Amanda VanderMolen gave a very informative talk on how COVID has impacted the car industry, with particular reference to Toyota dealerships.
Since 2020, it has been a journey of ongoing hurdles and road blocks, an obvious one being the shortage of vehicles.
A chip shortage has evolved into a material shortage, including leather, plastic and the raw materials to make microchips and batteries.
Shipping delays and natural disasters have had major negative impacts, as has the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, inflation and major staffing shortages with logistics companies.
“Keeping frustrated staff motivated and supporting them with realistic positivity, while communicating with customers that we are doing everything in our power to help” has been a major challenge.
Elaborating on the shortage of vehicles, Amanda said that “Of everything we have coming in, 95% of it is sold, and the other 5% ends up selling within hours”.
While Canadian car sales are down, Toyota is still the #1 manufacturer for retail sales, year to date.
Amanda spoke about the increase of vehicle exporters and how Toyota is dealing with that.
The shortages and logistics issues are not just limited to new vehicles. Parts departments are also impacted.
Amanda ended her presentation by saying that the car industry has changed forever; that she thinks the shortage situation will get worse before it gets better; and that she is grateful to work for a manufacturer like Toyota, “who is always pushing to make improvements and continues to make great products and remain realistic – only sourcing material by ethical means”.
After her presentation, Amanda very ably fielded a number of interesting questions.