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By NBF News

The 2010 edition of the Toyota Awards (the 7th in the series) was held recently at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, where a total of seven vehicular prizes were presented to the brand's dealers and customers who distinguished themselves in various categories in the past one year.

Members of the motoring press were also recognized at the ceremony attended by very important personalities, including the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Muiz Banire, and the Chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL), Chief Michael Ade. Ojo, OON, dealers' principal, auto market leaders and invitees from the banking sector. Addressing guests at the event, Chief Ade. Ojo harped on Toyota's 'Customer-First' philosophy, which, he said, has been guiding Toyota Nigeria in its efforts at breaking new grounds in the area of customer satisfaction, especially through its dealership expansion drive and emphasis on the availability of top quality vehicles and after-sales service support.

'While sustaining the momentum of dealer network expansion, we are equally investing in systematic upgrade of facilities across our existing dealer outlets. The ultimate aim of the initiative, which began some years ago and still continues unabated, is to align with Toyota Motor Corporation's '3S' Philosophy of providing world class and robust auto services in sales, service, and spare parts that compare to what obtains in the developed world', the Toyota Nigeria Chairman said.

According to him, these investments had already started yielding the desired dividends, because 'our dealers have been enrolled in the annual TSM Kodawart Certification Programme of Toyota Motor Corporation - a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation programme which is aimed at achieving the highest global auto standards. I am happy to inform you that all our dealers have achieved good ratings in this regard and will, no doubt, attain consistent highest standard very shortly. In fact, one of our dealers, Elizade Nigeria Limited, was recently certified in this regard'.

Chief Ade. Ojo also told the guests that as a socially responsible corporate organization, TNL donated ambulances and other vehicles worth N20 million to the University Teaching Hospital Private Suites, Ibadan, as well as the Ondo State Government, to enhance health care delivery. Lagos state also benefited in the areas of education and security.

Earlier while welcoming the guests, the Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria, Chandrasheker Thampy, remarked that the annual Toyota forum provides a veritable platform for the company to show appreciation to its customers, whom he described as 'the life and blood of our existence, hence our resolve to recognise and celebrate them at every given opportunity.'

He disclosed that in determining the winners of awards like 'Customer of the Year' and the 'Evergreen Customer', TNL looks mainly at the volume of vehicles purchased, stressing that the company has always striven to make the awards better each year, in tandem with Toyota's global philosophy of continuous improvement.

The well attended event was 'compered' by a popular stand-up comedian, Seyi Law.

The Toyota vehicles presented as prizes to the various winners were three units of Corolla Xli versions, two units of Avanza MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), one unit of Hiace bus, standard roof model, and a Toyota Yaris sedan.

In what marked a departure from the usual tradition whereby the winning customer with the highest volume of purchases in a given year emerged from the banking sector, Questrade Nigeria Limited, a private supplies and distribution firm, clinched the prize (a Corolla Xli sedan) this time, while United Bank for Africa won another Corolla as the highest corporate fleet buyer in the last five years (the 'Evergreen Customer'.

There were no upsets in the dealer category, as Elizade Nigeria Limited won the top prize of a Hiace standard roof version for having sold the highest number of Toyota vehicles between March 29, 2010, when the last preceding ceremony was held, and this year's event. Second-placed Mandilas Enterprises won a Corolla Xli, and R.T Briscoe plc which was the second runner-up, got an Avanza.

It was learnt that the front runners, Elizade Nigeria Limited, Madillas Enterprises and R.T Briscoe Nigeria plc, were selected as the best performing dealers based on four critical areas of the business, namely: sales and marketing, service delivery, spare parts stock, and customer satisfaction.

Three motoring journalists were also presented with awards for displaying a great deal of objective reportage, professionalism and consistency, which TNL management revealed were the key parameters employed in determining the winner in the motoring journalist category,.