Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) and other Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) affiliates across the world are rising to the challenges posed by Covid-19 as well as the government-imposed regional lockdown regulations, but there also plans in place to prepare business operations for when the situation returns to some semblance of normality.
Some of the ongoing interventions include monetary donations to the Red Cross Society of China, production of 3D-printed face shields (protective masks) in North America and Europe as well as providing shuttles for medical workers in parts of Asia.
“At TSAM, we have implemented a Taxi Industry Support plan that comprises making 40 vehicles available to the taxi organisations post-lockdown, supplying bulk sanitiser and providing promotional material*. Further details with regards to this initiative will be shared after the national lockdown has been lifted,” says Leon Theron, senior vice president of sales and marketing at TSAM.
“Our commitment to the taxi industry is multifold: by making these resources available to the sector, we’re hoping to have an impact in “flattening the curve”, ultimately keeping the national workforce healthy as well as doing the best we can to salvage the weakening economy,” adds Theron.
The interventions are in line with TMC President Akio Toyoda’s sentiment that Toyota needs to be ‘mindful of the feelings of those in the midst of this pandemic, reach conclusions more swiftly, make prompt decisions, and take immediate action faster than ever focusing on safety and security as the highest priorities.’
Return to normalcy
While engaging in efforts to help suppress the spread of the virus, TSAM also sees a need to be prepared for the recovery of economic activity following a return to normalcy. By working towards and improving its own organisation while maintaining employment, the company will firmly advance its preparations with an eye on the future, pushing to contribute to the automotive sector and economic recovery as quickly as possible.
Internally, TSAM is continuously keeping its staff and dealers abreast of all the measures geared towards fighting the spread of Covid-19. “We are an organisation that takes interest in the general welfare of staff and dealers – and without them, there is no business. We have therefore been engaging with everyone to keep the morale up in these uncertain times. We are also grateful to the 167 Toyota dealers across the country who are on standby to support the operation of essential services during lockdown,” says Theron.
TSAM has also set up a Covid-19 Incident Report Process that has been designed to assist affected employees navigate challenges associated with the virus.
On the advertising front, TSAM created an ingenious Stay Home TVC, which was assembled using existing footage and is currently running on digital platforms. Speedily created, it sympathetically conveys the importance of staying home and promotes #PrayForSouthAfrica during lockdown.
While telecommuting is currently encouraged as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Toyota is also reviewing how staff – office- and plant-based – will work post-lockdown. “We are also studying what TMC, as well as other Toyota Group companies are doing to assist frontline workers in their regions – or proactively working to improve productivity in their plants – to see what can be adapted for the local market,” says Theron.