Mercedes-Benz eSprinters help Coventry van operators take a positive step towards a zero emissions future

Coventry Council is supporting local business owners who want to make the switch to electric vehicles, with the help of a quartet of battery-powered Mercedes-Benz eSprinters supplied by local Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

The local authority has been awarded funding from the Highways Agency to set its own fleet of electric vans and cars on the road. These are now being offered to those working in and around the city for free extended trials, allowing them to assess how effectively cleaner, ‘greener’ vehicles could fit into their businesses.

The aim is to reduce pollution and improve air quality in Coventry. Participants in the  ‘Electric Fleet First’ scheme are offered the use of a van or car for at least two months. All are fitted with telematics systems that generate reports recording usage patterns and allowing easy calculations to be made on potential reductions in running costs.

The Council also provides support and advice on integrating electric vehicles into established fleets, as well grants and assistance with the provision and installation at attractively subsidised rates of connection points from approved partner EO Charging – those taking up this offer could save up to £500 per charger.

While electric cars have already been provided to a driving school and local taxi operators, the Mercedes-Benz eSprinters are the biggest of the vans being offered through the scheme. The first proved so popular with local traders that Coventry Council has now added three more – all arrived via Midlands Truck & Van’s branch in Whitley, Coventry.

The eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It can travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge – ample for most urban delivery and ‘last mile’ applications. Recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output. 

The vehicle is based on the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) Sprinter. Its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. As a result, the eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than the rear-wheel drive equivalent.

Among those who have already trialled an eSprinter under the Electric Fleet First scheme is Coventry-based catering business The Paneer Wrap Streetfood Company, headed by local entrepreneur Dev Bhamra.

“The eSprinter is fantastic – a really impressive vehicle,” he enthused. “It certainly created a buzz among our customers. The people who buy our food are generally very aware of environmental issues and were delighted to see us using a van that produces zero exhaust emissions.

“The eSprinter has a very practical load area, with space to stand up inside, and is so easy to drive. It’s also built to a very high standard – as I knew it would be, having operated Mercedes-Benz Vito vans for several years.

“I’m now seriously considering investing in a battery-powered Mercedes-Benz. Working in Coventry, there are so many public charge points in the city that running out of power need never be a worry.

Five other English local authorities are running similar schemes with Highways Agency backing, the others being Bristol, Kent, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Coventry prides itself on being a leader in the drive towards electrification. The city already has more than 400 public recharging points and the council recently announced plans to bid for funding to add another 400, to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles by households without private driveways. Meanwhile, moves are underway to convert the city’s bus fleet to all-electric by 2025.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “This is a great scheme that’s supporting local businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles. By enabling risk-free trials, we’re showing businesses that now is the right time to make the move to electric. With the 2030 deadline for the manufacture of petrol and diesel cars fast approaching, there has never been a better time for companies to invest in this green form of transport.”

He continued: “Coventry is leading the way when it comes to transport electrification. With more charging points than anywhere outside London, not only is Coventry one of the most convenient places in the UK to own an electric vehicle, but with the establishment of the publicly-funded UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, we’ve placed our city at the heart of the green industrial revolution. I’d urge all our local businesses to take a look at this scheme to see if an electric vehicle is right for them.”

Amy Shakespeare, Coventry’s Electric Fleet First Project Leader, commented: “We aim to support local businesses who want to explore their options, by allowing them to trial an electric vehicle for an extended period in their day-to-day work, but without any need for a big financial commitment.

“The Mercedes-Benz eSprinters are the biggest vans on our electric fleet and as such they offer a practical option for operators who need lots of space to carry large cargoes. There’s been a great deal of demand for these vehicles from business operators, which is why we now run four of them.

“They’re generating a lot of interest and we hope that by becoming a talking point among local companies, and being seen out on the street, they’ll help to raise the profile of electric vehicles across the city.”

Midlands Truck & Van Sales Executive David McKay, who managed Coventry Council’s orders, added: “The Electric Fleet First scheme is a fantastic way to introduce people to the potential benefits our electric Mercedes-Benz vans can deliver, so we are delighted to support the authority’s forward-looking initiative.”

