The Quest, a tweaked version of its previous (10th) generation Corolla, will be produced on the same platform as its new (11th) generation Corolla at its Prospecton plant in Durban and is aimed at families who require a spacious sedan with a reasonable price tag.
Glenn Crompton, vice president for sales and marketing, says the Quest should add between 1,5 and 2 percentage points to TSAM’s market share in the new passenger car market and could also boost its share in the market for B (affordable, smaller passenger cars) and C segment (mid-size, mid-price) sedans to between 50 and 60%.
TSAM’s market share in the combined B and C sedan segment grew from 35% in 2000 to 52% in 2008, but fell back to 48% by 2010.
Around 1 000 units of the Quest will be produced for the local market on a monthly basis as well as 100 to 200 for export to roughly 27 African markets excluding North Africa. Its biggest export market will likely be Nigeria.
At the same time roughly 30 000 new generation Corollas will be produced a year. The local content on the Quest is approximately 55%, compared to 48% for the Corolla.
The launch of the Quest marks the second time TSAM has developed a regional product from an existing model. It previously relaunched its fifth generation Corolla as the Tazz and produced it for more than a decade after the base model was discontinued in other international markets.
Anand Pather, vice president of purchasing and engineering, says since 2000 passenger car sales have grown into a significant portion of overall new vehicle sales in South Africa.
The introduction of the 9th generation Corolla in 2002 marked a meaningful increase in participation and market share in the passenger car segment for TSAM. The Yaris sedan, which was launched a few years later, further enhanced the company’s market share in this segment, he says.
However, the global financial crisis of 2008 took its toll on sales.
Also, the introduction of the 10th generation Corolla firmly moved Corolla into the C segment, while B segment sales started to boom, driven mainly by affordability.
Subsequently, a product gap emerged for Toyota in the passenger car market, Pather says.
Although Quest pricing starts at R174 900, the model is not a “stripped-out” version of the previous Corolla, Pather says.
Cost containment is the result of four key factors.
The Quest is produced on the same platform as the new-generation Corolla and thus required a “minimal investment” in the plant. About 22% of the components that fit into the Quest are shared with the new-generation Corolla.
Other factors include economies of scale and intelligent editing of features.
The journalist visited Durban as a guest of TSAM