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Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. - Car Talk - Nairaland

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Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 2:43pm On May 13, 2009
Hi NLders. I want to "go into" the commercial inter state transport biz and I am wondering which of the more common minibuses to use.

I have examined the the Toyota hiace "hummer bus" (which is the most common in use today in on the Lagos route, and most "in vogue"wink, and have also examined the Chevrolet express 3500 (2002) model and the Ford transit range.

In terms of passenger comfort I like the American minibuses: both have greater leg room and I think their ac is better at the back.

My headache is the economic part. Which is is more economical in terms of fuel consumption, durability and maintenance.

Please I need advice. Should I go for the Toyota or for the Chevy or Ford?

1 Like

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by promise72(m): 3:33pm On May 13, 2009
buy the hiace cos its common in nigeria.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by oranges(m): 3:51pm On May 13, 2009
in Nigeria today, the TOYOTA HIACE is more economical to run ie fuel wise, maintainace (availability and cost of spare parts) etc. So go for the TOYOTA HIACE

3 Likes

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 5:50pm On May 13, 2009
It depends.

The Toyota is very popular and durable and has proven itself a million times over. There is an abundance of parts, good technical understanding with regards to mechanics and good gas economy especially in-town. It is reliable and extremely durable. Unfortunately, the popularity of this brand makes it pricey.

If you do decide to go for the Chevrolet/Ford Vans, I will advise you to know why you may or may not go for the 3500 series. The 3500 series have heavy duty components which include engine, suspension, transmission, hub axle and chassis because they are design to handle heavy loads (up to 3.5tons) and 12000Ibs tow capacity - You need no where near that when handling passengers! The downside of the 3500 series is heavy fuel consumption! Chevy/Ford passenger Vans are also manufactured as standard 1500 series which can handle 1.5ton and has the same body and dimensions as the 3500 series. The 1500 series vans are more common, more economical to run and will give you a faster return for your money.

Chevy/Ford vans are much more powerful (performance wise), but on the other hand they are less economical in terms of gas consumption in-town. If your business model is going to involve mostly long distance travel then this vans are ideal cos a fully loaded Chevy Express 1500 traveling the highways will cost you less to run than an equivalently loaded Toyota Hiace will. I will expound on the reasons for this:

1) Chevy/Ford 1500 has a standard V8 engine that allows it to hum happily at highway speeds even when loaded with 18 passengers and their belongings.
2) Chevy/Ford Vans are equipped with automatic transmission that is much more efficient at highway speeds than in-town
3) Chevy/Ford Vans are built to handle the loads imposed by 18 Pax & luggage and the engine doesn't get overtaxed or over burdened
4) Toyota Hiace is really built to handle 1 ton and the engine gets overtaxed with 18 Pax & luggage resulting in increased fuel consumption
5) Toyota Hiace's suspension takes a pounding and starts falling apart because of the load stress.
6) Toyota Hiace's engine is 4 cylinder and the torque delivered is inadequate to handle the load thus leading to poor consumption and wear
7) Transmisson and drivetrain components on the Hiace are stressed and because of exessive load
8.) The extra power of the Chevy/Ford vans allows it to be operated with A/C without struggling to deliver the power demanded on the highway
9) The extra 4 cylinders in the Chevy/Ford ensure the longevity of the engine. American V8's are reputed to go 350,000 miles without rebuild or rebore!
10) The Chevy/Ford vans have more interior space for passenger comfort.
11) Initial cost of purchasing a used Toyota Hiace could be up to N400,000.00 more than a used Chevy Express van.
12) Spreading the cost difference over a period of 36 months means the Toyota costs an extra N11,000.00 per month!

CONCLUSION:
Inspite of the advantages of the Chevy/Ford vans in the areas of engine power and loading capacity, I will have to nominate the Hiace Bus. The Hiace Bus has a looooooooong history in Nigeria and is well known and understood by local mechanics. To operate the Chevy/Ford vans, you will need to have access to knowledgeable mechanics coupled with the fact that the parts are not so abundant (perhaps even rare). The Toyota Hiace bus is extremely durable and reliable despite the fact that it is consistently over-worked and pushed beyond its design limits! When the toyota breaks down in remote locations, parts are easy to come by and the cost of the parts won't break the bank becos of abundance. From a business and operational logistics perspective, the Toyota wins hands down!

