Toyota South Africa Motors (Toyota SA) today announced the conclusion of a multi-year deal to support the world-renowned Comrades Marathon as exclusive supplier of vehicles to the event. As part of the agreement Toyota will donate a brand new Toyota Corolla, one of the vehicles it manufactures at its modern Prospecton-plant in the Comrades home of KwaZulu-Natal, to the 2010 Comrades Charity Competition.
The agreement with the Comrades Marathon follows Toyota SA's continued support of South African sport. Starting with cricket, Toyota secured the title of the Official Vehicle Supplier to Cricket South Africa, and has developed this partnership through the very successful Fathers and Sons nationwide coaching clinics, now in its third year.
Following on their involvement in cricket came their support of cycling, through the partnership with cycling guru Andrew McLean's CycleLab and with MTN in supporting the Cycle Park in Gauteng. To further entrench its involvement in this sport, Toyota became the Official Vehicle Supplier to the 2010 ABSA Cape Epic, with five Toyota teams participating as well.
With successful partnerships now established in both cricket and cycling, Toyota SA has made the decision to further strengthen its ties with athletics - a sport which ranks in the top four nationwide, when measuring participation.
For Toyota SA the involvement with a world class event such as the Comrades Marathon is a natural extension of its support for the Toyota Athletics Club, where it supports several high profile and up and coming runners. Many of these runners are also employees at the Prospecton plant in Durban. Toyota SA also believe that its partnership with the Comrades Marathon is a perfect fit where both parties share equal values such as innovation, integrity, diversity and respect. Both entities are also known for their high levels of customer service.
With the Toyota manufacturing plant, where it produces the Corolla, Hilux and Fortuner models, is based in KwaZulu Natal, Toyota remains focussed on investing in the region and its people, including it's employees, adjacent communities and local suppliers.
Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors, is delighted with the opportunity to further enhance the experience of this magnificent race:
“The athletes in our country are of a very high standard, and as a brand we feel honoured to be associated with South Africa's most successful and well known ultra marathon.
We believe our involvement will support the Comrades Marathon's goal of entering the record books as the world's biggest ultra marathon, while at the same time making a meaningful difference in the lives of local communities. To that point we will partner with the Amabeadibeadi charities and all proceeds from the Toyota Corolla Comrades Charity Competition will be donated to the work that they do with, amongst others, vulnerable orphans affected by HIV and AIDS and in protecting the natural environment.
I wish on all athletes that will compete in this gruelling race a safe and enjoyable training regime. Work hard, eat well and have enough rest and remember that we are behind you every step of the way.”
Toyota ambassadors Shaun Pollock and Shaun Bartlett are fully behind each and every athlete competing:
Says Shaun Bartlett: “I thought I had outdone myself by competing with Team Toyota in this year's gruelling ABSA Cape Epic, however our Comrades athlete's from the Toyota Prospecton plant are in a different class. I find them truly inspiring and look forward to cheering them on race day.”
When asked whether he would ever compete in the Comrades, Polly politely declined:
“I have no doubt that when I attend the Comrades I will Lead The Way . . . however it will be in the comfort of the Toyota lead vehicle and not on foot!”
Doug Watson, Helman Mkhelela, Brad Brown and the rest of the Toyota team.