April 10 - Toyota is restructuring its business in Africa to satisfy the expanding consumer market, chief executive officer on the continent Johan van zyl has told Reuters. Hayley Platt reports.
A five per cent increase in car sales this year - there aren't many places you hear that these days. But that's what Toyota expects to gain in east and west Africa by restructuring its business. Johan van Zyl is the Japanese automakers Chief Executive in Africa. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHAN VAN ZYL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TOYOTA AFRICA SAYING: "This part of our whole drive is to make sure that we are very close to the market, that we understand what is the market requirement and that we can deliver on that market requirement, and that is why you also see structural changes to ensure local CEOs manage the regions." The world's largest automaker sold almost 240,000 vehicles on the continent last year, giving it a 14 percent market share. It has a presence in all 54 African countries - even troubled South Sudan . (SOUNDBITE) ( English) JOHAN VAN ZYL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TOYOTA AFRICA SAYING: "Our focus is on the affordable market as well, if you look at for instance the product which we are producing in India, the Etios which is also sold in Africa, that is specifically targeted at that market, but one thing I cannot stress more is that Toyota produces a Toyota, and that Toyota has got a certain DNA." Toyota moved into South Africa 50 years ago, it also has plants in Kenya and Egypt. But it's largely dealt with governments. That's now changing in an attempt to compete with China and India. They're seen to have more experience of the African market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHAN VAN ZYL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TOYOTA AFRICA SAYING: "I think one thing you must never ever forget about the emerging consumer, the emerging consumer is an informed consumer, the emerging consumer when they buy, they want to buy quality, people tend to think that if you sell things to Africa you can sell them inferior things." With car sales falling in Europe and even India Africa is clearly being seen as a region with huge potential.