Toyota SA keeps top spot despite supply disruptions

13 January 2012

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13 January 2012 | Adam Leach

Despite suffering supply disruptions from earthquakes, flooding and high snowfall, Toyota South African Motors (TSAM) remains the market leader in the country’s car sector.

December car sales figures from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) reported that the company had sold 10,306 new vehicles over the month, which helped it retain its position for the 32nd year running.

However, while the company came out on top in terms of sales it faced a number of challenges over the year. In March, the earthquake in Japan severely constrained supply of both completed vehicles and specialist components, and towards the end of the year the floods in Thailand hit the company’s supply chain.

While the two natural disasters in Asia had an impact across the whole sector, TSAM had to deal with a more precise disruption when high snowfall in South Africa shut down transportation between domestic plants. 

Reflecting on the challenges the company faced in 2011, Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota South African Motors, said: “We still vividly remember the unexpectedly high snowfall in July, which shut the main arteries between our plant in Durban and certain major suppliers and markets.

“This was followed soon after by a crippling strike in the component manufacturing industry in August, which again put unexpected strain on our own manufacturing activities. This tough year was topped by news of floods at our supply base in Thailand, which again dried up the supply of parts to South Africa.”

Discussing the next 12 months for the company, van Zyl explained it was working to finalise a new production strategy, the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which will put greater focus on working with the local market.

“Focusing on local production and efficiencies as opposed to export growth [year-on-year exports for December dropped by 38.3 per cent], the APDP will benefit further localisation of parts and components and support the development of a wider and deeper local component manufacturing industry,” he said.


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