Toyota Australia has confirmed it will give back more than $18-million in JobKeeper payments received in 2020.
The money is being returned to the Federal coffers in the wake of the company’s turnaround and strong sales performance in the final quarter of the year.
In the middle of 2020 Toyota qualified for JobKeeper when its revenue fell more than 50 percent during lockdown – the threshold for access to the Federal Government’s stimulus program designed to keep people in jobs.
Very strong sales recovery in late year
But sales later recovered strongly, with the company posting a record fourth-quarter total of 66,179 vehicles. This is a gain of 29.1 percent over 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, 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,” Callachor said.
JobKeeper was to support 1,800 workers
“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.
“At the same time, we executed a comprehensive action plan which succeeded in overcoming the challenges we faced and reigniting our business.”
Callachor added: “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.”
Details of payback still being worked out
He said the company was still working through the details of the handback with the Australian Taxation Office, with Toyota head office in Japan giving final approval.
In 2020, Toyota was the best-selling auto brand in the country for the 18th consecutive year, with total deliveries of 204,801 vehicles – just 975 short of the previous year.
“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,” Callachor said.