By Elvis Ondieki
There was a time when buying used cars in Kenya was like driving on an unbeaten path. You didn’t know if you’d land in a hole or suffer a puncture, or surprisingly cruise to the end without incident.
The market was characterised by much trial and error. Some people got good deals, while others were left feeling short-changed and mourning the money they had lost.
Then came Toyotsu Auto Mart Kenya, which is part of the Toyota Tsusho Corporation/CFAO Group and an affiliate of Toyota Kenya.
Its entry into the Kenyan market in 2012 turned the ignition key into a new chapter in the field. It came with a philosophy of integrity and transparency, attention to detail, insistence on thorough pre-importation checks and a culture of talking to customers even after purchase.
With those, Toyotsu vroomed into the hearts of Kenyans from all segments of the economy, mostly those seeking pre-owned cars.
Those seeking used cars from Toyota, Nissan, Subaru and Mitsubishi, among other brands, have found Toyotsu Auto Mart their go-to place.
Nine years later, Toyotsu has sold over 8,000 used cars and serviced more than 38,000 units. It has also established a modern showroom and an ever-growing list of clientele.
Kenya’s elite with a taste for high-end SUVs, especially the Landcruiser V8 and the Prado, have also developed a soft spot for Toyotsu.
Ms Rebecca Ngigi, a marketing executive at Toyotsu, says a number of CEOs, managing directors, Members of Parliament and top civil servants are among those who buy cars from Toyotsu. And they keep going back.
Ms Ngigi explains that Toyotsu has cultivated its appeal to Kenya’s elite by upholding professionalism.
“This is a customer who is keen on value for money and quality. Some of the things that we don’t compromise on is the quality of the imported vehicles. We have genuine mileages and accident-free status confirmed, and that has been very critical for us,” she says.
“We have to inspect the vehicle to an extent that we give a warranty to the customer, because we are quite assured that the vehicle we are giving them is of good quality,” Ms Ngigi adds.
She notes that when a car is within the warranty period – typically between two months and one year – Toyotsu addresses any issues that might develop within this period.
In addition, Toyotsu offers a one-year FREE road assistance in partnership with AA Kenya to further give their customers the important peace of mind.
The aspect of trade-ins has also contributed to making Toyotsu the frontrunner. The elite like driving the latest cars on the market and Toyotsu has been big on this.
“Normally, these are people that really want to be ahead of their game. So, if there is a new model in town, they’ll want to be the first to buy it. Let’s say they have a Prado 2015 model and there is a 2020 one available: We let them dispose of the 2015 model, hassle free. What happens is, we do a valuation of the current vehicle and give an offer that becomes a deposit, which they top up to get the new car,” Ms Ngigi explains.
Toyotsu pledges to do valuation of any car brought for trade-in within 48 hours (except on Sunday and public holidays).
Another driver to Toyotsu’s appeal to Kenya’s elite has been the insistence on sourcing spares from reputable sources. “We partner with leading manufacturers in the world to ensure we provide the used car customer with good quality parts,” Ms Ngigi points out.
This is the reason, she adds, why those who buy and service cars at Toyotsu maintain a high resale value.
This advantage is about to further solidify with the planned launch of a loyalty programme in August 2021, whereby Toyotsu customers will get lifetime discounts on aftersales services.
There are also other contributing factors, including assigning a dedicated sales consultant for a customer to contact in case of any issue.
The other factor is the Toyotsu showroom. “It is a modern one. The elite class finds it favourable and secure to carry on with their office work as they are servicing their vehicle,” says Ms Ngigi.
Due to those factors, Toyotsu keeps getting good reviews. Reviews on Google, made by customers who have visited the showroom, are an example. One customer typed in June 2021: “Amazing set-up, fulfilling all your automotive needs.” Another one wrote in May: “Very welcoming...I like how they handle their clients.”
Then there is one who wrote in April: “Customer service is excellent. It’s a place you would like to buy your first vehicle.”
You can have a feel of what Toyotsu is all about by checking out the videos on their YouTube channel.
Or, if you wish to go through the website to sample some of the cars on sale plus their prices and specifications, click here.