Toyota South Africa has announced an addition to its popular Quantum range together with a number of cosmetic changes to freshen the appearance of the vehicle.
The addition of the latest variant, a 10 Seater people carrier, brings the number of distinct models in the Quantum range to four. Each of these is offered with a choice of either a 2.7 litre petrol VVT-i or 2.5 litre D-4D direct injection diesel engine.
The extension of the range comes in response to strong customer demand for an efficient commuter bus type vehicle that does not require the driver to have a Professional Driving Permit (PDP) to operate it. In South Africa a PDP is required for any vehicle designed to carry more than 12 people at a time.
"The response to the Quantum 14 Seater Mini Bus by fleet and tourism operators has been very positive and translated into sales way in excess of initial forecasts," says Andrew Kirby, Toyota SA's Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "This vehicle filled a distinct niche in the market by offering high levels of comfort and operating efficiency in an off-the-shelf package within the Toyota stable.
"Our initial forecasts for the Quantum when it was introduced to South Africa as an all new range in 2005 was that we would achieve sales in the order of 180 to 200 units in total per month. That forecast has been exceeded from day one putting pressure on stock levels for some months after the introduction.
"In December 2006 the Quantum made the top ten list for light commercial sales with just under 500 units for the month. That took average monthly sales to just over 400 units in 2006, driven largely by the popularity of the 14 Seater version.
"Exposure to the Quantum 14 Seater Mini Bus has led to a large number of customers expressing the need for a similar vehicle that is slightly smaller and easier to handle and does not require the driver to hold a PDP. The 10 Seater Mini Bus already existed in the Quantum range but was not initially available to this market. That vehicle is now included in the Quantum range and is virtually tailor made for the need expressed by our customers. This latest model will have wide ranging appeal. It is ideal as a staff transporter, for school transport and for smaller tourist groups amongst many other applications."
This new model fits below the proven 14 Seater with a shorter and lower body. Seating comfort is indistinguishable from that of the 14 Seater. This smaller mini bus does not have the very high roof of the 14 Seater however and that improves access to parking areas.
Safety and features
Obviously in a vehicle of this type safety is a prime consideration. For the Quantum Toyota engineers developed a class leading safety package. Like the larger 14 Seater model, the new Quantum 10 Seater Mini Bus is fitted with ABS brakes with Brake Assist, airbags for driver and front passenger, and three point seat belts for all seats.
Remote central locking linked to an alarm system together with a transponder key immobiliser provide anti-theft protection. Vehicle security is enhanced by the ToyotaCare Microdot System that is standard on all Quantums.
Virtually impossible to see with the naked eye, these microdots are impossible to remove completely and provide an effective means of identifying a vehicle and its parts when viewed through a special device. This system, first introduced on the Quantum is acknowledged by the police and insurance companies as a significant theft deterrent.
Along with the announcement of this new model in the Quantum range comes a number of cosmetic changes made to existing 14-Seater Bus. These changes raise the specification to Toyota's GL level.
The front passenger seat now features a slide adjustment while all seats feature a new colour for the upholstery. Cup holders are added for all passengers and magazine nets are provided on the backs of seats in the first three rows of seats in the main seating area.
The styling package includes colour coded bumpers and a two tone, gold metallic striping package for the lower body sides.
Both the standard and long wheelbase panel vans are now fitted with PVC load mats. On both of these models a load partition is available as a dealer option. ABS and a driver side airbag are fitted to both the SWB and LWB panel vans.