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Forward thinking: Dev Bhamra of The Paneer Wrap Streetfood
Company and Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs,
Regeneration and Climate Change


Autogreen aims high with low-roofed Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van

Most customers acquiring fully-electric Mercedes-Benz vans this year will be gaining their first experiences of the manufacturer’s zero-emissions technology – not so Travis Perkins plc.

Safety and environmental compatibility were key considerations for end-of-life vehicle collection and disposal specialist Autogreen when choosing the latest, Mercedes-Benz addition to its transporter fleet.

Driving force
Autogreen Directors Paul Hillier and his son Edward are delighted with their new Mercedes-Benz Actros

Safety and environmental compatibility were key considerations for end-of-life vehicle collection and disposal specialist Autogreen when choosing the latest, Mercedes-Benz addition to its transporter fleet.

Supplied to the Daventry-based operator by local Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, the 26-tonne Actros merits an impressive four stars from Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard scheme.


The truck has a low-roofed CompactSpace L-cab with the 320mm engine tunnel that gives it a relatively low floor height, and a 9.0-tonne front axle, uprated from the standard, 8.0-tonne item. As a 2540L model, it is powered by a 10.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engine producing 290 kW (394 hp).

Standard features include MirrorCam, Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ acclaimed replacement for conventional mirrors, while the vehicle’s comprehensive specification includes a host of extra technical equipment, and comfort and style enhancements bundled within the Actros Safety, Sight, Extra Line and Style Line packages.

The truck’s eight-car transporter body was designed and built in Great Dunmow, Essex, by Belle Car Transporters & Specialised Trailers, while its eye-catching livery is the work of Wrap Cube, of Surbiton, Surrey.


Established in 2004 by a group of industry specialists, Autogreen serves automotive manufacturers – Mercedes-Benz is a highly valued client – as well as dealerships, vehicle import centres and members of the public. It manages the entire process, from nationwide collections and transportations of cars, vans and trucks, through to their compliant disposal in line with the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive.

Autogreen and its logistics partners operate a fleet of more than 200 vehicles that includes heavy truck recovery units in addition to transporters of various sizes, the biggest of which carry 12 cars. Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans have featured prominently for years, but the new six-wheeler is Autogreen’s first vehicle from the fifth-generation Actros range.

Director Paul Hillier confirmed: “The latest Actros stands out from the crowd thanks to its array of new technology. Safety and environmental compatibility were important factors in our decision to acquire this new Mercedes-Benz, and we’re particularly pleased that its four-star DVS rating means the truck will be allowed access to London for the next 10 years.

“The new transporter is a fantastic addition to the line-up and has already integrated seamlessly with the exacting standards of our operation. Our collection volumes continue to increase, so it was important that the Actros be equipped to cater for all types of end-of-life vehicle.”

MirrorCam’s roof-mounted cameras relay images to screens mounted inside the cab, on the A-pillars. The system provides enhanced rear vision and eliminates the forward-facing blind spots caused by mirror housings. It contributes to fuel economy, as well as safety and driver comfort – Mercedes-Benz estimates an improvement of up to 1.5% – because the compact and streamlined camera housings offer significantly less wind resistance than mirrors.

Also standard equipment on new Actros is the Active Brake Assist 5 emergency braking system, which employs a camera in addition to radar and, at speeds of up to 50 kph, can apply full braking automatically when encountering pedestrians crossing its path.

The Actros Safety Package includes Proximity Control Assist and a driver’s airbag, plus the upgraded interactive version of the manufacturer’s radical, twin-screen Multimedia Cockpit, which provides a larger, 12in instrument panel and offers extra functionality, including satellite navigation.

The Sight Package also contributes to safety by helping the driver to see, and the truck to be seen. Features include a rain sensor, bi-xenon headlamps and a headlamp cleaning system, automatic main/dipped beam function and cornering light.

“We have a small team based here in Daventry who manage vehicle collections on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis,” said Paul Hillier. “Early feedback from our drivers has been entirely positive, especially with regards to the new, in-cab technology, which they’ve embraced very quickly.”

