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Toyota defends Camry haul

Number one: The Toyota Camry reached the top spot in the Australian sales charts last month, with Toyota putting it down to strong retail offers and dealer incentives.

Dealer incentives, sharp retail and demonstrator stock push Camry to record sales

6 Jan 2016

TOYOTA Australia has defended the tactics behind a record December sales haul of its Camry mid-sizer, saying the result was due to dealer incentives and a generous retail offer and not due to stock being forced into dealerships.

The Australian-built sedan recorded 5321 sales in December, ensuring it was the best-selling vehicle in the country for the month, while breaking the monthly sales record for the four-cylinder model.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb told journalists at an announcement of the 2015 sales results in Sydney acknowledged that some of the Camrys sold in December will not be delivered until early this year.

“The Camry sales result in December is part of our commitment to local manufacturing,” he said. “We are in transition. We had a number if initiatives in play in the last quarter of 2015 on Camry and Aurion to ensure we met our volume commitments so that suppliers and employees have a respectful transition.

“There were dealer incentive programs in place and there was obviously a consumer offer – a zero per cent offer – which was more successful than we anticipated. It is true that there were a number of demonstrators put on by the dealers at the end of last year, which are being merchandised in the first quarter of this year.”

Mr Cramb said the company thought earlier in the year it might not reach the targets specified in its transition plan, so management took action to ensure it achieved the required numbers.

 center imageLeft: Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb.

“As we approached the fourth quarter (of 2015) we were slightly behind where we thought we needed to be to hit that number.”

he said.

“But actually the program put in place in quarter four was far more successful than what we had anticipated. We didn’t for a moment plan for a 5000 Camry number, but the dealers were so motivated by what we put before them that they chose to take advantage of them to that degree. Having said that, the zero per cent offer was going crazy so it was a strong combination of the two.” When asked if the monthly VFACTS figures were distorted by dealers selling vehicles as ‘dealer demonstrator’ models which are and then sold on to customers potentially months later, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said he had confidence in the integrity of the official sales figures.

“Every car sold in this country has a VIN. And A VIN can only be registered once,” he said. “For those who asked that precise question last year, if that (vehicle) did go out the door to a consumer in January, it couldn’t have been counted in this year’s numbers.

“The reality is you cannot rob January from December and get away with it forever. There is only one sale and therefore we are very comfortable with the numbers.

“We have gone through and done some analysis on this. There is always a stock of demonstrators in the fleet. The reality is that every car is measured and counted once.”

Mr Cramb acknowledged that most car-makers use demonstrator stock in dealerships, but defended Toyota’s record in the industry.

“One of the things we have observed is that the number of demonstrators that are being put on by other manufacturers, and us, is way down in 2015, so it is a relative thing.”

he said. “If you go back and do the analysis it is actually less than what it was before.

“We are talking a couple of thousand cars. We are not talking 100,000 cars. And our demonstrator percentage is the lowest in the industry. If you look across the year and look across all the models, our percentage of demonstrators is under five per cent.

“And that is what you need to run an effective motor vehicle business, but many other manufacturers are much, much higher. Even if you throw those Camrys in, we are still well below your average demonstrators.”

Mr Cramb said that both “dealers and consumers like to buy demo vehicles”, but clarified that Toyota did not force vehicles onto dealerships, a practice that some other car-makers have been accused of in the past.

“I would like to clarify something. We didn’t stuff vehicles into our dealers, that is for sure. There is no way that we will do that, ever.”

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1st of January 1970

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