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Toyota seeking to bring new models to Island in coming months

Toyota is back to full production and capacity following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in April this year.

The vehicle manufacturer also plans to catch up with the units it had to put on hold when production was halted for a few months and expects to be in line with initial forecasts by the end of the year.

That is according to Enrique Patino, sales and marketing representative for Toyota Tsusho America, who along with Hiroshi Kitahara, vice-president for Toyota Tsusho America, and Harry Bodan, section manager for the company’s Caribbean region, was visiting the Island this week to meet with Bermuda Motors and see the market for themselves.

Mr Patino, who was making his first visit to the Island, said that he appreciated the challenges faced by Bermuda in terms of size limitations and other issues.

He said that the company planned to increase its current offering of vehicles, starting with the recent launch of the newly redesigned Toyota Yaris hatchback and the new Verso-S MPV with more in the pipeline over the next six to 12 months.

“We’re looking to expand our line here in Bermuda,” he said.

“Obviously like every other manufacturer, we are limited by the size regulations in Bermuda but we think we have some exciting vehicles that are well-suited to Bermuda.”

He continued: “Within the next three years we will be redesigning several vehicles in our line so Bermuda drivers can look forward to many more new and exciting models with the same quality and reliability that they expect from Toyota.”

Last year Toyota recalled more than eight million of its vehicles due to problems with unintended acceleration but Mr Patino said that it was a matter of clearing up some confusion about the issue with most of the models affected being produced in the US and not Japan which supplies the Caribbean market.

He said that despite the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami causing some interruption to business, the company was now ramping up its production to get back to previous levels.

Mr Patino said that the Bermuda market was still soft compared to a number of others in the Caribbean which were already starting to pick up, but he anticipated it would turn next year.

Mr Kitahara, who recently relocated to Miami after spending four years as general manager at Toyota’s headquarters in Japan, is visiting all markets in the Caribbean region.

He said: “My first impressions are that the Bermuda market is more organised and sophisticated than some of the others and that the people are more educated.

“We’re very excited about the models we’re going to be bringing here. Toyota has a wide range of vehicles and while we can’t offer all of those advantages to Bermuda because of the limitations on size and ownership, we will be able to offer excellent models from Japan and Europe as long as they meet Bermuda’s requirements.”

Toyota in town: Pictured (from left) are Enrique Patino, sales and marketing representative, Toyota Tsusho New line: America, Fred Thompson, sales manager, Bermuda Motors, Hiroshi Kitahara, vice-president, Toyota Tsusho America, Michael Butler, general manager, Bermuda Motors, and Harry Bodan, section manager, Caribbean, Toyota Tsusho America with the new Toyota Verso-S at the Bermuda Motors showroom on Church Street

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Published September 29, 2011 at 10:09 am (Updated September 29, 2011 at 10:09 am)

Toyota seeking to bring new models to Island in coming months

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