Toyota’s new Supra sports coupe will offer the brand an opportunity to “look at the customer journey” and experiment with home test drives and a handling fee for its franchised car retailers.
Toyota GB’s director of product and marketing, Andrew Cullis, said that giving the brand’s full network of car retailers the opportunity to deal with customers for the £52,695 performance flagship had been a priority of its UK launch plans.
But while all retailers will develop a relationship with customers, Supra sales will be transacted centrally by Toyota GB with a handling fee – rather than the usual commission – paid for their part in the handover and customer service associated with delivering the 300 vehicles destined for the market this year and 600 in 2020.
“We’ll have 25 demonstrators in the network and we’re looking into the possibility that we can do test drives to the customers door,” said Cullis on the recent international launch of the new Toyota Rav4 Hybrid.
“We have lots of ideas to look at the customer journey and Supra gives us the opportunity to try out some of those ideas.”
The new BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Cayman-rivalling Supra features a 340PS 3.0-litre eight-speed turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and will reach dealerships in early H2, 2019.
A launch control function enables acceleration from rest to 62mph in 4.3 seconds.
But as well as taking the brand into a more performance-focussed area of the market it has failed to occupy since the loss of the MR2 roadster and previous-generation Supra, it relative low volume delivers an opportunity to experiment with the sales process.
Toyota is asking retailers who are in-line to work with Supra customers to appoint a “Supra Champion” for their site, to deal with the handover and ongoing contact.
The brand is planning to organise a UK test drive event for potential UK Supra customers in May or June, according to Cullis, with all 24 of a limited-run of launch edition models having been sold out ahead of the car’s arrival into the country.
Cullis said that all Toyota retailers would be able to provide aftersales support for Supra customers.
“There is a requirement for a specialist tooling package, but there is no obligation to buy that until they have an order directed through their dealership,” he added.