The new truck will be inspected and maintained under a Mercedes-Benz Complete Service Contract by the workshop team at Intercounty Truck & Van’s Milton Keynes branch.  Mr Hillier added: “The planning and attention to detail demonstrated by Truck Sales Executive Amit Verma and his colleagues was excellent. We’ll have no hesitation in engaging again with Intercounty when we come to make future additions to our fleet.”


PRM Green Technologies gets the Mercedes-Benz low-down once again from Midlands Truck & Van

Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ ability to supply a 26-tonne chassis with the low frame height that allows customers to maximise load volumes meant that when it needed a second truck to stay ahead of growing customer demand, PRM Green Technologies had no hesitation in choosing another eye-catching Actros.

The company, which operates from headquarters in Cannock, Staffordshire, provides specialised IT equipment recycling and secure data destruction services for customers from across the commercial and public sectors.

Like its three-year-old predecessor, the new vehicle was supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. Once again, the operator chose a 2540 LnR model with ClassicSpace L-cab, 10.7-litre in-line six-cylinder engine producing 290 kW (394 hp), and single-tyred trailing axle.

And as before, the curtainside body is by Fred Smith & Sons, of West Bromwich, while the six-wheeler is finished in PRM Green Technologies’ striking livery, its black paintwork – which extends to the colour-coded bumper – having been applied at the Mercedes-Benz factory.

Unlike its established stablemate, however, the new truck is from the fifth-generation Actros range introduced to the UK market in the autumn of 2019. As a result, the most casual of observers would notice the absence of conventional mirrors. Instead, the truck is equipped with MirrorCam, the revolutionary camera-based system that offers much improved rear visibility while also eliminating the forward-facing blind spots caused by mirror housings.

PRM Green Technologies adheres to the WEEE Directive governing the disposal of ‘Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment’ and takes pride in its industry-leading environmental practices, as well as the strict security procedures that protect data confidentiality.

The company relies on a fleet of vans and 7.5-tonne trucks to collect redundant IT equipment from customer premises and return it either to Cannock, or to one of its three outbases, in Alton, Hampshire, Carlisle and Taunton.

A third-party carrier was previously responsible for transporting consignments from those outbases to its headquarters for processing. However, the company acquired its first Actros when the financial case for taking this function in-house became compelling. Continued growth has now prompted the investment in a second truck.

The new Actros has an overall height of 4.2m but thanks to its low frame a loading aperture that is just under 2.75m high. As a result, it is able to carry no fewer than 60 of the Euro containers used by PRM Green Technologies. Stacked in three decks, each container is 800mm-high and has a volume capacity of more than 500 litres.

Tim Hawkins, who founded PRM Green Technologies with his co-Director Paul Mullett in 2009, recalled: “When we started out on this road three years ago we invited quotations from all of the major manufacturers.

“Midlands Truck & Van’s was the best response. It was able to offer the low-height chassis that gave us the headroom we needed, while the finance rates were also very attractive. We thought Mercedes-Benz would be the most expensive, but because the residual value on the vehicle was so high the opposite was true.”

PRM Green Technologies’ Actros drivers also have occasional nights away in their trucks, so the fact that the ClassicSpace L-cab comes with a fold-down bed is another advantage. “It means we don’t have to go for the full-size sleeper that would encroach on our all-important volume carrying capacity,” explained Mr Hawkins.

“The aftersales back-up from Midlands Truck & Van is very good too,” he continued. “The Dealer’s Wolverhampton workshop team look after us very well, and we’ve never had an issue when it comes to getting a truck in.”

The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement, the new Actros has won a resounding ‘thumbs up’ from Alex Melbourne, who splits his time between driving and working in the office as PRM Green Technologies’ Fleet Manager.

“Our first Mercedes-Benz is still a very nice drive but this new model is something else altogether,” he enthused. “It feels more like a luxury S-Class car than a truck, and I really look forward to taking it out.

“I quickly got the hang of MirrorCam and once you’ve done so it’s fantastic. I can see pretty much everything as I’m approaching an island now, because there’s no mirror blocking my view.”

