Tony Whitehorn, Toyota GB operations director, denies the scheme was introduced following protests from its dealers who have to pay the whole cost, which averages £120,000.
“The idea of Retail Concept is to fulfil customer expectations when they are greeted,” says Whitehorn. “The cost includes training all the staff and introducing better systems, such as part selection in the workshop.”
Dealers who have borrowed the money from banks at two points over base rate normally write off the cost over five years, says Whitehorn.
The cost of the programme can be as much as £500,000, some dealers claim, but Whitehorn says they are including the cost of other work carried out at Toyota centres in addition to the core of Retail Concept.
Toyota launched Retail Concept in 2001. It includes a central hospitality area with a dedicated host to look after potential customers.