Enfield, one of north London’s less affluent suburbs, seems an unlikely location for an £11 million investment in a new dealership.
But in January the 1.5-acre Jemca Toyota Enfield site opened as part of a ten-acre redevelopment on the heavily trafficked A10 dual carriageway from the north into the affluent City of London.
An old engineering works was demolished to make way for it.
Jemca Car Group’s outlet is among a handful around the UK chosen to lead the way with Toyota’s new approach to motor retailing. It is a more sophisticated rendering of the meet ‘n’ greet programme introduced a decade ago.
To meet its ambitions for a large north London Toyota territory based in Enfield, Jemca closed its leasehold Toyota outlet in Seven Sisters Road, Tottenham, and sold Kingston Toyota to Currie Motors.
It also acquired and closed Barnet Toyota.
Jemca, which has Toyota and Lexus dealerships in north and south London, has invested around £40m in its network over the past five years. The emphasis is on the Toyota brand.
David Collis, Jemca Car Group vice-president and managing executive officer, acknowledges that Lexus has yet to mount a serious UK
challenge against the German premium brands.
But he added: “People see Lexus as more of a niche brand, like Porsche or Jaguar, rather than a rival to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which are volume manufacturers.”
Toyota Enfield has 79 visitor park-ing spaces and there are others for used cars on sale, plus a 15-bay workshop
The dealership is the manufacturer’s most efficient UK dealership and cutting costs by reducing waste is a high priority across the dealer network.
Jon Williams, Toyota GB president and managing director, said environmental leadership was a key strategy from vehicle design through to the retailer network.
An energy consumption pilot programme launched in 2009 examines energy consumption in Toyota and Lexus dealerships.
“When the potential was realised, Toyota funded energy monitoring equipment across the network plus a site survey of each in partnership with the Carbon Trust,” said Williams.
“We found energy savings of up to 20% a year, about £5,000, could be achieved without capital investment – a saving of over £1m across the network.”
Reducing environmental impact is written into dealer standards with a network target of a 20% reduction by 2013.
“The network is now operating more efficiently and seeing tangible financial benefits as a result,” said Williams. “Toyota GB has a 20% reduction target for our own sites.”
Collis visited the Enfield redevelopment site with Toyota and Jemca’s property consultant five years ago and saw the potential for a high-profile dealership with the right image for London.
Jemca is part of a global motor retail network operated by Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), the manufacturer’s big trading division.
The investment was agreed in Tokyo, in part anticipating the appeal of future models, starting with the GT86 sports car.
Collis knows Toyota inside out – he’s a former Toyota GB aftersales general manager who was also once Fiat UK’s aftersales director.
That experience is valuable because of the need to maximise aftersales revenue following the decline in UK new car sales.
Jemca’s workshop revenue has increased by 40% over the past five years.