came together to deliver 33,640 new vehicle sales during the year, 52% of which were electrified, and achieved 36 years of market leadership. Most importantly, this reflects the utmost respect we have for our customers and for delivering the right vehicle and right service for them,” he says.

As well as taking out the top award, Hawkes Bay Toyota was also a finalist for the President’s Award which was won by Valley Toyota in Thames.

It was also a successful night for Manukau Toyota, which was awarded two titles – New Vehicles Excellence Award and the Toyota Finance and Insurance Excellence Award.

Lexus of Queenstown won the Lexus Sales and Marketing Award, while the Lexus Supreme Award went to Lexus of North Shore.

Blenheim Toyota won the Leadership Award, and the Service Excellence Award went to South Canterbury Toyota.

Other awards went to Pacific Toyota for the Parts & Accessories Excellence Award and Branch of the Year Award to Rutherford & Bond Toyota Kapiti.