Ten Toyota Hiaces have joined the service fleet of air-conditioning specialist Barrier Smith Ltd, of Forest Row in East Sussex – on the recommendation of its drivers.
The vehicles are being used by engineers who install air-conditioning systems mainly around London but who also undertake projects nationwide. They average 15-20,000 miles a year.
“We wanted to create a stronger image for the company by having a fleet of matching vehicles, while at the same time no longer having to manage that fleet ourselves,” says Elisa Hayman, the company’s personnel manager, who is also responsible for its 25 cars and light commercials. “From now on, if you see a BSL van it will be a Toyota.”
The Hiace vans, 2.4 litre short-wheelbase GS models with twin rear doors, are finished in BSL’s distinctive blue, red and grey livery. The engineers are fitting racking and van vaults to the ply-lined interiors to suit their individual requirements. The vehicles were supplied on a three-year full-maintenance contract hire agreement with Toyota dealer McCarthy Maidstone.
The Hiace was chosen as BSL’s standard model on the recommendation of one of the company’s engineers. He had been impressed by the single Toyota Hiace he had been assigned in the company’s former mixed fleet, which also included Citroën Berlingos, Vauxhall Combos, Ford Transits and VW Transporters.
His colleagues agreed that the Hiace was “the best in its league”, says Elisa. “We decided that of all the vans we had had in the past, the Toyota was the superior van. We didn’t need anything quite as big as the VW Transporter, and the Hiace was compact but with good storage space.
“The engineers like it for its reliability, economy, roominess and general good driveability,” she says. “Everyone’s very impressed and happy with the vans.”
“The Toyota Hiace provides a benchmark among LCVs for all-round performance, functionality and competitive costs,” says Toyota Fleet’s General Manager Jon Pollock. “We’re very pleased that Barrier Smith Ltd has opted to base its van fleet on a vehicle which clearly is the driver’s choice.”