Engineers’ Thumbs Up Fires Prius Growth

6 September 2006

Positive feedback from engineers is driving the expansion of Toyota Prius hybrid cars within the fleet of one of the UK’s most respected independent fire systems companies.

Fourteen of the petrol-electric cars now form part of the 80-strong Hallmark Fire fleet. They are used by some sales staff but mainly by the engineers who service and maintain the company’s fire safety systems for customers around the UK.

The Rochester, Kent-based company was formed 11 years ago. It designs, supplies, installs and maintains a wide range of fire detection, suppression systems, sprinklers, extinguishers and other fire-related products.

Much of the engineers’ work is in and around the capital, where environmentally-conscious Inner London councils are among Hallmark Fire’s clients.

In the city the Prius scores in terms of good fuel consumption in stop-start driving conditions and, in the centre, on avoiding the congestion charge, from which the low-emission vehicle is exempt. Because Hallmark Fire operates nationally, however, the vehicles are also required to make longer runs.

“The engineers have to carry quite a lot of tools, spares and ladders with them and they find the Prius quite adequate for the purpose,” said Sean Ashton, Hallmark Fire’s Operations Director. “Also, because the vehicles are automatic, the driving experience when in slow-moving traffic in major cities is more pleasurable.

“The drivers are very pleased with the cars, and in fact it’s their positive feedback, combined with the company’s green policy, that is helping to drive the continuous growth of Prius within Hallmark Fire. We predict that they will be making up far more than 20% of the fleet in the future.”

The company used a variety of makes in the past but the operational fleet is now dual-badged, with Toyota Avensis diesel cars also in use by some project managers, engineers and sales staff.

Annual mileage for the Prius cars varies between 20,000 and 30,000, and replacement is scheduled on a three-year cycle. The vehicles are bought outright through local Toyota centre Beadles Medway of Gillingham.


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Engineers’ Thumbs Up Fires Prius Growth


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