Snow’s Group is a family owned company that has been operating in Southern England for over half a century. Currently representing a network of 45 franchised dealerships, there are seven Toyota Dealerships in total, 4 of which are in the South West.
Snows Toyota Plymouth has been serving the local community since January 2013, and offer a range of services from new and used vehicles, MOT’s, servicing and rentals.
Located in Langage Business Park, Snows Group Toyota has been an established showroom based in Plympton for 17 years.
We ask Mark Edmunds, the regional General Manager; what attracted him to the company initially. “Toyota has something for everyone. You have your small car, which was your town vehicle- right up to your multipurpose vehicles and pickups”. Mark tells us that when he came onto the scene, the advanced Hybrid technology wasn’t around- and Toyota was well known for their reliability.
Mark has been with Toyota for 26 years, and had previously been based in Cardiff before making the move to the South West. “The most satisfying aspect is knowing that the customers are so loyal. People don’t just buy one car, once it reaches the end of its lifespan they are back because they know we are reliable”.
Jo Letts, Commercial Vehicle Manager for the Plymouth branch tells us; “The best thing is when you haven’t spoken to a client for a number of years and they call you up, it’s as if you’ve spoken to them yesterday. We get so much repeat business because we genuinely value each and every one of our customers”.
“Car sales have changed dramatically. It’s not a daunting environment anymore. You don’t have to walk in and feel overwhelmed”.
The showroom has had a recent refurbishment, and Mark tells us the importance of customers feeling at ease when they visit. “The pods where we hold meetings with customers, there is no typical desk set up- because that could act as a physical barrier and feel very formal. They are open plan, and around a circular table so everyone is on the same level”.
The showroom is Toyota’s signature ruby red- with curved walls and interactive television screens, open plan meeting pods with no doors to act as a barrier, and plenty of refreshments on offer because, after all- buying a new car is thirsty work!
Going back to Toyota as a business, part of their mission statement enforces the importance of going green, and they are the market leaders in Hybrid Technology.
Toyota has set a projection that by the year 2020, 60% of all their car sales will be Hybrid.
Mark explains that in the last year, out of 200 new car sales in the Plymouth branch, over 47% were hybrid. They were also ranked one of the top 20 Toyota dealers in the country for Hybrid sales.
“The perception with Hybrid is that you have to plug the car in for it to work when you don’t, it self charges. A lot of people don’t understand their options”.
So what is the big deal when it comes to Hybrid technology? Hybrid models are powered by either a petrol or diesel engine, and an electric motor. There are three main types of hybrid, but most of them drive like a conventional automatic car. The chief advantages of a hybrid are that is uses less fuel and emits less CO2 than most conventional non-hybrid vehicles.
The media coverage on the environmental impacts of diesel engines means that awareness of alternative technology is increasing. These impact on the industry, but we’ve got Hybrid vehicles at the forefront, this is where we will excel.
The Toyota Prius, now in its fourth generation is arguably the best known hybrid vehicle. Each of the power sources can drive the car separately, or they can work together. Mark tells us that there is government grant as an initiative to purchase a hybrid vehicle and reduce your carbon footprint.
Mark and Jo agree that the biggest challenge they face as a Dealership is the ever increasing customer knowledge, due to online forums and the impact of social media platforms.
“The customer has so much power. They can research anything online. If you don’t keep up with the pace as a business, you could potentially have a customer that knows more than you”.
Jo Letts is the Commercial Vehicle Manager for Toyota Plymouth. Jo has over ten years experience, giving her a fantastic insight when it comes to finding the right vehicle to suit her customers requirements.
“We now have a dedicated commercial vehicle showroom here at Plympton, Toyota is moving into commercial vehicles quite well”.
Jo explains that Toyota are moving away from the affiliation with other manufacturers, and are going solo when it comes to producing their own commercials.
The Hilux is Toyota’s staple commercial vehicle, with a massive heritage. First coming onto the scene in 1963, the history of the Toyota Hilux spans eight generations, during which the pick-up has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most trusted and reliable commercial vehicles. Joe explains that in 2017, the Hilux won Pick up of the year in the Commercial fleet awards.
Toyota are so confident in their reliability, all commercial vehicles come with a 5 year, 100,000 mile manufacturer warranty.
In regards to competition in the industry, Mark tells us that it is fierce. “Every car out there is a good car nowadays. Our biggest challenge is making sure Toyota stands out from everyone else. We need to remove this stigma that hybrid is unknown, as trust is essential when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle”.
Toyota Plymouth offer Hybrid versions on six of their popular models; the Yaris, Auris, Prius, Prius Plus, Plug in Prius, and RAV4, Toyota’s 4 wheel drive. Mark explains that they have actually stopped producing the diesel version of the RAV4, making it a hybrid only option. “It was a bold move- but it is letting people know that this is the future. It is what the customers want”.
Customer satisfaction is high on the list of priorities for the team at Toyota. “For us, making a great experience for the customer is key. We want you to be able to park easily outside, to be greeted by a customer host when you enter and not be bombarded by sales immediately. We want you to leave feeling like you’ve been treated with respect; that you’ve been listened to”.
Looking to the future, Mark and Jo would love to become the biggest hybrid vehicle seller in the South West, and if their recent track record is anything to go by, this could soon become a reality.
“We want people to know we are here, we want to raise awareness of the importance of hybrid technology and remove this stigma that it is the unknown”. Says Mark. Why not visit Snows Toyota today to test drive a hybrid vehicle and find out for yourself? You can make enquiries through their website, or via the contact details below.