The truck’s radical Multimedia Cockpit replaces traditional switchgear with stylish and intuitive twin screens, and is also a hit. PRM Green Technologies chose the upgraded interactive version, which comes with a larger, 12in instrument panel and extra functionality, including satellite navigation.

“I love the technology on this vehicle, and the fact that you can personalise all of the settings,” added Alex Melbourne. “It helps to make the job a lot less stressful, which is exactly what a driver needs.”

Big is not always best: PRM Green Technologies’ Alex Melbourne on the fold-down bed which is ideal for occasional nights out and does not impinge on his truck’s carrying capacity

Tamworth truck and van workshop is the new jewel in Sapphire’s crown

Tamworth truck and van workshop is the new jewel in Sapphire’s crown

Sapphire Vehicle Services – one of Britain’s most successful independent commercial vehicle repairers – has taken the wraps off its first in a national network of all-makes truck and van depots.

Strategically located, right by the busy M42 and A5 arteries, the Tamworth site marks the initial step in an aggressive push for more business – other facilities are already under development and due to open soon.

Sapphire Vehicle Services is already a familiar name to many of the UK’s leading transport operators, looking after the fleets of some of the best-known names in the supermarket sector. The company maintains upwards of 28,000 trucks and vans for its clients, in dedicated Vehicle Maintenance Units across the country. To others, though, it might be ‘the biggest brand you’ve never heard of’.

Although not tied to any truck manufacturer, the new Tamworth site rivals many main dealer workshops. It boasts eight bays, equipped with pits and lifts – one is purpose-built to house an indoor truck wash – as well as a parts store, offices, and comfortable driver waiting area. Crucially, the site also offers ample turning space and enough room to park at least 50 trucks in its huge yard.

With a staff of 14 qualified technicians, led by Manager Ian Evans and supported by Workshop Controller Chris Small and Service Administrator Leigh Darrock, the facility is already taking in business. Following an official launch on 1 July, it will open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.

For truck operators, from the largest fleets down to owner-drivers with a single vehicle, the advantages that Sapphire can offer are clear.

“We’ve invested a huge amount in setting up this site,” says Ian Evans. “The building has been fully refurbished and is now kitted out with diagnostic equipment and tooling for all leading vehicle brands. We carry a stock of genuine OEM parts, and both the workshop and our pair of fully equipped mobile roadside assistance vans operate around the clock.

“I think customers will be pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of the back-up we can offer, on either a pay-as-you-go or contract basis, at highly competitive prices.”

Contact details for the new site are:

As well as inspection, maintenance and repair of all trucks, vans and trailers the Tamworth facility offers bodyshop facilities, MoT preparation, and has technicians specifically trained to work on electric vehicles.

Through its parent company, Northern Ireland-based Ballyvesey Holdings, Sapphire can also provide customers with vehicles on contract hire, lease or spot rental, as well as full fleet management and vehicle disposal services.

Sapphire Vehicle Services is led by Managing Director Perry Reeves, supported by Group Operations Manager Dave Williams, and Dean Woods and Grant Tadman, respectively Regional Managers North and South. Together, they share a decades-long track record in the commercial vehicle industry.

“There are literally tens of thousands of trucks and vans out on the roads, which are kept running smoothly by Sapphire workshops,” asserts Perry. “So even customers who have never heard of us can have complete confidence in our exemplary standards of support.

“Our Tamworth site is already generating a great deal of interest in its local area, and we’re looking forward to opening more workshops very soon. To any operators looking for the finest back-up, with exceptional value and a friendly face, I say get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.”

Sapphire Vehicle Services operates 19 busy and successful vehicle maintenance units across Britain. Other divisions of parent company Ballyvesey Holdings work across related sectors including transport and logistics, truck sales and aftersales support, trailer manufacturing, transport industry services, construction equipment sales and property development.

