WORK has begun in earnest at the Toyota Parts Distribution Warehouse in Atlas Road, East Rand, where Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) is expanding this facility to double in size from 40 000m² to 80 000m².
The company is investing a total R365 million in the project and, when completed in 2021, the facility will be the largest automotive parts’ warehouse in the Southern Hemisphere. President and CEO Andrew Kirby described the investment as a reflection of TSAM’s commitment to both the South African economy and the local automotive sector.
“This investment will also strengthen our position as a Toyota regional manufacturing hub with an ability to fully support any locally manufactured vehicle, regardless of its destination. This will further create an environment in which Toyota and the automotive industry can further expand operations, in turn benefitting our local suppliers and the automotive component industry.”
Kirby added that the expanded warehouse will allow the company to further improve the availability of service and replacement parts on all of its vehicles – including Toyota, Hino and Lexus. It will also support over 250 dealerships in the Southern Africa region, as well as 70 international destinations where South African-built Toyota vehicles are found.
The current warehouse building was officially opened in 2012 and was designed to be environmentally sensitive. It boasts a water collection and irrigation system aimed at reducing the total water consumption at the facility. There is also an underground retention tank with the capacity to hold up to 175 000 litres of rain water, collected from the warehouse roof, and then drained through a bio-filter before it’s used to irrigate the landscaped areas. The new phase, currently under construction, will feature a two million-litre tank for the harvesting of rain water.
TSAM’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron said the warehouse, already a “state-of-the-art mega distribution centre”, will be turned into an “ultra-facility”, absorbing all the operations from the company’s first warehouse of 22 000m² located in Sandton.
“The sheer size and scale of the warehouse we are building is a clear indication that we are committed to the South Africa automotive sector, as well playing regional hub to the rest of the continent. We would like to remain Africa’s most popular vehicle brand and a reliable supply of parts flowing through from our parts’ warehouse is integral to our strategy.”
While progress on the construction site was slightly hampered by lockdown in the months of April and May, both TSAM and developer Investec – who built the original structure – are positive that the facility will be officially opened next year.
“The project has been delayed and will now also be impacted by the December holiday period. The original plan was to complete construction by end of November, but we then lost two months due to lockdown. However, we are pleased that everyone involved in the project is working hard to minimise the impact of the delay,” said Anand Pather, Vice President of Customer Service at TSAM.
He added that, from the outset of the project, both TSAM and Investec have been working closely in carefully managing every element of the brief. In fact, when the government introduced COVID-19 compliance measures prior to relaxing lockdown regulations in May, the construction site was set up to allow for screening (temperature checks), hand sanitisation as well as to encourage workers to practise physical distancing.
The design and layout of the Phase 2 facility has already been updated to promote physical separation and social distancing, accommodate space for temperature screening and ensure adequate ventilation.