Because of the strong rand, Toyota SA was making only “a small profit” on its exports of Corollas, but benefited from improved margins on imports, the company’s chairman, Elisabeth Bradley, said.

Because of the strong rand, Toyota SA was making only “a small profit” on its exports of Corollas, but benefited from improved margins on imports, the company’s chairman Elisabeth Bradley said.


"It (the company) was in a loss-making situation, and that has been reversed," said Bradley, who is executive chairman of Wesco, the Wessels family's listed investment vehicle, which owns 25 per cent of Toyota SA.


Speaking at the release of Wesco’s interim results to September, Bradley said Toyota's net income after tax was R217 million in the six months to June, compared with a loss of R183 million in the first half of the previous year.


Bradley said the reason for the turnaround had been the strong rand. "We are paying less for imported parts and vehicles and we are bigger importers than exporters. Even the vehicles we export have 50 per cent imported content," she said.


Bradley said the downside of the strong rand was Toyota SA making only "a very small profit" on its exports to Australia, but said that the programme would continue for strategic reasons.


"Toyota can hammer down costs more easily with higher volumes," said Bradley, who is to stand down as Wesco chief executive at the end of the year. She will, however, stay on as non- executive chairman of Wesco and remain chairman of Toyota SA.


CARtoday.com reported last year that Wesco sold a large part of its stake in Toyota SA to the Prospecton-based firm's Japanese parent in a R1-billion transaction which saw the multinational raise its stake in the local business from 34 to 75 per cent.