Top team: From left, Business Development Specialist Nick Bailey, Regional Manager Dean Woods, Group Operations Manager Dave Williams, Technician Liam Turley, Apprentice Technician Tom Sylvester, Technician Supervisor Darren Bentley, Site Manager Ian Evans, Service Administrator Leigh Darrock and Workshop Controller Chris Small
Work in progress: The Tamworth workshop was already taking in jobs as the finishing touches were being put to the interior
At your service: Administrator Leigh Darrock and Workshop Controller Chris Small in the Tamworth office

Travis Perkins builds for a brighter future with clean, ‘green’ Mercedes-Benz vans from Intercounty T&V

Travis Perkins builds for a brighter future with clean, ‘green’ Mercedes-Benz vans from Intercounty T&V

Most customers acquiring fully-electric Mercedes-Benz vans this year will be gaining their first experiences of the manufacturer’s zero-emissions technology – not so Travis Perkins plc.

The leading supplier of materials to the UK building and construction industry has just commissioned two eVito models for operation from one of its branches in Edinburgh. They have replaced a pair of emissions-free E-CELL variants that were based on the previous Vito model range and had been in service since 2015!

Travis Perkins Managed Services is a supply chain partner to local authority and social landlords nationwide. Its contract with the City of Edinburgh Council, on which the new vans are now working, is serviced from a facility in the port area of Leith.

The long L2 eVito variants arrived, like their predecessors, via Intercounty Truck & Van, a trusted partner to Travis Perkins for the last 13 years. They are out each morning delivering materials to contractors responsible for maintaining and repairing the City of Edinburgh Council’s stock of housing and other properties.

Intercounty Truck & Van also provided its high-profile customer with a larger, L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) eSprinter demonstration unit, which underwent a month-long evaluation at the same depot in Leith, and at another Managed Services location in Stockton-on-Tees.

Introduced towards the end of last year, the 3.5-tonne eSprinter is the latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz Vans range. Given the additional load volume it offers, compared to the 3.2-tonne eVito, it represents a more attractive long-term proposition for Travis Perkins. The eSprinter’s cargo area of 11m3 is identical to its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.

Andrew Hollingsworth, Travis Perkins’ Fleet Business Partner for Scotland and Northern England, explained: “We’ll be running the eVito vans for another year in Edinburgh, but it’s the eSprinter that we’re really excited about.

“We carry a lot of bulky items so tend to be more focused on volume than payload. The eSprinter can take 3.0-metre worktops and longer lengths of timber, as well as 8ft x 4ft sheets of plywood and other materials.

“We’d been looking forward to getting our hands on one and seeing how it performed, and it didn’t disappoint. The vehicle did everything we’d hoped, and the feedback from both of the depots that took part in the trial was resoundingly positive.”

Intercounty Truck & Van’s demonstrator was certainly a hit with the three colleagues at Travis Perkins’ Leith branch who put the van through its paces. Asked to rate its overall drive Contracts Manager Guy Cruickshanks and Gary Halliday both awarded it 10 out of 10, while Thomas Garland gave it a nine. 

The eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. Its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. The van will travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge, which is ample for the majority of urban delivery and last mile applications; recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output. 

Now superseded, the Vito E-CELL was the world’s first battery-powered light commercial vehicle to be built on-line at a mainstream production facility. As an early adopter of this ground-breaking technology Travis Perkins highlighted its commitment to carbon reduction and support for the City of Edinburgh Council’s environmental targets.

The eVito brings Mercedes-Benz Vans’ electric drivetrain technology up to date. Travis Perkins’ new vans offer 905 kg payload capacities, while sliding doors on both sides, and twin rear doors, provide easy access to up to 6.0mof cargo space.

Like the eSprinter, the eVito is powered by an electric motor that produces 114 hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous. Top speed is restricted as standard to 50 mph (80 km/h), but can be increased on request. The steering wheel-mounted selectors allow drivers to choose between C, E and E+ (Comfort, Eco and Extended range) settings. The eVito will cover an average of 92 miles between recharges; as with the eSprinter recuperative energy captured when braking can extend its range.

Andrew Hollingsworth continued: “We’re really passionate at Travis Perkins about driving carbon out of our own business and our supply chain, and working on a challenging path to reach net zero carbon. We’re already engaged in a number of initiatives designed to reduce our carbon footprint; for example, wherever possible we now buy only electric fork-lift trucks.

