Go-anywhere capability in a commercial vehicle that feels like a car – that’s the appeal of the Toyota Hilux 4×4 to service engineers working for leading IT and telecoms services provider Emerson Network Power. The company, based in Marlow, Bucks, is a UK subsidiary of the US multinational Emerson and specialises in power and climate-control systems for data network and telecoms installations, employs 160 staff and runs a fleet of around 100 cars and light commercial vehicles.
“We previously had to hire in 4x4s to enable our sales-support staff to access certain off-road installations, but they know they can reach the most inaccessible locations in the Hiluxes,” says Emerson Network Power’s Procurement Manager Jody Waugh. “The vehicles also give the drivers high levels of control and safety, and the ability to transport all the equipment they require easily. “We use structured-choice lists for our vehicles rather than having a free-for-all, and are aiming to get away from having a multitude of little panel vans on the road.”
The new arrivals on the fleet are Toyota Hilux 2.5 D-4D diesel 4×4 Double Cabs. Their HL3 specification includes such refinements for drivers as air-conditioning, a four-speaker MP3 DVD audio system, power windows and 15in alloy wheels. The vehicles are fitted with hardtops and Autosafe strongboxes for carrying laptops and other expensive items. Toyota Hilux Double Cabs can not only carry five people in comfort but offer a maximum payload of 1085kg and a 1.58cu m load space.
“The first six vehicles arrived at the start of September and they’re proving very popular,” said Mr Waugh. “Our engineers like the fact that they’re driving a commercial that’s fit for purpose but which doesn’t feel like a commercial – so they don’t feel they’re being cheated by the taxman!
“They have to carry high volumes of heavy tools and equipment in the back – so having a guaranteed 1 tonne payload is a big advantage.”
Emerson Network Power already had a Toyota presence on its fleet, in the shape of Avensis D-4D diesel estates used by some engineers, and Avensis saloons and hatchbacks for sales staff and senior management, so the reliability of the brand had been demonstrated.
Obtained on contract hire through TCH Leasing, the Toyota Hiluxes will each be expected to cover some 90,000 miles over a three-year period. Though many of Emerson Network Power’s corporate clients are in London and the South-east, where go-anywhere capability may not be an issue, its home-based engineers cover the entire UK. “With a further four Hiluxes delivered in 2006, and five more to be ordered for early 2007, while this isn’t a fixed choice we do expect to see a large percentage of our engineers using these vehicles,” said Jody Waugh.