Castle Hill Toyota. Stephen Heather - Dealer Principal. BIG Business. My career story. I started out by completing a trade through TAFE outside of the motor industry and moved into New Car Sales as a trainee. I worked my way towards New Car Sales Manager and then General Manager.
Stephen Heather - Dealer Principal
I started out by completing a trade through TAFE outside of the motor industry and moved into New Car Sales as a trainee.
I worked my way towards New Car Sales Manager and then General Manager.
I am now a Dealer Principal and Equity Partner at Castle Hill Toyota.
Castle Hill Toyota is a private, family business, operating as a franchise of Toyota Australia, and employing approximately 95 staff, most of them from the local area.
Our business has three departments involved in retail sales - New and Used Car Sales departments and our Parts and Accessories department.
Castle Hill Toyota is also a service business, providing the opportunity to our customers to care for their vehicle through regular servicing and repair at our on-site Service Department.
Marketing/Sales – conducted individually by our New Cars, Used Cars and Parts Depts in conjunction with the Dealer Principal. Toyota Australia govern some campaigns such as End of Financial Year offers but all other marketing decisions such as advertising and direct mail-outs are made solely within each department then approved by the Dealer Principal.
Operations/Logistics – ordering of stock and parts supply are conducted by the department head via a computerised connection to the manufacturer (Toyota Australia). This is done on a daily basis for parts and a monthly basis for new cars. Day to day operations are performed by the department head with authority from the Dealer Principal.
Finance – the Financial Controller reports to the Dealer Principal regarding all financial matters and regular monthly meetings are held regarding the company’s ongoing financial position. A balance sheet review is carried out on a weekly basis. We are required to report all profit and loss figures to Toyota Australia at specified reporting dates after month end.
Human Resources – staff are managed onsite by our Administration department. As for training, mechanical qualifications can be obtained through apprenticeships at TAFE. Toyota Australia offer all aspects of training regarding sales and service at several training facilities in Sydney and Melbourne by qualified training staff. Online training modules are also available to all staff. Occasionally Castle Hill Toyota organise third party sales skills and motivational training for sales staff. Our New Car Sales team is currently undertaking a sales Certificate III qualification with a privately run company called the Australian Sales Masters.
The Toyota name has earned a reputation for quality, reliability and integrity. Our goal is to uphold the corporate image and reputation at all times.
Marketing Objectives/Strategies – Toyota Australia use sponsorship as a form of marketing to promote Toyota’s brand and image. eg: NRL Toyota Cup and various sporting teams.Castle Hill Toyota use a similar strategy in local sponsorship of schools and at local community events such as the Castle Hill Show.
As time has progressed, Toyota’s view of the “car” has changed. It is now not only regarded as a mode of transport, but a lifestyle asset that can enhance your recreational time. Here is a sample.
Products - Toyota offer 19 model lines ranging from small passenger car to large 4WD’s, commercial vans, buses and utes. Our hybrid synergy drive vehicle started with Prius. A Camry hybrid range was introduced in early 2010, which is manufactured locally. More hybrid variants are to follow in the near future.
Price – Recommended Retail Prices are set by the factory. Toyota has some of the most competitive prices in the market starting from $14,990, ranging to models over $100,000.
Promotion – each dealership uses various strategies which would include local and metro newspaper advertising, radio, internet and direct mail. TV commercials are far more costly than they used to be and are therefore used mainly by the manufacturer rather than individual dealerships.
Distribution (place) - Toyota dealerships are located all over Australia. In the NSW metro area alone there are 24 dealerships. Corporate Headquarters are located in Victoria and NSW.
The competition - Toyota’s major competitors are Holden, Ford, Mazda and Hyundai. In June 2010, www.caradvice.com.au reported that in Australia, Toyota had a market share of 20%, followed by Holden with 12.8% and Ford with 10.1%.
Toyota have a wide range of vehicles suiting customers aged from 16 to 80!
Passenger vehicles – couples and singles are major purchasers of these vehicles. They are also commonly purchased as fleet cars by major businesses.
SUV’s – due to their size and seating capacity, these vehicles appeal to families. They are very popular among “off-roaders” who use them for recreational purposes.
Commercial – Buses, vans and utility vehicles appeal to tradespeople, business owners and charity organisations.
Marketing mediums of almost every kind are used by Toyota - TV ads, web and newspaper advertising, sponsorship, magazines, billboards and now social media is starting to play a big role.
A strong business plan – firm commitment to our Mission Statement and Company Values
Staff stability and longevity – we have 49 staff (about 50%) who have been employed for a minimum of 5 years or more
Ensuring Management teams follow our ideal that great leaders “train, motivate and reward”
Making sure all staff members are aware of the dealership’s business plan and the department’s goals
Keeping expenses down to make running the business economical
Please feel free to ask any questions
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