MY PICK:
I will pick the Chevy Express. Why??  I am known to be stubborn and I always like to do things differently from the popular norm. I am knowledgeable enough about the vehicles to be able to operate it without getting into trouble. If I operated a Chevy Express, both on the short run and on the long run, I believe I will come out with better and sounder economic gains. But that is just me and I do not advise any other person to do the same.

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Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 6:13pm On May 13, 2009
Midas02,
Thanks for the info. I however have this issue with mechanic/technician requirements.
Though the hiace has been around in Nigeria a while, but the model now in use require much more than the typically available technicians to handle: These are the 2005 to date verson. They are called hummer bus here. They require some level of hightech attention for repairs if you want the best.

Also, I am going to be running the vehicles on the Lagos-Abuja and Lagos-Eastern routes. And the one thing that seem to be obtained with the hummer (even the LWB version) is that over the distance the ACs' are switched off so that the passengers now believe that the A/Cd adverts is just a haox.

Besides, is there no way I can get auto professionals that can handle the American buses. I really am not afraid to patronize competent hands, I am a professional too.

I still long for more advice/info please!
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 7:16pm On May 13, 2009
I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I'll like to know how much a 1500 series chevy go for?
I was thinking of buying a van and I'm torn between a voyager and the express 1500/E350 vans.
I am now really leaning to the 1500/E350 option.

How common is the 1500/E350 van in Najia?

1 Like

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 3:36pm On May 14, 2009
@Mowire
I have given your matter a great deal of thought and have had to verify and research some of my own facts and assumptions too.

For me to be able to give you a candid and more accurate assessment, you will have to get me the following information:

1) What Year and Pax capacity is the Toyota Hiace you are considering - There is the 3 Rows (12)Seater  and the 4 Rows (15)Seater models??
2) How much would such a Toyota Hiace cost in Lagos?
3) How much would the Chevy Express 3500/Ford E-350 cost you in Lagos?
4) Can you ascertain whether the GM/Ford dealership in Lagos has a solid technical and repair facility?
5) Your model routes are Lagos - Abuja AND Lagos - Eastern routes. No local routes,,  Correct??
6) Is your business going to offer regular mainstream services or Executive services?? *

*The reason for the last question is to know if you are going to be seating passengers at 4 abreast as is done in Nigeria or are you going to stick to the design limit of 3 abreast in HIACE (executive in naija)

If I can get this info, I can give you a more comprehensive Cost/Benefit ratio assessment and perhaps throw in a Business cash flow model  based on the mechanical, design and technical limitations and differences of the two vehicle types.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 6:48pm On May 14, 2009
Thanks midas02,
Answers are:

1) 2005/2006 model, 15 pax
2) 3.3m as at last check (tokunbo), 2.4/2.6m (off lease Nigerian used)
3) Chevy 3500 costs 2.2/2.5m (2002 model)
4) Non
5) Correct.
6) Executive (4 seater on last seat for the chevy/ford)

I'm looking forward to your assessment.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 8:11pm On May 14, 2009
Mowire thanks for the info, I hope to go get one tuesday but it should be a 1500, or 2500 van.
But I have to get my act together. Any Idea what the duty is on this type of van?
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 5:07am On May 15, 2009
2005/2006 Toyota Hiace SLWB 15 Pax Specs:

Engine: 2.7L 4Cylinder EFI VVTi delivering 151Bhp @ 4800rpm and 178Ib ft @ 3800rpm
Transmission: 5 speed manual
Actual Passengers: 15 Pax
Max Payload: 1085kg
Avg. Fuel Economy: 19.5 mpg (miles per gallon)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons
Price: N3,300,000.00


2002/2003 Ford E-350 Super Duty ExT Specs:

Engine: 5.4L V8 Triton EFI delivering 244Bhp @ 4500rpm and 350Ib ft @ 2500rpm
Transmission: 4 speed Automatic
Actual Passengers: 15 Pax
Max Payload: 1840kg
Hwy. Fuel Economy: 17 mpg (miles per gallon)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 30 gallons
Price: N2,200,000.00


2002/2003 Chevy Express 3500 Ext Specs:

Engine: 5.7L V8 Vortec EFI delivering 255Bhp @ 4600rpm and 330Ib ft @ 2800rpm
Transmission: 4 speed Automatic
Actual Passengers: 15 Pax
Max Payload: 1790kg
Hwy. Fuel Economy: 15 mpg (miles per gallon)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 30 gallons
Price: N2,500,000.00


