Tag Archives: Toyota

Simplify the School Run with an MPV


In the morning, as many as one in five cars on the road during peak hours is said to be doing the school run. Just imagine how stressful that can be on crowded roads with children who instantly sense how Mum is feeling and often refuse to cooperate!

Luckily there are a few things you can do to make sure the daily school runs operate as smoothly as possible.

Choose the right car for the school run

The first and most important part of the school run is your mode of transport. The ideal family vehicle of choice here? We say the MPV meaning a Multi Purpose Vehicle which is surely the perfect car to accommodate multiple children…


Having lots of space is essential, especially when you might have to fit in multiple children into the back seat as well as their PE kits, musical instruments, satchels and lunchboxes.

Not having the children crammed in on top of each other is another way you can stop children arguing whilst reducing your own stress levels and making the school run that little bit smoother…

How to de-stress school runs

But there is a different way of seeing this whole experience and de-stressing such situations. Instead of treating the school journey as a chore, why not see it as a chance to spend some quality time with your children away from the distraction of TV’s and computer games?

It can be the perfect opportunity to chat about the day ahead or how your children got on at school when you’re driving them home. You could even get together with your children the night before and choose a (needs to be) democratic playlist of fun songs to listen to together on the journey. The kids will actually want to get in the car then and it should make getting them ready and out the door a lot easier.

The benefit of being early…

Once you make it to the school gates, the next challenge is finding a parking slot.

One tip is to set off and arrive before the mad rush follows in. Setting off with barely enough time for the run means you’re likely to rush, and with children darting out from behind the cars when you get there (who were lucky enough to have already parked up) this can be dangerous.

Rushing around does no one any favours, so we suggest you set off early for a more ‘chilled’ journey and allow yourself to feel smug when you pull up into the prime parking position.

Whereas, if you’re someone that always arrives late, no matter how hard you try to get there on time, consider getting a car with a rear view camera to help you reverse into tricky spaces that other parents daren’t tackle.

So remember, the school run CAN be enjoyable if you have the right car, the right attitude and a well thought through routine.

Hopefully next term it should be a lot smoother and stress free!

Happy New Year Mums!


This is a Guest blog from Toyota.

Jolly George praises female friendly employer Toyota

george_toyota2The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, praised Toyota’s provisions for childcare in the workplace this week during his visit to Toyota’s Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire.

Mr Osborne, joined by Exchequer Secretary Priti Patel, toured the on-site Bumpers Nursery and spoke to some of the women engineers who use it..

By making a nursery facility available to local employees in Derbyshire Toyota is setting out its stall to attract young women to consider a career in UK manufacturing.

nurseryThe nursery is called Bumpers and looks after 70+ youngsters aged from three months to school age. Toyota provides the building and the nursery is operated by Kidsunlimited.

In its most recent Ofsted inspection (2013), Bumpers was rated “outstanding”.

Mr Osborne said:

“It is brilliant to see an iconic company like Toyota actively supporting working parents by providing on-site childcare for staff. One of the key barriers to work for parents is finding convenient and affordable childcare. That is why we are introducing tax free childcare but there is still more we can do which is why I will be looking at this issue at this year’s Autumn Statement.”

Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Manufacturing UK said:

“Toyota UK is delighted to welcome the Chancellor to Derby to meet mothers who use our on-site nursery, Bumpers. We are extremely proud of Bumpers and its outstanding rating awarded by Ofsted.

“We want our staff to feel welcomed back to work and that their children are well looked after. Toyota UK is committed to an inclusive, family friendly place of work and the provision of an on-site nursery is just one example of the opportunities open to our employees.”

FOXY says:

This isn’t a new facility but it is a clever source of competitive advantage from a manufacturer employer that is clearly more aware of gender change than many and has made this a strategic business case.

Yes this is a family friendly initiative but the real beneficiaries are hard working Mums who can concentrate on their career knowing their children are safe and close to hand. And who knows, some may even follow Mum into a Toyota career in due course. Providing To find outorthey work hard at their STEM exams of course!

NB: For more about Bumpers in Derby and their Open Day on Friday 21 November go to http://www.kidsunlimited.co.uk/nurseries/bumpers-derby/

Car sales CAN make a difference

Most marketers know to carve out a memorable niche by identifying what makes a product or service different from the rest.

Different in terms of being better, with tailored content perhaps, for a new market… or just cheaper than the rest.

In an industry used to mass marketing more than segmentation (and where the typical message is more male oriented than female regardless of the audience) this brings more marketing challenges to the UK motor industry than most. Especially when the UK’s neighbouring export market is faring worse economically than it is.

Bigger, better, best?

Despite the encouraging news that UK motor manufacturers continue to lead the UK economy in terms of job generation, car sales and exports in Q1, on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning Professor Karel Williams suggested that Vauxhall, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota car manufacturers will struggle for position in the UK in future. This is because they are being squeezed in the middle by cheaper and smaller Hyundais and newcomer Dacia with status seekers and business drivers buying the likes of premium BMW, Audi and Mercedes brands that they presumably perceive to be better at the upper end of the market.

This matters to the UK because most of these supposedly ‘squeezed middle’ brands are the car manufacturers we read about today, leading the UK out of recession we hope, in terms of jobs and exports.

