RealTime IT News

Toyota To Open Online Stores in Japan

Taking a cue from the success of online car sales in the United States, Toyota is bringing the concept home.

The Toyota Motor Company's nationwide dealerships, incorporated under the name of Chiba Toyopet, will add online services in November in an effort to attract and improve their market share among younger drivers.

"The introduction of online services will bring us younger customers and lead to a better impression overall," said Takuro Okui, Toyota's domestic section chief.

Although the largest car maker in Japan and the fourth largest in the world, Toyota's sales impression suffered somewhat when younger consumers of new and used automobiles began to shy away from their traditional method of calling on prospective buyers at home, leading Toyota to fall behind the Honda Motor Company in terms of popularity among those aged 20-30.

"Door to door sales are behind the times," said Katsumata Motoo, Chiba Toyopet President. "To capture a younger market we need to do online sales as well as continuing door to door ones."

To reach this goal, Toyota selected 150 car dealerships to act as the initial test ground for their online network sales, colorfully entitled, "Gazoo."

With "Gazoo," customers will be able to search new car information, used car information, resale prices of used automobiles, insurance information, get maintenance help, add accessories to new cars, and have the option of joining a members club.

Customers will also have the chance to conduct detailed searches into the new or used car that they are looking for. Details such as color, type, and price; estimates on both used and damaged cars, and initially have a database of over 2,500 automobiles to choose from.

However, there are worries that dealership service may suffer--replacing the salesperson and coffee with a computer system--but by appealing to computer savvy individuals, Toyota feels they can improve their younger customer base.

"Gazoo" will operated by a staff of 26, headed by Katsumata Motoo, President of Chiba Toyopet.