“Electric vans are clearly going to play an increasingly important role in our business, particularly in urban areas where low-emission zones are becoming increasingly common. Mercedes-Benz is already our preferred van brand and although the higher mileages involved means range remains an issue for our retail branch operations, the eSprinter looks to be ideally suited to work on Managed Services contracts nationwide.”

Travis Perkins plc is based in Northampton and purchased its 1,000th Mercedes-Benz van from its local Dealer in March 2018. It has since taken a further 265. The partnership between the two companies is so close that Intercounty Truck & Van’s Customer Service Manager Jason Roberts is dedicated to its Travis Perkins account.

Emerging technology: The eSprinter was a hit with drivers at Travis Perkins’ Managed Services depot in Leith

About Travis Perkins Managed Services

From van stock management to social value, Travis Perkins Managed Services, which is part of Travis Perkins plc, deliver a complete supply chain and procurement solution that optimises workforce efficiencies and enables clients to deliver a better tenant service, at a lower cost, while contributing to the local economy. Through the UK’s largest high-quality network of builders’ merchants and home improvement suppliers, we provide partners with an unparalleled supply chain and procurement solution. For more information, see


Clancy charges towards electrification with zero-emission Mercedes-Benz eVito vans

Leading utilities contractor Clancy has taken a positive step towards a ‘greener’ tomorrow by setting seven battery-powered Mercedes-Benz eVito vans on the road.

The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement, they arrived via preferred supplier Midlands Truck & Van. The operator will now be monitoring their performance and suitability for its various areas of work.

The eVito vans are based at Clancy depots in the south and east of England, and undertake a range of duties, from supporting water meter replacement teams, to delivery of essential parts and materials to construction sites in London, where the eVito’s Congestion Charge exemption translates into welcome £11.50 per vehicle daily savings.

David Janes, head of operations at Clancy Plant, said: “We are working hard to find ways to drive sustainability as we continue towards our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Decarbonising our fleet will be crucial if we want to achieve this, and so we are constantly assessing the technology available to support our business activity in a sustainable way. Investing in fully electric vehicles will be an important pillar of our net-zero strategy.

“We plan to install charging points across many of our depots in the next year, to pave the way for the introduction of more electric vehicles. We’ll use them wherever they can meet our operational requirements.

“As the market advances we’ll be keeping track of new developments such as longer-range batteries, and we’re investigating other ways to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment too, for example by using cleaner gas-to-liquid fuel for our diesel-engined vehicles.”

Clancy’s long L2 eVito vans have gross weights of 3.2 tonnes. Five are PURE variants with payload allowances of 905 kg, and an average range on a full battery charge of 92 miles. The remaining two are PROGRESSIVE models, with colour-coded bumpers and wheel covers. All wear specially designed graphics reinforcing Clancy’s ambition to ‘harness green technology for the good of the planet’.

Like its diesel-engined stablemate the eVito has sliding load doors on both sides, providing easy access, in the case of the L2 variant, to up to 6.0m3 of cargo area – the 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, so does not impinge on the available space.

Clancy acquired its first Mercedes-Benz vehicles from Midlands Truck & Van five years ago. In 2020 it took delivery of more than 500 new vans bearing the three-pointed star, including examples from all three core model lines in the manufacturer’s range.

“Our Mercedes-Benz vans are very reliable,” explained Mr Janes. “The fact that they are hardly ever off the road for anything other than routine maintenance is crucial. They’ve also been impressively cost-effective to run across a tough working regime in which each averages around 30,000 miles per year.

“We receive excellent back-up from the manufacturer and its Dealer. Midlands Truck & Van’s Account Manager Erica Stredwick understands our operation, and our specific requirements, while its Service Director Michael Carolan has helped us get the best from the PRO connect fleet management software fitted to the newest vans. In the case of the eVito, for example, the fact that the battery charge status can be checked via an app on the driver’s phone is a small but significant aid to efficient operation.”

