Whenever a humanitarian crisis makes it to the news and the United Nations responds, you’re sure to see one thing on screen: a white Toyota. Be it a Land Cruiser, a Hilux, or even a Corolla, it’s likely to have come from one dealer located in Gibraltar.
Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings is the dealer that receives white Toyotas from Japan and modifies them to serve in some of the harshest conditions on earth. The company is Toyota’s officially appointed seller of 4×4 vehicles and spare parts for humanitarian agencies.
Established in 1996, it claims to have supplied more than 80,000 vehicles to over 100 countries worldwide. It holds a stock of more than 2,000 general specification vehicles in both left and right-hand-drive. According to Top Gear, it modifies 650 vehicles per month for use by the U.N. and other non-governmental agencies.
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Those modifications include simple things to make the vehicles more capable, like all-terrain tires, spare wheels, jerry can holsters, winches, and bull bars. But there are more thorough modifications that can be done, too.
Among the vehicles that leave the workshop, there are ambulances, emergency transport vehicles, and other human-focused vehicles. There are also, however, vehicles that are intended for conservation purposes built there that can be painted a more camouflaged green to sneak up on and stop poachers, for instance.
As to why so many 70 series Land Cruisers pass through the workshop, it’s because they’re such simple machines. Whereas comfort is of utmost importance to usual customers, reliability and repairability are important for the kinds of missions that these vehicles are going on.
A quick look through the Toyota Gibraltar model lineup shows that, in addition to the hardcore off-roaders, there are also newer vehicles like the Toyota Hilux and the Prado (sold as the Lexus GX in North America) for missions that require as much on-road as off-road driving. And for those U.N. missions that take place mainly in urban areas, the shop will even sell modified versions of the RAV4, the Hiace Commuter Bus, and the Corolla sedan.