Toyota Australia today confirmed it will return JobKeeper payments received in 2020, following its strong sales performance in the final quarter of the year.
Mid last year, Toyota qualified for JobKeeper when its revenue fell more than 50 per cent - the threshold for access to the Federal Government's stimulus program designed to keep people in jobs.
Toyota's sales later recovered with the company posting a record fourth-quarter total of 66,179 vehicles, a gain of 29.1 per cent over the same period in 2019.
As a result, Toyota was the best-selling brand for the 18th consecutive year with total deliveries of 204,801 vehicles - just 975 short of the previous year.
Toyota President and CEO Matthew Callachor said the company approached the Australian Taxation Office in December to arrange the JobKeeper repayment, amounting to more than $18 million.
"Like most businesses, Toyota faced an extremely uncertain future when the COVID-19 health crisis developed into an economic crisis that even led to dealerships closing for extended periods in Victoria and Tasmania," Mr Callachor said.
"We claimed JobKeeper payments to help support the job security of almost 1,400 Toyota employees around Australia - the people who are our first priority," he said.
"At the same time, we executed a comprehensive action plan which succeeded in overcoming the challenges we faced and reigniting our business.
"In the end, we were very fortunate to weather the storm better than most, so our management and board decided that returning JobKeeper payments was the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen.
"We are extremely grateful that so many Australians continue to put their trust in Toyota to deliver quality vehicles and services, especially in tough times."
Mr Callachor said the JobKeeper repayment was consistent with Toyota's ongoing support for the community, which last year included:
- Preparing more than 50,000 meals for frontline workers and vulnerable members of the community,
- Designing and producing face shields that were donated to hospitals,
- Helping grassroots clubs raise more than $650,000 through the Good for Cricket and Good for Footy raffles,
- Donating $573,000 to assist bushfire-affected communities, and
- Awarding Toyota Community Trust grants for STEM education projects.