During the recent Toyota Ride & Drive (more of which you'll read about later on), we got a very special treat from Toyota's dealer network up north: a full tour of the brand new Toyota La Union dealership.
Led by Executive Vice President Mr. Rene O. So, Toyota La Union also belongs to the same group that owns and operates Toyota Dagupan as well as Toyota Baguio, and heavily applies the 5S methodology: seiri (sorting), seiton (straightening), seiso (systematic cleaning), seiketsu (standardizing) and shitsuke (sustaining).
It is the first of several upcoming “next generation” Toyota dealerships as we were told.
The sprawling facility is located along MacArthur Highway in Bauang, La Union, and covers over 2 hectares, with 8000 square meters of space for sales, parking, service and other operations normally associated with Toyota's vast dealer and service network.
The sales area was huge even by Metro Manila standards, but once we got a glimpse of the back, we thought we had walked into a Toyota factory that's been kept secret instead of a dealership's service area; such was the size and scale of Toyota La Union, and it was full of cars being serviced in its (by our count) 74 service bays.
Like a proud father, Mr. So personally took us around his group's newest baby, and was keen on pointing out the many features that makes Toyota La Union a first in the country.
He proudly shows us the premium attention his team paid to setting up a truly green dealership. As a result, his group invested on industrial design with regards to lighting, making sure the service area has plenty of LED light clusters as well as plenty of natural light. Mr. So tells us that based on his experience from their Dagupan and Baguio dealerships, a workforce performs better if working in a bright environment with plenty of natural light.
Also, complete tool kits and cabinets are present at each station (unlike the mobile tool cabinets in most dealers), modern and even specialist equipment such as lathes, a special machine to disassemble shock absorbers, and even a paint booth and a paint mixing station for consistent quality.
The greener, energy-saving measures Toyota La Union took have reportedly increased the investment cost for similar items by at least 60%. The dealership's A/C's are also of the newer, more expensive inverter kind, along with LED lighting. Even the lamp posts in the parking area are powered by solar-charged batteries, while the car wash section has gravel and sediment traps for basic filtration of waste water, helping preserve their environment even further.
Unfazed by the extra investment costs, Mr. So tells us that by investing in green and energy saving design measures, his new dealership cuts down their power costs by over an estimated 40% each month.
Indeed, northern customers have a great, and green place to have their Toyotas serviced.