Positive experiences with the petrol Toyota Yaris, and possible savings under the new tax rules, have combined to persuade contract cleaning company Bowdraper Group to start switching its entire field-car fleet to Yaris.
Based at Leamington Spa, Bowdraper uses a network of area managers to co-ordinate the activities of some 1,500 cleaning staff, specialising in office and factory work for big-name companies over a broad area between North Yorkshire and the M4.
The area managers, operating from local offices or their homes, can cover 25-30,000 miles a year, depending on the nature of their territory. Much of their driving is on A-roads and around town.
The company added five 5-door Toyota Yaris 1.0-litre GS models to its fleet in 2000, as part of a move to downsize in advance of the impending emissions-based vehicle taxation rules. Its decision to go with the Yaris was based on whole life costs, specification, build quality and reliability.
"The cars have been absolutely excellent," says Bowdraper Group director Mark Jessup. "The drivers love them, we've had no mechanical breakdowns and the servicing so far has been very cheap."
The managers sometimes need to carry a lot of equipment. "That's no problem, because folding down the back seats provides a big loadspace," says Mr Jessup.
Now Bowdraper is taking delivery of an additional six Yaris GS models with the new 1.4-litre D-4D – direct injection common rail diesel – engine, with more expected to be ordered over the next 12 months.
The diesel Toyotas, which are replacing mainly Vauxhall Astra estates, are expected to provide fuel economy benefits while their low CO2 emissions will allow the company to take advantage of the new facility to claim 100% Write Down Allowance against tax, introduced in the last Budget.
Toyota dealership Nick Whale Coventry is supplying the Yaris fleet, which are all finished in silver and signwritten. The vehicles are purchased outright, and Mark Jessup cites the "very low retail price" as another reason for his decision to go with the Toyota Yaris.
"The Yaris is extremely popular with drivers, as we saw when it topped the recent J.D. Power Index of Customer Satisfaction survey outright," says Toyota Fleet's General Manager Jon Pollock. "That's a big help when it comes to a downsizing exercise for high-mileage company car drivers, as with Bowdraper Group – and the fuel economy and taxation advantages speak for themselves."
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