IN the days when Spain had closed the border with Gibraltar and before the impact of the tourist boom on the Costa del Sol, it is understood that at one time, Gibraltarian based wholesale companies were purchasing more champagne from France than the whole of Spain did.
With a thriving port welcoming a large number of naval vessels from Europe and the rest of the world, there was a steady market and much was also sold to the rich and famous in Morocco.
Things change and this is no longer the case but one Gibraltar based company is doing a huge export trade thanks to its contract with Toyota and deals with the United Nations and other international charitable organisations.
There are always huge numbers of white Toyota vehicles arriving in Gibraltar ready to be adapted as emergency vehicles and ambulances by Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (which has a branch in the USA) a subsidiary of family owned business Bassadone Automotive Group.
The company has just struck a £20 million deal with the Gibraltar Government to increase the amount of parking and workshop space that it has in order to keep up with demand.
This is not a tiny business and it is able to adapt a whole range of Toyota vehicles for emergency use around the world to transport people, cover rough terrain and as ambulances.
They don’t sell to individuals as reinforced vehicles with bulletproof windscreens would be on any drug runners shopping list but they do supply exactly that type of specification of vehicle for use by charities and NGOs.
It is said that they have been so successful that they are in the process of signing a deal with Jeep in order to offer their vehicles as well.