Werner Hendrikz found that a locally-built Toyota Run X costs only half as much in Australia as it does in South Africa, but Toyota SA president Dr Johan van Zyl says a direct price comparison is unfair.

Werner Hendrikz found that a locally-built Toyota Run X costs only half as much in Australia as it does in South Africa, but Toyota SA president Dr Johan van Zyl says a direct price comparison is unfair.


According to a report in , Hendrikz, a businessman based in Somerset West, found that a Toyota Run X, which is exported to Australia as part of the Toyota SA’s fully built-up export programme, costs half as much Down Under.


CARtoday.com reported last week that Toyota SA was fined R12 million for uncompetitive practices that lead to higher consumer prices. A preliminary investigation by the competition commission found that nearly all manufacturers were guilty of price fixing, which is illegal under the Competitions Act, the Rapport article said.


Hendrikz said the very affordable car prices in Australia came as a "welcome surprise". He and his wife Karen had to move to Australia for work last year. They returned in January this year.


"I bought a demonstration model of the top-specification Toyota Accent (sold as the Run X RSi model in South Africa), in Sydney for Aus$17 000.


"A brand new version would have cost me a little less than A$20 000. In rand (terms) that means only R97 893. That's a whole lot less than the nearly R200 000 you have to pay for the same car with similar specifications in South Africa.


"It doesn't matter how you look at it. Car manufacturers are taking South Africans for a ride. The worst is that nobody ever realised it - not even the dealers who annually travel overseas to attend international motor shows and compare prices.


"It makes one wonder why there is such a deafening silence about it. Why would dealers be happy with 10 per cent profit, while it is clear that the Toyotas are being marketed in South Africa for almost double the amount as those exported to Australia?” Hendrikz asked.


However, Toyota SA president Dr Johan van Zyl responded by saying there were several variants in the pricing model that made a direct comparison unfair.


In comparing the prices between the two cars, not all aspects of the export programme and service plans were taken into consideration, he told .


"Toyota SA simply provides the cars to Australia. We don't determine the prices over there, and have no information on their profit margins,” Dr Van Zyl said.


"We have a sensitive exchange rate that influences export costs. Therefore, this car could have been exported at a higher exchange rate, while the comparison is being made against a lower rate.


"Although the car may look the same, the models' specifications are different. Tyres, air conditioning and sound equipment are provided and installed in Australia. That could have a marked influence on the selling price in Australia," he was quoted as saying.

Original article from Car