South­bound drain


TOY­OTA, the dom­i­nant brand of the past decade, is fac­ing a brain drain over the next two years as a re­sult of its de­ci­sion to move mar­ket­ing and sales from Syd­ney to Mel­bourne. Sev­eral se­nior ex­ec­u­tives won’t make the trip south while oth­ers haven’t yet de­cided.

The com­pany is com­mit­ted to re­plac­ing those who leave with man­agers dis­placed by the clo­sure of the Al­tona fac­tory in Vic­to­ria but many are ner­vous about re­plac­ing sea­soned mar­keters with man­u­fac­tur­ing spe­cial­ists.

The strat­egy could cause the com­pany to lose ground, par­tic­u­larly in the key mar­ket of Syd­ney.

The move is also shak­ing up the long-term agen­cies that have been be­hind some of the most recog­nis­able ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns of decades past.

Many have out­posts in Mel­bourne but the key per­son­nel are in Syd­ney.

The risk is that the com­pany loses di­rec­tion in the process of re­build­ing its mar­ket­ing team. Other car com­pa­nies we’ve spo­ken to see it as a chance to chip away at the gi­ant’s con­sid­er­able mar­ket share.

The end of Camry pro­duc­tion in 2017 also will open the door for ri­vals to poach govern­ment and fleet clients, which in the past have had a buy Aus­tralian pol­icy.

There are other fac­tors to con­sider. Toy­ota’s mar­ket share in Syd­ney has been stronger than other states and many put that down to its lo­cal pres­ence.

Syd­ney head­quar­tered ri­vals Hyundai, Volk­swa­gen, Subaru and Kia will be lick­ing their lips at the prospect of gain­ing some of that share.

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