KLM Flies High With Toyota Fleet

21 March 2001

The 50th Toyota car has been delivered to KLM UK Limited, under a solus agreement which saw the Dutch national airline subsidiary start switching its mixed fleet of 170 cars to Toyota last summer. The Avensis and Corolla models are being supplied on contract hire to the airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.

The fleet is divided equally between business needs and benefit cars, allocated according to a four-band grading structure. Business-needs staff, mainly sales representatives, drive Corolla 1.4 and Avensis 1.8 GS models. Staff under the two management specialist grades, making up another 40 per cent of personnel eligible for company cars, are switching to either Avensis 2.0 GLS or CDX models.

At top executive level a free choice is retained, “although our Chief Financial Officer opted for a Toyota Celica,” says Central Procurement Manager Jan Skeels.

Jan manages not only the fleet but also procurement of a wide range of items, including aircraft and motor fuel, crew uniforms, hotels and transport, stationery, printing, warehousing and distribution services.

“Getting the cars from one source has streamlined the whole vehicle operation and is certainly making my life easier,” she says. “The fact that the models we use are manufactured in this country has helped too – delivery times have been really quite quick.

“Toyota Fleet has been very helpful, providing fast responses when we need them – they are always at the end of the phone and always cheerful. The whole thing has really cut down the admin work involved – it seems like a win-win for staff and the fleet management side.”

The move followed a comprehensive benchmarking exercise, with cost the main criterion. Previous policy was to lease ex-demonstrators over two years from various companies, before Jan Skeels took over and switched to nearly-new cars over three years and a single leaser.

“Now we are taking on new cars over three years on full contract hire and still generating a considerable cost-saving.”

Fuel consumption and emissions were also seen as high-priority – “The Toyotas proved competitive in these areas” – while air-conditioning and storage space were important for the sales reps. “The boot had to be big enough to carry their presentation materials, which wasn’t always considered in the past. These cars are spacious.

“We also wanted a single local garage to supply as well as taking responsibility for maintenance and repairs, saving us time by collecting, servicing, valeting and delivering the vehicle back. That wouldn’t have been possible with some of the manufacturers we used for benchmarking. If we’ve had any problems we get immediate attention from our dealer, and everything runs much more smoothly.”

What finally gave Toyota the edge was the availability of satellite navigation equipment on the Avensis models and the improved specification overall, says Jan. “Staff are happy with the change – and really happy with the engine performance. Everybody has been very positive, especially with extras such as sat nav and CD players offered on the Corolla 1.4 GS model. I have had no complaints.”

Drivers are offered another extra in the form of a “drive and survive” advanced motoring course, which is proving popular.

“It’s gratifying to see our cars so readily accepted by drivers who have been accustomed to a user-chooser policy,” says Toyota Fleet Sales General Manager Jon Pollock. “Avensis and Corolla both have considerable driver appeal, yet are extremely competitive in terms of whole-life costs. We would hope to continue a mutually advantageous relationship with KLM UK.”


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KLM Flies High With Toyota Fleet


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