Andrew Kirby, President, and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), was voted Business Leader of the Year 2022 at the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards. The prize was awarded at Johannesburg’s Empire Conference and Events Venue in Parktown.
Business executives nominate and vote for the Business Leader of the Year Award. Kirby was honored for his assistance in reviving the Toyota Prospecton Plant in Durban after it was badly destroyed by rains in April.
The mud was between 0.6 and 1.8 meters thick across the whole 87-hectare complex, causing substantial damage to electrical, mechanical, and information technology systems. To repair the damaged equipment parts, TSAM had to order about 100 000 new ones, while over 4 300 flood-damaged cars had to be crushed.
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) despatched a top disaster management executive to the site, who declared that it was “the most significant damage to any production facility within Toyota internationally.” However, by the end of July, the factory had begun ramping up production and had returned to full capacity by September.
The Prospecton Plant of TSAM manufactures the Corolla Cross and Quest, as well as segment leaders Hilux, Hiace Ses’fikile, and Fortuner, as well as a variety of Hino commercial vehicles.
“I truly feel that the problems that we had during the pandemic from a manufacturing, retail, and export standpoint – and then, of course, the riots in July – allowed us to be prepared for what happened this year [floods in KwaZulu-Natal],” Kirby said in his award speech. It’s not something we’d wish on anyone, but the obstacles helped us grow and strengthen our strengths and resilience as an organization, allowing us to survive and even thrive…”
“This award honors everyone at Toyota South Africa, including executives, management, and the entire workforce, who demonstrated extraordinary resourcefulness, passion, and tenacity to achieve what can only be characterized as a minor miracle.”
Sunday Times Editor S’thembiso Msomi noted that events like the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards remind South Africans of the country’s people and institutions’ resilience. “The success of the organizations and individuals that we honor tonight should inspire all of us in our modest corners to never give up hope,” Msomi added.
TSAM has been the country’s sales leader for more than four decades and presently has a market share of 24.4% year to date, thanks to the sale of about 107 000 Toyota-, Hino-, and Lexus-branded cars (out of the industry total of 437 467). This is despite the months when TSAM was unable to produce high-volume sellers such as the Hilux, Corolla Cross, and Hiace Ses’fikile owing to Prospecton Plant’s suspension of operations.