When entrepreneur Edward Kydd took over a well-known air-conditioning company with a view to expanding it last year, he found that it relied on a make of van he had long appreciated himself – the Toyota Hiace.
“I first used Hiaces with another business back in 1979,” he says. “Optimum Cooling has used them for 10 years – and now we‘ve just bought three of the latest versions.”
Essex-based Optimum Cooling Ltd, which recently moved to new premises in Colchester, fits and maintains bespoke air-conditioning systems for commercial and industrial customers, from southern East Anglia down to the South Coast.
The company has an all-Toyota fleet, and runs nine vehicles at present, with seven installation and service engineers using the Hiace vans and two sales engineers Avensis 2.0 D-4D T2s, one of which has just been replaced.
The three new Toyota Hiaces are all 2.5-litre D-4D diesel models with standard van bodies and internal lining. “We’re in an expansionist phase, so we’ll probably be looking at two more vans and another Avensis as new staff join us in the next few months,” says Mr Kydd.
“Hiaces give you no problems at all – they just go on forever,” he says. “In fact, we’ve just put a new engine in one that’s 10 years old and has done about 200,000 miles!
“We’ve always had a good relationship with Toyota and will continue to do so,” adds Edward Kydd. “The drivers love the vehicles and we’ve had very favourable comments from customers about the Hiaces in their new branded livery – they do look very good, no question.”
Installation sites range from major supermarkets to office blocks, often located in city centres. “One of the main reasons for choosing these vans is that they’re of a size to allow drivers to park easily when they’re working in London and other cities. The Hiace will fit into almost any normal space.”
The vehicles are finance-leased by Toyota Financial Services and supplied by Ipswich Toyota which, says Mr Kydd, “has given the company really good service over the years.”
With the vans and cars “scattered to the four corners”, Ipswich Toyota shares servicing and repair work with related Essex centre Toyota Colchester.