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Toyota’s ever-reliable partner

By Philippe Le Saux
-    Jun 01, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Federico Pfeil-Schneider, President of Distoyota

Japanese vehicle maker and global giant Toyota could not be in more competent hands in Colombia than those of Distoyota, which has had 46 years of experience in the business of vehicle distribution.

“The best way to deal with the Japanese is by direct contact, so that you build trust. It’s something very German and very Japanese,” said President Federico Pfeil-Schneider, who flew to Japan in 1976 to meet with the Toyota Motors president at that time and secure business as an official distributor.

With the entry of other competing brands the past few years, business has grown more challenging, a change that Distoyota viewed as an opportunity to redefine the rules.

“When we saw it in Distoyota, we began a drastic change in our dealerships,” said Pfeil-Schneider.

The very first change made was improved communication between the importer and the dealer via homegrown, Internet-based software that allows any dealer to check for available spare parts or inquire about stocks in real time with the warehouses. The program even tells dealers which warehouse is closest to them.

The second improvement was better connectivity with clients.

“We have 35 special mobile workshops that guarantee our presence across the country. That allows us to overcome the lack of infrastructure in the country and be able to go to our clients using our rolling workshops,” Pfeil-Schneider explained.
In fact, Distoyota set up in-house shops to fulfill the needs of clients located in remote places, such as mining companies.  “We have our own guys with our own spare parts to serve them and offer them special discounts,” he said.

Distoyota is very proud that its customers, upon buying a vehicle, will enjoy a worry-free experience for three years or 100,000 km.
“They do not have to worry about anything — maintenance, brakes replacement and oil change — because we pay for them,” he said.  The three-year warranty has created a base of loyal clients who return after three years to purchase a new Toyota.

Distoyota has also defined punctuality in delivery. Because the distributor owns its own fleet of car transporters, while others normally rent them, it is able to bring the new cars from the port to its very excited clients in a very short time.

“Forty-six years of working with Toyota has taught me that, in the car industry, there is no better associate than a Japanese car manufacturer, like Toyota”

- Federic Pfeil-Schneider, Distoyota President

Creating a more personalized experience for its customers, Distoyota set up its own call center. The effort appears to have paid off.
“While the automotive market has shown a general slump in sales, Distoyota has not only held on to its top position, but also boosted its sales,” said Pfeil-Schneider.

And with the economic partnership agreement between Japan and Colombia on the horizon, Distoyota plans to expand its presence in the country even further, a clear commitment to a highly successful bilateral venture.

There is no doubt that Distoyota is an example of a successful Japanese-Colombian partnership. Its commitment to the brand is strong.  “Forty-six years of working with Toyota has taught me that, in the car industry, there is no better associate than a Japanese car manufacturer, like Toyota,” he said.

Seven years ago, Distoyota aspired to be best in service and, in that brief a time, the company has certainly attained its objective, while also gaining more loyal clients, employing the Japanese way.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Colombia 2013 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux)


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