Toyota turns its attention to Africa

Article by Christian A., on April 12, 2013

As the growth in the private sector in Africa has lessened its reliance on government business, Toyota Motor Corp has turned its attention to its consumers, Toyota Africa CEO Johan van Zyl said during the Reuters Africa Investment Summit. Toyota has entered South Sudan last year, bringing its markets in Africa to 54 countries.

Toyota estimates that the east and west African auto markets will achieve a 5% growth this year. He said that consumer marketing has become “very important” in numerous countries, noting that Toyota had previously transacted with many African governments exclusively. Last year, Toyota posted sales of 237,000 vehicles in the continent, giving it a market share of 14%.

However, it is faced with more competition from its Chinese and Indian counterparts such as Chery Automobile and Tata Motors, which are more experienced in assembling and marketing budget cars in promising markets. But van Zyl said that Toyota has been concentrating on attracting frugal consumers to its inexpensive cars and its Etios brand, which was launched in India in 2010.

Toyota has achieved sales of around 2,000 Etios cars each month in Africa, where consumers consider quality and durability as well as cost. He said that people have a tendency to think that “inferior things” can be sold in Africa but then, the consumers there are actually as concerned about quality as anybody else.

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