Autohorn Fleet Services Goes Hybrid With Toyota

4 October 2011

The arrival of 60 Toyota Auris Hybrid hatchbacks has enabled York’s largest car hire specialist to offer its customers an ultra-low-emissions option for the first time.

Autohorn Fleet Services has been in business as a car and van rental, short-term leasing and contract hire company for more than 15 years, and holds National, Alamo and Europcar franchises. Seventy per cent of its business, around 200,000 days of hire a year, is corporate.

The company operates a mixed fleet of 600 vehicles, but had only ever used a small number of Toyotas in the past. Now not only have the Auris Hybrids joined the fleet but Autohorn has also ordered 50 Toyota Aygo ICE 1.0-litre hatchbacks as city runabouts.

The Auris Hybrid five-door, five-seat 1.8 VVT-i hatchback is the only petrol-electric car in its class, and the first Toyota hybrid to be made in Britain. With CO2 emissions of 93g/km on the T4 version as specified by Autohorn, there is no road tax to pay, and the combined-circuit fuel-consumption figure is more than 70mpg.

“Ordering the hybrids was very much a conscious decision to enable us to offer our customers a genuinely environmentally friendly vehicle, either for short or longer-term hire,” says Autohorn’s Head of Sales Neil O’Connor.

“We decided on Toyota on the basis of price, service and the car itself, how it looks and its specification. High levels of equipment are important because we separate ourselves from our competitors by offering higher-end vehicles for no extra cost whatsoever. We knew we wanted a high spec petrol-electric hybrid – and there‘s nobody better in the market for that.

“We have larger corporate and Government-funded customers who are committed to reducing their carbon footprint, and ask us to supply the greenest vehicles we have. Historically we used really low-CO2 diesels to fulfil that requirement. “We’re really excited to be able to go back to those customers and say that we now have super low emission cars that we can supply.”

For the many drivers, particularly of Autohorn’s longer-term rental cars, who are exposed to company-car tax, the Auris’s benefit-in-kind rating of only 10 per cent another boon. Autohorn recycles its vehicles every six months or 12,000 miles, but “while the cars are with us we need them generating revenue rather than in a garage, so reliability is another important factor,” says Neil. “We also want to be playing our own part in reducing emissions,” he adds. “The 60 vehicles we’ve bought represent thousands of tonnes of CO2 reduced.”

The Auris hatchbacks were bought from Vantage Toyota York, while the Aygos are being obtained through Pentagon Toyota.

“We chose the Aygo because it’s a funky, inexpensive-to-run city car,” says Neil O’Connor. “We felt it would be a really attractive, fuel-efficient proposition for our longer-term rental customers. The specification level is very high, and the cars represent great value for money.” The 1.0 VVT-i petrol hatchbacks return 61.4mpg on the combined circuit, with CO2 emissions of 105g/km.


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Autohorn Fleet Services Goes Hybrid With Toyota


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