On paper, the Toyota is easily the most economical on fuel. However, in real life practice each one of these vans will be loaded with 15-16 people with their luggages, A/C will be blasting and many hilly terrains will be encountered - this is when and where the American Vans will come into their element! I am unable to verify the claims of Toyota with regards to the Fuel mileage. I do believe that the Hiace will be able to do the claimed 19.5mpg however, I am skeptical of the conditions under which the mileage is achieved. Most average fuel economy numbers given by manufacturers are performed under ideal circumstances and does not take several real life circumstances into consideration. The fuel mileage figures quoted for the American vans are NOT factory claims, but rather figures submitted by users who review and use the vehicles under real world circumstances. It is quite possible that the Toyota will surprise us in it's consistency however, the only way to verify and ascertain that is to put one on the road from Lagos to Benin with a full load!

For now I will stick to what I can verify. The fuel mileage given for the American Vans is what you will get under the circumstances stated above and with the kind of purpose you have in mind. The V8's produce enough power that the burden of 16 passengers, luggages and A/C will not really make much of a difference in its fuel consumption. The downside of this characteristic is that when they are in-town and running around with only one or two passengers, the fuel mileage will only improve marginally whereas in the Hiace you will see a big difference - The Hiace comes alive in an in-town or city situation. The Toyota Hiace was really designed for city and urban transportation and not for long hauls. This is why it is called a Hiace Commuter and the japanese only use it as such! In Japan, inter-city road travel is done by motor-coaches. In contrast, the American lifestyle dictates a lot of highway commute and often times appreciable distances are lapped up all in the course of a days work. Infact, it is not unusual for a Ford E-350 van to be moving a crew of 6, their construction equipments and a 2500Ibs industrial Compressor trailer towed behind, while still cruising at 80MPH on the highway!

ENGINE PERFORMANCE:
The American vans win hands down! The engine size of the Ford is precisely twice that of the Toyota (2.7L 4Cyl Vs 5.4L V8). The American Vans produce 100HP more than the Toyota and the torque output difference is simply mind boggling (double!) - this is what is called oomph!(the gut wrenching power needed to handle load!)

LOADING CAPACITY & SPACE:
All the vans are about equally fitted for 15Pax. The Americans may be slightly bigger in dimension however, I believe the Toyota is more efficiently and neatly packaged. The American Vans have a huge advantage in Maximum payload. The Ford's Chassis and suspension can handle about 800kg more than the Hiace (this is nearly a ton!) - the consequence of this is that over time the American Van's will hold up better with regards to suspension, chassis, shock absorber and even brakes! The difference is too large to ignore, I will have to give this to the American vans.

FUEL EFFICIENCY:
Inspite of the doubts expressed earlier, the Toyota will probably win this category hands down. The reality is that Naija roads are not great and a great deal of distances are often covered under circumstance reminiscent of urban driving where you have a lot of slowing down, stop and go traffic because of bad roads and crazy craters on the road. This stop and go road conditions and the consequently slower average cruising speed will augur well for the Hiace. The Hiace has a range of about 360miles (580km) on one full tank while the Chevy Express 3500 will do 450miles (724km) on a full tank and the Ford E-350 Ext will lap 510miles (820km) between tank fulls. It is worthy of note that the American vans have much larger fuel capacity.

MAINTENANCE COST:
This category easily goes to the Toyota. Toyota has a well developed customer support infrastructure in place. They have several dealerships and service centers and part procurement will not be a white knuckled experience. Toyota Hiace is established, ubiquitous and well understood mechanically. The American vans are by comparison quite unknown and considered a novelty - part procurement will be tricky at the very best - all this will quickly pile up the cost of upkeep.

BUILD QUALITY & RELIABILITY:
Toyota has my vote on this one too. Coupled with the fact that maintenance is easier to perform (see above) which adds to the reliability of the vehicle, Toyota's also have excellent and superior build quality. The Hiace has proven itself the world over. Reliability is legendary inspite of wanton abuse! The Toyota Hiace is a well thought out and engineered vehicle with easy ownership and maintenance used as a parameter of design.

LONG TERM DURABILITY:
I will have to give this to the American Vans - particularly the Ford E-350 van. Toyota Hiace puts up a good fight because it is such a well built vehicle however, considering the business model and the purpose to which the buses are utilized, the Toyota will have to succumb. The 2.7L I-4 engine can simply not hold up to that kind of load and use without wearing quicker than the American V8s. Also the key components of the American Vans are more heavy duty and over time the Toyota will simply loose its finesse and capacity to handle the demands of such travel.

