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Toyota People: Dame Laura Kenny and her Yaris Cross

Britain’s most successful female athlete, Dame Laura Kenny, recently exchanged her Hilux pick-up for a new Yaris Cross. Given that our new hybrid electric SUV was developed under the theme Always on the Move, we could immediately see why the Team Toyota GB athlete felt it was the ideal choice for her super-active lifestyle. But…

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Britain’s most successful female athlete, Dame Laura Kenny, recently exchanged her Hilux pick-up for a new Yaris Cross. Given that our new hybrid electric SUV was developed under the theme Always on the Move, we could immediately see why the Team Toyota GB athlete felt it was the ideal choice for her super-active lifestyle. But we also wanted to hear from Laura herself about how the nippy new Yaris Cross is already fitting into her busy day-to-day life as an Olympian, wife and mother. This is what she had to say…

Toyota People: Dame Laura Kenny

What attracted you to the Yaris Cross?

Laura: “We were keen to switch to a hybrid. The journeys we do are often quite short – going over to the velodrome and back, or taking our son Albie to school – so we were keen to have a car that is more environmentally friendly. My husband Jason and I are bike riders, so why wouldn’t we want that? And the car is big enough so that when we don’t have Albie or the dogs with us, my bike can actually fit in the back with only the front wheel taken off. It’s just a really convenient size.”

What are your first impressions of the car?

Laura: “I really like the car! It gets good mpg figures, and it feels a lot more electric than I thought it was going to. It’s really zippy away from traffic lights and roundabouts… it reacts really well. It’s also good because we live on a country road and it’s not massive, so I never feel squeezed off the road, yet it’s big enough for our family and to carry bits and bobs for Albie. So my first impressions are very good, I’m really enjoying it.”

What does your family think of it?

Laura: “I actually share the car with my mum and dad, and they absolutely love it. For us, it’s about saving the planet. The trip between my parent’s house and our house is about 20 minutes, so a hybrid vehicle that doesn’t drink large amounts of petrol is really important. My parents have a little dog, and my mum loves all the mod cons, like the heated seats – the car has everything.”

Have you made any longer trips in the car yet?

Laura: “The longest journey we’ve made so far is to Derby and back, so about an hour and a half, and the Yaris Cross is a really comfortable, nice place to be. It’s brilliant that you can connect your phone to Apple CarPlay, and then you’ve got the maps on there as well, which is just so convenient, and your messages just pop up. Ultimately, I just like having a car that’s comfortable – it’s got cruise control, it’s got everything I could want.”

What are some other key features that you’ve enjoyed using?

Laura: “The different driving modes are great features, and it’s so easy to switch between whichever one you need. Living in the country, you never know what conditions you’re going to come across if the weather’s been bad, so it’s a real confidence boost to know you can get in the car and adjust to whatever’s in front of you on the day. We haven’t encountered snow yet, but I know that setting is there for when I will inevitably need it. The reversing camera for parking is also a very helpful feature, especially on the school run because the parking is so tight.”

How are you getting on with the MyToyota app?

Laura: “Having the car’s range on the app is so good because you can just look at your phone and know how the car’s doing and plan ahead. I also think the Find My Car feature is amazing, and including the Service and Maintenance function on the app makes it so useful. There’s no more faffing about with pieces of paper and losing notes of when your last service was – it’s all just there on your phone.”

Finally, how did you and Jason feel about receiving your damehood and knighthood on the same day?

Laura: “We were really honoured to receive the news. It’s such a nice feeling to be recognised for all the hard work that you’ve put in over so many years, because once you go to one Olympics you’re expected to go to another, and it’s just not that easy. And especially for me this time around: not only did I have Albie and had to come back from that, I then had to come back from a broken arm and a broken shoulder. So it was the nicest way to cap off what had been a really hard year.”

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Dame Laura Kenny. We wish you many happy miles in the car and on the bike!

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

SDGs Initiatives https://global.toyota/en/sustainability/sdgs/

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Orchard business blossoms with Hilux help

It’s late Sunday afternoon on one of the warmest spring days of the year. The ground looks dry and is already beginning to crack. Songbirds and bees compete for attention as the low sun gently warms thousands of blossoming apple trees on a south-facing hillside in the heart of Kent.But with unseasonably low temperatures in…

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It’s late Sunday afternoon on one of the warmest spring days of the year. The ground looks dry and is already beginning to crack. Songbirds and bees compete for attention as the low sun gently warms thousands of blossoming apple trees on a south-facing hillside in the heart of Kent.

But with unseasonably low temperatures in the overnight weather forecast, the race is on to protect a 75-acre orchard from frost damage. One way to do this is to make sure the grass between each row of trees is kept short. This helps to increase airflow and reduces the chance of cold air settling. 

Claire Seymour, 43, gently edges her Toyota Hilux between a row of trees at Tubslake Farm, near Hawkhurst in Kent. Her pick-up’s white paintwork and red signwriting match the flowering pink and white Braeburn apple blossom. Her husband, Steve Bowles, also 43, then sets about unloading a large green Fendt 209V tractor from an enormous six-wheeled flat-bed trailer behind the Toyota. He starts up the brand new tractor and then begins to set up and test the Fisher variable-width mower before handing it over to its new owner for an evening of urgent grass cutting.

Claire is managing director of NP Seymour Ltd, an engineering and agricultural machinery dealer set up by her family in 1974. Based in nearby Cranbrook, the company supplies and makes equipment for orchards, vineyards and fruit growers across the UK. 

“We’ve had other pick-ups in the past but I was impressed with the comfort of the Hilux. We bought it from Beadles Toyota, Medway, in the spring of 2019.

“It’s the Invincible model and is fitted with off-road tyres and a Truckman top on the back. We use it all the time for customer deliveries all over the UK, visiting growers and going to shows. The 3.5-tonne towing capacity is really important to us as lots of our kit is very heavy,” explained Claire.

Surrounded by apple blossom, NP Seymour’s Toyota Hilux delivers a tractor to an orchard at Tubslake Farm, Hawkhurst, Kent.

“We’ve been really busy since we’ve owned it. Covid didn’t really slow us down at all. We just had a few difficulties with staff numbers. But the demand for our machinery hasn’t stopped.

“The Hilux has already done 50,000 miles, and absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it. We’ll definitely buy another Toyota when it’s time to replace this one,” she said, just before hurrying off, leaving the orchard in a cloud of dust to go and enjoy the rest of her Sunday evening with Steve.

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

Published

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

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