The positive experiences of another fleet have led to 20 Toyotas being ordered by a national wholesale distributor of books for its own high-mileage sales fleet. Six Corolla T3 D-4D diesels were delivered to S Webb and Son (Distributors) Ltd at the end of April, with another 10 Corollas and four Avensis T3-S diesels for its sales and operations managers due to arrive at the end of May.
A family business, S Webb started up more than 75 years ago as a newsagent in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, and now handles a wide range of books and other products, which are delivered to retail outlets nationwide by contract carriers. It also has its own children’s, adult’s and reference book brand, Island Books. The company’s sales staff are based around Britain and previously drove Peugeot 406s.
“We decided to move to Toyota on the basis of the choice of vehicle available, equipment levels, fuel economy and styling,” said S Webb’s Financial Controller Philip Jones. “Another contributory factor was the benefit in kind implications, and the fact that the Toyotas meet Euro IV emissions standards.”
Mr Jones had dealt with Toyota Fleet in his previous position with a Chester-based building products manufacturer that had switched to Toyota, and had been sufficiently impressed to recommend pursuing the same course at Webb’s. Still dealing with the same account manager, he describes as “very good” the combination of service from Toyota Fleet and its local business centre, Lindop Brothers of Queensferry.
The vehicles are supplied on contract hire by Automotive Leasing and, with the salesforce recording relatively high mileages, are on a three-year/105,000-mile replacement cycle. Mainly five-door models plus three estates, they will be pooled if necessary to even out usage.
“I know from my previous experience that what you get as part of a Toyota package tends to work – the cars don’t break down,” says Philip Jones. “Service intervals are good, and so is the backup from the centre network. Basically you’re not worrying about putting drivers into cars where you’re forever getting calls about things going wrong, and that’s welcome from a fleet-management perspective. It does what it says on the tin!”
S Webb’s drivers were involved in the decision and, given a choice between the Peugeot 307 and Corolla, chose the latter. “They were impressed with the Corolla’s looks and by the combination of power and economy of the diesel engines. Feedback so far has been very good,” says Philip Jones.