Over 50 Fire Service Staff Now Uses Toyota Avensis Diesel Cars

By: Kaye Leery

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service's Fleet Manager John Millett said that more than 50 fire service staff has switched from being user-choosers to driving a range of Toyota Avensis diesel cars and the switching has been a smooth one.

Manufactured at Toyota's plant in Burnaston (Derbyshire), the Avensis 2.2-liter D-4D diesels, all equipped with top of the line , are used by fire officers as well as by senior and middle managers for operational purposes. They are being ordered in saloon, hatchback and Tourer form and in T3-x, T4, T-Spirit and T180 grades.

One Avensis is designated to be used in teaching new fire officers road craft skills when driving under blue-light conditions. Meanwhile, three Yaris 1.3-liter T3-x diesels have been assigned to the brigade's "Red Fleet" to be used on general and community liaison duties. Officers and managers also have the choice of specifying Yaris for their own use if they prefer to drive a smaller one.

Over the past year, the Toyotas have been introduced into the rush on a rolling programme. Mr. Millet said that the feedback has been very good because everyone seems very happy. He added that some comments were expected when the staff has to move from a user-chooser scheme to another, but nobody has had any complaints and most have reacted that the Avensis is a good car. Furthermore, he said that from his point of view, the cars are working out well.

The decision of the Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service to shift to a single-badged fleet was influenced by the occurring again of the problem of meeting the needs of new staff who might find their predecessor's choice of ride not suitable.

John Millet continued that they decided to have one car for all so they looked around for a 2.2-litre diesel with a good specification, one that would be large and durable enough to stand up to attending incidents, and with all the necessary safety features. They made naturally cost-effectiveness as a prime consideration in choosing.

Based at Littleover, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service gets its cars on contract hire through Lloyds TSB, Appleyards and Automotive Leasing. The Avensis cars average 15,000 miles a year and the driving-school vehicle 25,000 miles, with drivers paying a contribution for personal use. At three years, replacement cycles take place.

For more than a quarter of a century, Toyota has relied on the talents of American designers and engineers to help ensure that their vehicles meet local preferences and standards.

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