Official Toyota and Lexus distributor UMW Toyota Motor has announced that it has resumed its sales, servicing and manufacturing operations since Monday, August 16, in line with the government’s easing of restrictions on the automotive industry.

For now, the reopening of showrooms and service centres is limited to states and federal territories that have surpassed a 50% vaccination rate, which are the Klang Valley, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

“We welcome the easing of the restrictions which have posed an increasing challenge to our business over the past two months. Resuming our business activities, especially at Toyota and Lexus retail outlets, will enable a return to some form of normalcy so we can move forward and do our part to help in the economic recovery of the country,” said president Ravindran Kurusamy.

He added that the company understands the seriousness of slowing the spread of Covid-19 and has pledged to follow all standard operating procedures (SOPs), conditions and guidelines set by the health ministry and the national security council (MKN). These protocols, Ravindran said, will be implemented throughout the company and strictly followed to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

“In fact, after the movement control order last year, we already implemented many of the SOPs at our showrooms and service centres, and these have been maintained even until now. These include temperature scanning of everyone, registration with MySejahtera, use of hand sanitisers and face masks, and regular sanitisation of premises,” he said.

The company also mentioned that owners visiting service centres are required to make appointments in advance. Contactless payments are encouraged and visitors have to observe social distancing at all times. “We assure our customers that we have made sure that our premises have a safe environment for them to visit,” Ravindran said.

The resumption of manufacturing activities, on the other hand, will enable the company to begin fulfilling the backlog of orders that have built up. The two UMW Toyota Motor plants in Shah Alam and Bukit Raja as well as related factories will be allowed to operate at specified capacities depending on the percentage of workers already fully vaccinated, with full capacity permitted if more than 80% have gotten their shots.

“The company has been carrying out a vaccination programme and all our employees have already been vaccinated or will be vaccinated very soon,” Ravindran said. “Despite the less encouraging sales numbers for the months of June and July, we still have a strong order bank of bookings for the various models and will move forward swiftly to respond accordingly to minimise any impact to our business and customers.”

Last month, UMW Toyota Motor issued a statement which, among other things, lamented the possible effect of the lockdown order on its plans to assemble hybrid vehicles locally this year. The company has now said that those plans are back underway, albeit with some setbacks due to the order.

“Now that the restrictions are lifted, we have more certainty as there are many important plans in the pipeline. For example, we have been preparing for the local assembly of Toyota Hybrid Electric Vehicles and while the past two months have disrupted planning, we will now proceed as quickly as possible to make up for the time lost,” said deputy chairman Akio Takeyama.

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