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The availability of the new turbocharged Toyota Harrier marks an important milestone for the brand in Singapore, and will be a key model moving forward.

25 Jul 2017

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This year, Borneo Motors Singapore (BMS) celebrates its 50th anniversary of its incorporating and its partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Singapore with the opening of the new Inchcape Centre. And for the first time ever, the new turbocharged Toyota Harrier is being brought in by BMS, Toyota's Authorised Distributor (AD) in Singapore. Together, these two events represent a key milestone for BMS as it pushes ahead into the future. 

Previously only available via Parallel Import (PI), the launch of the new Toyota Harrier is more than simply just any car launch - it represents a big step forward for BMS and the Toyota brand in Singapore, especially with it being the first turbocharged model here. We sat down with its Chief Engineer, Yoshikazu Saeki, to talk about the development of the Harrier, its availability in Singapore, and to discuss why the Harrier is an important model for the Singapore market. 

Sakei-san emphasises the importance of building strong customer relationships, something that BMS is well-equipped to do in Singapore
1. It's the first time the Toyota Harrier is available outside of the Japanese domestic market

Touted as a 'Made-For-Singapore' car, the Harrier represents a big win for BMS - it's the first market outside of Japan to get this model through the AD. It highlights the tight partnership between BMS and TMC. According to Saeki-san, the decision to allow the Harrier to be exported to Singapore was predicated on the model's suitability to our market.

"In Japan, when we talk about Harrier, people think of words like stylish, aggressive, smart and cool. So in Japan, the Harrier is a vehicle that suits a city like Tokyo. This is my first time coming to Singapore, and my impression is that Singapore and Tokyo are very similar - they are exciting, vibrant places that suits the Harrier," he tells us. "If it's a very different market, then I don't think I would agree to export the Harrier here."

The localisation of the model means that all functions are in english, so Singapore drivers won't face a language barrier (an issue with the PI models) to operate and enjoy all of the car's features. At the same time, the ownership experience for customers is assured by BMS, with servicing by Toyota-certified engineers using genuine parts across an islandwide network of service centres. For Saeki-san, this partnership was key for TMC. According to him, Toyota's thinking is that the sales transaction isn't important. The key is in establishing a good relationship with customers so that any potential future problems and concerns can be directly addressed, which is something BMS is capable of. "The relationship is the most important, and this is Toyota's main concern," he says.
 
The introduction of a turbocharged engine allows Toyota to meet the demands of its customers who want a more powerful and better-driving vehicle
2. This is the first turbocharged Toyota model in Singapore
 
The decision to offer a turbocharged Harrier was made to respond to the needs of customers. Saeki-san mentions that Toyota started to see Harrier customers with growing expectations.

"In Japan we offer both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants. But we realised that Harrier users started to expect more things. Some are happy with the conventional 2.0-litre engine, but some want a better driving experience, and that's why we introduced the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine," he says. (The engine is the same unit that powers the Lexus NX200t.) 

In Singapore, the Harrier marks the first turbocharged Toyota model available from BMS (Toyota is the only brand that has yet to introduce a turbocharged model in Singapore). It's an important step forward in the local market, allowing the brand to match up to its competitors that have forged down the path of turbocharging.
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