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Despeccing cars “not in” Toyota’s “thinking”

Full fruit: Toyota will be making no sacrifices to equipment levels as the semi-conductor shortage continues to ravage global car production.

Toyota refuses to despec cars to cut delivery times as chip shortage continues

4 Oct 2021

AS THE semiconductor shortage continues to cripple global car production, some manufacturers are opting to despec certain models and variants to try and minimise any delivery woes, but Toyota Australia is sticking to its guns and continuing to offer its cars at full-spec.


The confirmation was made at a recent media event by the company’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations Sean Hanley, who said despeccing cars was not an option the brand was willing to explore.


“When chip shortages looked likely in 2019, Toyota deviated from the famous ‘just in time’ sourcing to give semiconductor manufacturers more demand,” he said.


“Certainly, this enabled us to secure inventory for semiconductors months in advance, and I can assure you, we have no plans, no plans to despec any of our vehicles.


“In short, it’s not part of our thinking.”


When asked if not despeccing cars could result in even longer delivery times (see separate report), Mr Hanley said the priority was on recovering lost production volumes and ensuring total transparency between the brand, its dealers and customers.


“We carefully consider these things, obviously, and the best outcome for our brand,” he said.


“Obviously that could have some impact, but our role right now is to try to recover the production that we’ve had impacted through the September-October period.


“The strategy that we’ve clearly adopted and will continue to adopt is to tell people exactly what’s happening with the best information we have, and we believe through that communication and that trust, that we will be able to retain the vast majority of our customers in the Toyota brand.”


Customer retainment has hardly been a problem for Toyota in years gone by and that trend is continuing in 2021.


According to Mr Hanley, the brand’s order bank is at an “all-time high” with 156,012 vehicles being delivered between January and the end of August – 30,326 units more than over the same period last year – with a “further 20,000 vehicles” being delivered in September, making it the strongest September on record.


“It puts our 2021 running total around 176,000 sales, our best nine-month performance since the all-time record year of 2008,” he said ahead of the release of the September VFACTS data.


“Even so, we simply haven’t been able to get enough vehicles to meet demand.”


Toyota Australia is projecting an annual sales total of around 220,000 units in 2021, a figure that would mark an increase of around 15,000 units compared to last year’s total of 204,801 and with a particularly strong December expected.


If the brand can match its sales projection, it should once again net more than a 20 per cent share of the total market, which is on track to exceed the million-unit mark for the first time since 2019.


Mr Hanley declined to comment on what sort of figures could have been possible without the delays of up 10 months as confirmed for certain models, dismissing the what-if scenario, and describing the 220,000-unit projection as “a strong result”.


“It doesn’t really matter now, we are where we are,” he said.


“We have a very healthy order bank – our job right now is to keep our customers informed, which we're doing to the best of our ability.”

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