In a surprising windfall for the Australian government, Toyota has made moves to hand back more than $18 million worth of JobKeeper payments.The car manufacturer had qualified for JobKeeper in mid 2020 when its revenue fell more than 50 per cent as the COVID-19 pandemic hit resulting in lockdowns and restrictions across the nation.
But Australia’s number one car brand bounced back from financial uncertainty with more than 66,000 vehicles sold in the fourth quarter, an increase of almost 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
Toyota president and CEO, Matthew Callachor, said the company approached the Australian Taxation Office in December to arrange the JobKeeper repayment.
“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,” he said.
“We claimed JobKeeper payments to help support the job security of almost 1,400 Toyota employees around Australia.”
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But a plan to overcome the challenges and reignite business worked, Mr Callachor added, with Aussies keen to buy comfortable cars for local holidays.
With almost a quarter of a million cars sold in 2020, Toyota was the best-selling brand for the 18th consecutive year, said the company.
Total sales in 2020 added up to almost 204,801 vehicles, which were 975 short of the previous year.
“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,” Mr Callachor said.

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