TOYOTAS STRIKE THE RIGHT NOTE FOR BELLS
A prominent convenience store chain in the North-east of England is stepping up the process of switching its field staff into Toyotas, and has just added another seven Avensis and Corolla models to its fleet, with its first two Corolla Versos due to be delivered in April.
“Conveniently Yours” is the slogan of Bells Stores, based in Skelton, Cleveland. This business has grown since 1968 from a well-known family firm with two outlets into today’s highly respected chain of convenience stores, now operating as a subsidiary of Sainsbury’s. Bells has 55 outlets spread over the Cleveland and Teesside area north to Durham and Tyne & Wear. After signing a solus agreement with Toyota Fleet, the company is replacing the field-staff cars in a 52-vehicle fleet previously dominated by Vauxhalls.
Sixteen Corolla 1.6 litre petrol-engined hatchbacks have so far been delivered for use by support staff, including IT and Health and Safety personnel. The two Versos on order will be used by IT staff who require a larger load-carrying capacity than normal. Meanwhile seven Avensis 1.8-litre petrol hatchbacks are now in use with Bells Stores’ Area Managers, along with an estate T3 version provided for the company’s Finance Controller.
“We chose to go with Toyota based on the fine balance between a keen price and excellent specification,” said Fleet Administrator Dave Bywater. “We were given a presentation by a number of contract hire suppliers and Toyota was streets ahead of the competition.”
“Our drivers are very pleased with them,” said Mr Bywater. “They average 20,000 miles a year, and the Avensis is a great car, the Corolla is a reasonably sized vehicle in the smaller-car sector, and they’ve all been very favourably received.”
“Bells Stores is larger now and growing fast, so it makes sense to have a formal agreement in place,” went on Mr Bywater. “We have been able to deal directly with Toyota Fleet and it has been excellent.” The Toyotas are supplied through Arval PHH on a four-year full-maintenance contract.