Toyota South Africa (TSAM) said only five hundred cars have survived the flooding at its Prospecton plant in the after aftermath of KwaZulu-Natal’s deadly flooding disaster.
The company did not give an indication of how many cars were at the plant at the time of the disaster, but photos and videos on social media show hundreds of vehicles under water.
The company said it has not yet determined the cost of the damage it suffered during the floods, which has claimed over 448 lives, washed away bridges, destroyed infrastructure, and rendered some roads unusable.
Toyota South Africa said the flooding has impacted their immediate ability to deliver vehicles.
“Of the total number of water-damaged vehicles assessed, 500 units have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder will be scrapped.”
Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said that customers whose vehicles were destroyed, will be prioritised.
“This will be easier to facilitate with imported CBU vehicles as these are sourced from other plants. Of course, there is a pipeline for all imported vehicles, but we will try to increase this supply in order to make up for the units lost. Locally-produced models such as Hilux are more of a challenge and we will be personally reaching out to customers to inform them of the delays in production.”
Toyota South Africa said it had contingency plans in place following the floods in 2017, but this was not enough to keep the flood waters at bay.
“These included the installation of pumps and piping within the plant to disperse water, as well as maintaining the water-drainage channels surrounding the facility. These countermeasures worked successfully at keeping the flood waters at bay, but were unfortunately no match for the mass of water that breached the facility when the banks of the Mlazi River broke.”
President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Andrew Kirby said while no employees succumbed to injuries on-site, the company would like to extend condolences to the families who have suffered loss as a result of the catastrophic flooding.
“Our approach and response is to prioritise our staff and their families, ensuring that their safety and wellness comes first. This will then be followed by the communities around us, including our extended Toyota family, our dealers and suppliers.”
Kirby said the company has already put plans into place to make a sizeable donation to an NGO to assist local communities.