The FINANCIAL — In 2010 Toyota Centre Tbilisi plans to introduce new Toyota models to the Georgian market. The company expects a 75 million GEL increase in turnover for the year 2010.
“We already offered the new Land Cruiser Prado and new Land Cruiser 200 at the beginning of the year.
From April we plan to introduce new models of the RAV 4, and Toyota Avensis in Georgia, including a new model of sedan class. Moreover, at the end of the year we will be starting sales of hybrid cars,” said Irakli Gurchiani, General Director of Toyota Centre Tbilisi.
In 2008 hybrid cars passed their 6 month test period with success and the model will be available on the Georgian market at the end of the year. The price for a hybrid car will be approximately 27,000 USD.
“We forecast total sales of 2,000 cars in 2010. The main challenge for the year will be to reach 70% of the sales of the year 2008, when we sold 3,400 cars,” said Gurchiani.
Sales in 2009 were at 1,330 cars, bringing the company’s total turnover to 145 million GEL.
The highest selling model was the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. The price for a Land Cruiser Prado varies from 31,000-49,000 USD.
Moreover, Toyota is actively engaged in the Toyota Centre Kobuleti project that started this year.
“The total investment for the project is from 2-3 million GEL.
Kobuleti is a strategic place, we have many clients in the west part of Georgia and there was high demand to create a centre nearby. It will serve Samegrelo, Guria as well as Imereti regions,” said Gurchiani.
Q. Toyota has sustained the position of leader in Georgia, despite the bustle in the world surrounding the company. In your opinion, what conditions determined that?
A. Toyota sustained the position of leadership not only in Georgia but in other countries too.
The black PR was promoted by General Motors in the USA, despite this fact the best and highest selling cars over the past three months have been Toyota cars. Toyota recalled the problematic vehicles and changed the spare parts where necessary.
The black PR actually had a positive effect on the company. The sales of Toyota cars increased in the USA by 25% compared to the past year. Toyota has a special attitude towards its clients and people see that the company cares for them and their safety.
Q. How many cars had a technical check in Georgia within the framework of the globally announced programme?
A. The factory sent the list of cars that we had to check in Georgia. The problem was concerning a tiny part of the pedal. In total there were 300 such cars, and from them change was needed in only 90 cars.
When the country increased the number of sales, one supplier could not manage to supply all the pedals on time and Toyota ordered the pedals from one of the producers in the USA that turned out to have some defects.
Not only in Georgia, but in post-soviet countries too, there had been no reported cases of the pedal problem. Despite this fact, the company decided to check and replace the parts anyway.
Q. In the high-price segment, which Toyota model will be popular in Georgia in 2010?
A. this will be the Land Cruiser Prado, costing 58,000 USD and the Land Cruiser 200 costing 72,000 USD.
Q. How competitive are Toyota prices in Georgia compared to other brands? Which brands do you consider your rivals?
A. The main competitors in the world for Toyota are General Motors, Ford and in Japan – Honda.
Toyota is quite competitive compared to other brands. Except for Korean brand cars, which we in general do not consider competitors. Compared to them we have quite normal competitive prices.
Q. What influence has the sale of used cars had on the business of Toyota?
A. Georgia is a developing country which means it would not survive without used cars. There is quite a huge difference financially between the buyer of first and second markets.
In Georgia at present, on average 90% of vehicles in circulation are used cars, while 10% are from the first market.
Q. What are the changes expected at Toyota in 2010? At present, throughout the world how many factories have stopped functioning and how much did the company reduce the R&D budget?
A. the company reduced the number of cars issued due to the economic crisis, and consequently low-purchasing power of consumers.
At present only 3 factories are semi-functioning worldwide, they continue working for 10 days per month. The only factories that have stopped are in the USA and Saint Petersburg.
Q. Toyota is famous for its production testing by the Taguchi method, considering this fact what is the business of spare part selling in Georgia?
A. The spare-parts and service business is much more profitable for auto dealers rather than selling the cars. In the whole business, for example, the revenues from selling cars consist of 20% while the revenues from spare-parts and services are 80%.
Q. Toyota Caucasus LLC distributes cars in the Caucasus and Central Asia, in which region are there the highest sales? And in which country did the economic crisis have the least impact on sales?
A. Toyota Caucasus LLC distributes cars in 7 countries: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. At present there is a lack of dealers in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The highest sales, since the year 2006, during all periods, have been in Georgia.
The country least affected by the economic crisis in this respect was Azerbaijan.