Toyota and Lexus, which combined their fleet sales operations last year, are expecting business sales this year to be driven by interest in the new 89g Auris Hybrid, production of which started yesterday in Derbyshire.
The highly fuel-efficient model, which can achieve over 74mpg, allows Toyota to get attention from user chooser company drivers wanting to cut their Benefit-in-Kind tax bills as well as onto the choice lists of fleets with stringent CO2 caps.
About 2,500 will be bought by business this year with the hybrid Auris mix likely to hit 40% next year.
“This will be our high-power diesel competitor,” says Toyota’s fleet sales manager Peter Howarth.
Also in high demand is the latest Prius with fleet demand currently outstripping supply. However, lead-in times are still manageable, with 12 weeks on the Prius and just three to four on the other fleet favourite – the Avensis.
Surprisingly, business buyers of the Hi-Lux pick-up will be waiting the longest for their vehicles – at least until November.
According to Howarth the company is on track to achieve its fleet sales target of 40,000 units this year – about 21,000 of which will go to small and medium fleets of under 50 cars.
“The RV risks and levels of support demanded by larger fleets means this is not an area we want to be in,” says Howarth. “Fleets of up to 50 cars the target for us. We have more of a retail approach to fleet sales.”