REVENUE INDEX:
Vans/buses in question all handle 15 passengers. The ability of all this vans to make money is the same since they all handle the same number of passengers. All in all, I believe the buses/vans are equally matched here.

COST FACTOR:
This is a no contest for the American Vans. The Toyota costs N800,000.00 more than its nearest competitor and more than a million naira more than a comparable Ford - that is something that cannot be ignored! The disparity in price makes it very hard for me to justify buying the Toyota (from a business perspective). Spreading the cost difference over a reasonable period of Return, which is 36 months, the cost of owning the Toyota over the Ford is going to be N30,500 per month! (and this does not include lost income from interest payments). Over the Chevy Express, the Toyota's cost will work out to be N22,200 per month (excluding income lost from interest payments).

RESIDUAL VALUE:
This is a category that can easily be overlooked but is very important! An investor will have to consider how much residual value he will have from the sale or retirement of the vehicles after 36 months of active service. This not only helps the business raise capital towards the purchase of the new replacement but also helps maintain a balanced sheet. In this category, the Toyota takes gold. Not only will the Toyota fetch an appreciable value in the market but it will also do so very quickly. You can count on the rapid sale of a used Toyota Hiace. The American Vans on the other hand, may languish for a long time and still not fetch an appreciable value in the market (although they will probably stay active longer than the Hiace, perhaps 48 months!)

CONCLUSION:
I have tried to highlight and breakdown the relevant information in the preceeding 9 categories. Each vehicle gets 5 points for every category won and no point for every category lost. Where there is a tie, they both get 5 points. The final breakdown shows the following:

TOYOTA HIACE SUPER LWB:       25 POINTS

CHEVY EXPRESS/FORD E-350:     25 POINTS

I am honestly surprised cos I did not collate the results while writing and only now am I just seeing the final count/verdict myself.

I will be candid with you and tell you to go for the Toyota cos there are just some things that cannot be shown with numbers alone! If you do not have a solid mechanic who has a decent knowledge of the American vans and if you do not have a reliable and constant access to the USA for parts procurement, I will advise you NOT to mess with the American vans. In transportation business, good equipment knowledge and preventive maintenance are the key to success! You cannot afford to have an equipment (vehicle) out of commission, laying redundant and waiting for parts!

For the all important and singular reason of Maintenance, I will have to tell you unequivocally, GO FOR THE TOYOTA!!!

PS: I did not need to do a financial cashflow business model cos I later realized that all the vehicles had a similar capacity of passengers.

I hope this was a little helpful and I wish you the very best in your business endeavour! wink
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by promise72(m): 6:55am On May 15, 2009
stop the madness. Think Global Act local. Use what everyone else is using. Hiace. If its not good for 15pax, they wouldn't make it so. Too much analysis! undecided

1 Like

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by tkb417(m): 7:38am On May 15, 2009
@Mowire

Hey bro. Can we talk pls. Need to ask you some questions if you dont mind.

Ill try to get my email acros to you
cheers

@Midas
Nice analysis
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 9:31am On May 15, 2009
@Promise72

The difference between good business decisions and poor judgement lies in one's willingness and ability to analyze and sometimes even question the norm!
I am always questioning conventional wisdom and always seeking alternative solutions to the norm. Imagine if Dr Rudolph Diesel had never questioned the ubiquitous use of gasoline/petrol for internal combustion engines? We will have no diesel technology today!
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by tkb417(m): 12:59pm On May 15, 2009
@Mowire
Pls check my email on your NL profile.
A mail from the NL ADMIN has my email.

You can add me on your Yahoo or send me an email pls.
I would have sent the email if i had yours.

Cheers
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 1:46pm On May 15, 2009
I think the American vans are capable of carying more passengers; I mean if the seat are made for 4 passengers per row, they are capable of carrying 5(wider).

They have more cargo/leg room.

They have timming chains instead of belt(no surprise of breakage)
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 2:36pm On May 15, 2009
Again midas02, you've done well on this. Thank you very much.
Next task is to determine the availability of American van parts and good mechanic in Lagos. I think I will be at Ladipo for that.