Customer service is key…

This means there’s even more to play for in terms of customer service with Jaguar Land Rover setting a great example of how to move from mediocre to leading advantage in a short period of time. Not just car sales, aftersales (car servicing, repairs and MOT work) is BIG business for dealership groups, specialist bodyshops and independent garages alike. At all levels, there is a real opportunity for those that can do it better to distinguish themselves from the rest (and there is a lot of scope through mediocrity here) gaining the reputation for being a better business as a result.

…providing the price is right

But the price you pay for a new car in a dealership is still too grey an area for my liking.

Why should any motorist, male or female, pay less for a car because they buy it towards the end of a sales period when the salesman is more inclined to share his commission? And why should women feel the need to take a man with them to negotiate that final price for fear of being sold a lemon?

More transparency is needed here, especially when it comes to innocent motorists who don’t understand the unnecessarily complex negotiating game and end up paying more than they should for a new car, having been baffled by the complications of trading in values and car finance in the process.

More patriotic pride needed for new cars ‘Made in GB’?

Alternatively our government can ‘encourage’ British motorists to buy cars (and other goods) made in GB of course, harnessing the power of national pride which turned so many sporting cynics into London 2012 Olympic fanatics.

This is surely what we can expect the likes of France and Germany to do soon, to secure their home markets alongside competing imports.

Then we can all feel EVEN MORE proud of our UK motor industry; when buying British means fair prices and superior service levels that don’t patronise or rip off male or female motorists who want to be able to buy cars and garage services on trust.


Calling all University students

A recent survey suggested that University students rarely considered the motor industry for their future career. Which I was disappointed to read, knowing how much this industry needs to recruit the top talent for its future. And to see that it is failing to appeal to women in the more traditional work areas not just manufacturing, design and motorsports.

And as one of the IMI’s network of Automotive Careers Champions I’m happy to do my bit to spread the word about an exciting job opportunity here, in the hope that more UK students will look more favourably on this industry than they might have done otherwise. And who can afford to ignore remarkable job offers like this one in today’s economic situation.

Which is why I’d like to encourage as many University students to enter a high profile industry competition to ‘win’ 5 months challenging work experience in the automotive industry plus £7500 in prize money. I’m talking about the 2011 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award  which includes the chance to work for McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Toyota and Skoda as well as a £7500 cash prize.

How impressive that will look on any CV – and the opportunity to be considered for a full time graduate appointment at the end of this period we’d hope.

“We are encouraging all students to look to the automotive world for their first step into the world of employment. The industry offers numerous and wide ranging opportunities for enthusiastic graduates – it’s innovative, inspiring and challenging. The industry is most definitely not just for the petrol head” explained Martin Bohling of Courland Automotive Practice.

UK University students are invited to respond to the following brief:

“Using your area of expertise, write a 500-word proposal suggesting some improvement (be it an invention, a legislative change, a change to corporate policy or the adoption of a new convention) which you believe would be a worthwhile benefit to the automotive business, on a small or large scale.”

Brief entries must be in by 28 August and are expected to be innovative, incisive and well communicated using diagrams and images to aid clarity. Twelve students will then be invited to an assessment day before the shortlist is produced. This stage allows each candidate to present their ideas to a panel of judges giving them added interview experience and feedback. The winner will be announced in November.

This is the third year of these Awards and it would be good to see a female winner for the first time. I can’t see why not, providing enough female students have heard of this Award in enough time to whet their appetite.

To find out about exciting career opportunities in the motor industry, please visit the Autocity website for background information

This is such a great opportunity for high flying students to make a real difference to our industry’s future, working alongside some of the leading players here.


A female friendly lifestyle choice in Leicester

Female friendly Sturgess Motor GroupNo matter your lifestyle, there’s a genuinely female friendly garage choice for women drivers in Leicester.

We first met Sturgess Motor Group when they organised a Women in the Driving Seat evening event for local female motorists. It was a popular feature in their calendar and their Marketing Manager, Nichola Moore, saw this as a way to show women drivers how much the Group cares about their motoring welfare not just the value of their business.

It was only a matter of time before this Motor Group would subscribe to FOXY Choice’s female friendly approved UK garage network as further evidence that they really do care for their female customers long after the car has been sold.

Sturgess operates seven franchised car dealership operations in Leicester covering Toyota, Nissan, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover brands. The dealership name and logo will be familiar in the city with branches in Narborough Road, Aylestone Road, Almond Road and Walnut Street.

All locations are ATA employers (Automotive Technician Accredited) which means their staff are accredited to repair all makes of cars not just their franchised brands. They also subscribe to the Motor Codes Service and Repair code which is working its way towards full OFT Code of Practice approval. These are both signs of superior standards in an industry with too many garage/dealership complaints and where women often feel ill at ease and on their guard.

This female unease is precisely why Sturgess have signed up to the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want’ AND have appoined Debbie McIntyre, Gill Clifford, Trish Blaber, Sheena Tegg, Rebecca Hill and Jessica Watts to be Female Business Ambassadors as part of the FOXY Choice female friendly approved garage network.

Sturgess of Leicester is one of the UK’s oldest family operated motor dealers and was founded in 1897. Women shopping for a new or nearly new car to suit their lifestyle and budget will find they have a genuinely female friendly choice here, whether it’s a 4×4, a prestigious executive car, a sporty convertible, something for the family or a stylish and environmentally friendly supermini.

We look forward to working with Sturgess in future.