Toyota takes the Savrala Manufacturer of the Year Award. From left:  L-R: Winston Guriah, president of Savrala; Toyota representatives Johannn Theart, Patrick Carroll, Ramatjitla Penyane, Michelle Schwartz and  Christine Kruger; and Sandile Ntseoane, Savrala GM. general manager.
Toyota takes the Savrala Manufacturer of the Year Award. From left: L-R: Winston Guriah, president of Savrala; Toyota representatives Johannn Theart, Patrick Carroll, Ramatjitla Penyane, Michelle Schwartz and Christine Kruger; and Sandile Ntseoane, Savrala GM. general manager.

When you are looking for a new car, you might turn to various people for advice on what is the best car, or the best manufacturer. Hopefully you rely on Motor News for insight, but you might also ask your colleagues, friends, family or that bloke in the pub who seems to know everything about everything.

But what about an organisation that has more than 370,000 vehicles in the fleets of its members? Surely they must know a thing or two worth knowing?

We are talking about Savrala, the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association. Its rental company members include Avis/Budget, Bidvest and Hertz, managing more than 70,000 vehicles, while there are 300,000 vehicles among its leasing members.

The organisation has just announced its annual Manufacturer of the Year awards and, for the first time since 2009, the overall winner was not Volkswagen. This year the top honour went to archrival Toyota.

Toyota dominated the leasing section of the awards which helped it to the overall title. VW took second overall followed by Hyundai. VW took the top award in the rental section followed by Toyota and Hyundai, while in the leasing section Hyundai took the second spot behind Toyota with VW in third.

Key criteria

The competition has been in existence for 22 years and Savrala surveys its 24 member companies twice a year, assessing 38 key criteria. These include value, maintenance, technical support, communication and dealer support as well as broad-based black economic empowerment compliance.

Savrala says that the survey, which is conducted by Lightstone, is completed by a number of individuals who all have responsibility for dealing with the various manufacturers.

The overall scores did drop in 2017 in rental and leasing, showing there are areas manufacturers need to improve on to satisfy these extremely demanding markets.

In other awards in the rental market VW won the award for Value, while Renault took the honour of being the Most Improved Manufacturer. Ironically considering perceptions of the brand’s presence in the rental market with products such as the Almera and Tiida, Nissan received the Tutuka award for being a lower or niche volume supplier to the industry.

It is no surprise Toyota and VW dominate the awards, but it is good to see other manufacturers in the mix too. No doubt VW will be pulling out all the stops to try to get the top award back in 2018.

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