@sultaan,
I think putting even 4 passengers on the seats will bad enough business idea in today's long distance transport biz in Nigeria. 5 sitting is not worth thinking about, except you're running intra city.

@tkb417, I will check out your e-mail shortly.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 2:42pm On May 18, 2009
@Mowire
Let me know what you discover. Should be interesting.

@Sultaan
I concur with Mowire on that one. It is best to use Vans as designed, besides Naijas now demand and deserve comfort when traveling.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 6:33pm On May 19, 2009
Well I was going to get a 3500 series, but it was too expensive for my budget, the 2500 was mildly, expensive, so I got a 1500 for half the price o a 3500

@Mowirw
What do you think its worth?

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 6:36pm On May 19, 2009
More

Its a 2002 G1500 has about 64k miles

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 6:39pm On May 19, 2009
Hope duty is not too much for this

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 7:23pm On May 19, 2009
@Sultaan,

I hope that Van has a third (3rd) row of seat, if not, it will be advisable for you install it before shipping vehicle. Duty on that Van should be between N200,000.00 and N220,000.00 depending on your agent.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 6:08pm On May 20, 2009
@sultaan,
The 2002 3500 I found here in the market is going for 2.2m naira and has 15 passenger seat capacity (i.e 4 rows of seat), no room for load though.

Ordinarily any buyer wants to look at the option between that and an "equivalent" ford which is going for 1.4/1.5m naira.

My question.

How many seats do you have in this? How much do you have in mind?
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by sultaan(m): 9:14pm On May 20, 2009
2, I'm going to get a third row though.Not thinking of selling now.Have to get it to naija first.
G1500 has the smallest engine V8, 5.0 with seating for 8 and a lot of room in back enough to add 2 more rows.

I have a feeling it will be the next big thing,
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by komekn(m): 1:23pm On May 21, 2009
Midas02, you share my sentiments exactly no venture no success, innovation is at the centre of competitive advantage and therefore business success. Without doubt the chevy and Ford are far superior, durable and certainly much more comfortable and have clear operational advantage.

The issue is old wine syndrome, fear of change. Its a global world and its CIT connected to think local is too think small and be small so Promise72 we have no convergence with our views, you are simply wrong and drinking old wine and not ready like a lot our people for the new wine of success.

I have been using a Chevy Impala 2001 model when in Nigeria for in excess of 3 years not one fault so far and i use it without mercy.

There is a transport company i have noticed called Ground to air, they use a whole fleet of Chevy, Fords and Dodge 15/17 seater buses to go Lagos Accra and other destinations regular. The guy who services thier vehicles including mine has a workshop Omole phase 2 next door to Gov's Lodge his name is Wale it is not Coscharis or some big overpriced dealership, just a simple guy and his staff but they seem to know thier bizness.

Credit cards are here now, you can go online and in 72hrs you will have the parts you need by air freight in Lagos brand new authenticated and a lot cheaper than those so called cheaper Toyota parts.

grin cheesy cheesy

2 Likes

Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 3:38pm On May 21, 2009
Shekenah!!! @Mowire,, there is your solution!.
You better talk to @Komekn and locate this Wale guy. If he truly services all the vans for that company then you are set to go!.

@Komekn,
You are the bomb!!!. Impalas are well loved here too and was the standard issue car for police departments.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Mowire: 4:57pm On May 21, 2009
Thanks, again, midas02.

@komekn,
nice to have your input. In fact my interest was inspired by that company plus a closer contact with the American vans.
I will get in touch when the time comes. I even learnt that the ford parts are not really that difficult to come by.

@sultaan,
I forgot to ask you: this your baby here, is it SWB or LWB Exteded? Cos if it's SWB it may not be able to take the 4th row of seats and still leave ample leg room that is one of the advantages over the toyota hiace version we have here in Nigeria.
And on a lighter note, @sultaan, what exactly are you waiting for; are you thinking that the price is gonna start rising?
If you are going to sell that van better let's have your price or some of us are going to get it straight from the states! grin

Hi @tkb417. Can see you are online. How are you? won't be here too long now: my gen is about to exhaust the petrol in it.
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by tkb417(m): 5:05pm On May 21, 2009
Hi @tkb417. Can see you are online. How are you? won't be here too long now: my gen is about to exhaust the petrol in it.

Hello Sir
my lappy was on but i wasnt at my desk.
Are you still on ? lemme check the Instant Messenger
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by mundele: 7:31pm On Jul 16, 2009
Thank you and specially Midas02 for your approach to this problem.
Firstly, we need to question all decisions we take or all business culture we have if they do fit the location and the time.
Further, we need to try to improve every day to beat the competition or lead the market in creativity.
Not because Toyota is well known that each transport business modell muss involve Toyota Hiace.
The acquisition cost and the return on the investment are very critical aspect of any business model

I came across your discussion forum be cause I bought a Chevy 3500 , 15 pass van and would want to start a transport business in Congo (RDC). I am living in Canada and here in Canada and USA there are no HIACE Bus. We have only the the Ford Econoline and the Chevy.
Since there are no Hiace, this is an opportunity to start some thing new with Chevy and Ford.
My contact in Congo first discouraged me about buying Chevy because they are not known in Congo.
As you said Midas02, these American van are built on truck frames and tested on severe duty cycle.
Technically, I am wondering beside the fuel economy, how a Hiace with a 2.7l engine can handle for 3-5 years the duty cycle  of long distance transport.

For my  business model, I am going with a mixed fleet of Chevy and Ford.  Here in USA and canCanadahere are conflicting customer satsatisfactionport on Ford versus Chevy. which one is better.

Since I am living in Canada, after the shishipment the first van, i will start building stock of spare part ( Powertrain, brake pad and shoes, shocks, ) so that I can shishipem to conCongof  the business makes progress, I will build a small service shop for the maintenance of the vans.
With incentive, there is a possibility to train non Chevy/Ford Mechanics to become one.
One I have a trained experienced mechanics and myself provide for spare parts, I do not see why Toyota Hiace muss be better.
Starting new idea, we make our self less dependant and may also driving business based decision.

I think for transport business, fleet service is very important as well as the van operator.

Please, give more idea how I can make this business a success in helping people.
AddiAdd ifiss any consconsiderationmy business model.The Van will operate for intercity transit on good road roughly 800 Km both way.
Operation Monday to Friday
I am planning for monthly service check
Thanks for the opportunity and for your input.

Mundele
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Midas02(m): 2:37am On Jul 17, 2009
@Mundele,

Which Congo are you talking about?? Is it Congo-Kinshasha OR Congo-Brazzaville??

You will do well to look for a Mechanic who is familiar with American vans in your intended area of operation. There is nothing that can ruin a transportation venture faster than poor equipment knowledge and maintenance. If you find one mechanic that is capable or competent with these vehicles then it makes your life a lot less miserable (believe me, you will have a lot of other headaches to deal with in Africa!). Once you find a capable mechanic, it will be easy to sponsor one or two apprentice/mechanics to learn the peculiarities of the vehicles from him. Never underestimate the problems that poor local knowledge or maintenance can give you!

Your idea of stockpiling spare parts is a brilliant one. Essential and routine maintenance parts, though often inexpensive, can be very critical to the seemless operation of your business. You should be stocked with parts such as :

Brake Pads/Shoes
Radiator Hoses
Oil Filters/Air Filter/Fuel Filter
Spark Plugs & Wires
Ignition Coil Pack
Spark Plugs (perhaps?)
Light Bulbs
Wiper Blades

With good routine maintenance, most other parts and components usually give you some form of warning and adequate time for planning, budgeting and procurement before eventual failure!. For parts like Shock absorbers, Alternators, Starter motors , etc - most of them can be temporarily mended (in Africa) while you make quick arrangements to have the parts shipped to you.

I cannot say I am familiar with the business environment in your intended location however the challenges faced by transportation operators (especially in Africa) are similar and universal in nature. You may have to invest a lot of time thinking about your management strategy - how to adequately control and reduce the negative impact that the 'Human factor' (, knowing Africans!) can play in diminishing your business returns!

I wish you the best!
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by mundele: 11:21pm On Jul 29, 2009
Thanks for your advice.
I was referring to congo - Kinshasa.

Again thanks,

Mundele
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by dosbyhm: 12:52am On Aug 23, 2009
i just bought one of these vehicles to test the marketplace, Can anyone recommend a pack that would manage it for me and settle me each month without problems?
Re: Toyota Hiace ("hummer Bus") Or Ford/chevrolet Buses: Which Is Better. by Emperoh(m): 11:55pm On Aug 23, 2009
What an intelligent discuss and analysis. . .i am chuffed to bits. .

Midas, Promise, you guys are all invaluable friendship assets!!

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