Multi-award-winning Clancy is one of the largest privately-owned construction firms in the UK. With a 60-year track record in technical expertise and innovation, the business employs and trains more than 2,400 people to build and maintain essential infrastructure in the water, energy and civil engineering sectors throughout the UK.

Since Clancy placed its order Mercedes-Benz Vans has responded to customer feedback by realigning the eVito range around the PROGRESSIVE trimline. The vehicle now comes with a facelifted, chrome-finned grille and a higher capacity charging cable, as well as additional equipment including a reversing camera and Audio 30 entertainment with DAB radio, an Anti-theft Protection Package and double-locks.

Customers can further upgrade their eVito by choosing the optional PLUS Package, which incorporates extra features such as electrically folding exterior mirrors, 17-inch full wheel covers and PARKTRONIC parking sensors.

Looking ahead: Clancy’s David Janes, with two of the Mercedes-Benz eVito vans

Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van smashes its sales targets after service-led turnaround

Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van smashes its sales targets after service-led turnaround

A series of orders from leading operators that demand the highest standards of aftersales support have thrown the spotlight on the impressive progress made by Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van over the last couple of years.

Despite the fallout from Covid-19 the company, which has headquarters in Wellingborough, and other branches in Boston, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Toddington, is on course to achieve a major turnaround in its financial fortunes. Not only is it well ahead of its truck and van sales targets, but it has also been making great strides in terms of maintenance and repairs, and parts back-up.

Key to this success has been a welcome injection of stability within its senior management team. Having worked previously in the vehicle rental sector Nick Skillman was appointed Managing Director of Intercounty Truck & Van in 2019; Darren Dowling, meanwhile, had joined the business six months earlier as its Group Aftersales Director.

With the enthusiastic support of colleagues, they have driven significant improvements in the company’s aftersales performance. These, in turn, have been instrumental in helping the Dealer to land a number of breakthrough truck orders this year.

The most recent of these was from refrigerated distribution specialist FreshLinc Group, of Spalding, which has just confirmed that it will be adding another 32 Actros tractor units to the 25 it acquired last year. “I run a ‘tight ship’ and it takes a lot to impress me,” confirmed its Fleet Engineer Andy Marchant. “But Intercounty have a good team, so long may the relationship continue and develop over the coming years.”

While FreshLinc is a relatively new convert to the three-pointed star, the Dealer has won others back to the brand. Palletline member WH Barley, of Milton Keynes, for example, took delivery in February of 10 Actros tractors. They were its first by Mercedes-Benz since 2018, after which it bought vehicles by other manufacturers.

Key to its decision to return to Mercedes-Benz, said the Milton Keynes-based operator, was the excellent relationship it enjoyed with Intercounty Truck & Van’s local workshop, which had kept a pair of Actros running smoothly, with minimal downtime, throughout the pandemic.

Prestigious orders won by Intercounty Truck & Van in recent months also include one for 106 trucks from a leading food wholesaler, and another, from Montgomery Transport, of Newtownabbey, for 100 vehicles. Like Intercounty Truck & Van, Montgomery Transport is owned by Ballyvesey Holdings, but so, too, are the franchised representatives of two other truck manufacturers.

The operator chose Mercedes-Benz on this occasion in large part because of the timely and efficient service it receives from Intercounty Truck & Van’s Dealerships, and from the Vehicle Maintenance Units (VMUs) the Dealer manages on its behalf in other parts of the country.

Other big-name concerns are benefiting from this customer-focused support too. Newmarket-based Turners is one of the UK’s biggest privately-owned transport companies and runs a mixed-marque fleet that includes Mercedes-Benz trucks supplied by another member of the manufacturer’s franchised network. So happy is Turners with the back-up it receives from Intercounty Truck & Van that it has been moving more Mercedes-Benz product into three of its depots located relatively close to, and served by, the Dealer’s Boston workshop.   

Nick Skillman confided: “One of our biggest challenges since I took on this role has been to win back the hearts and minds of former customers. We’ve brought in new service-orientated people, and our priority throughout the pandemic has been to understand what operators expect and work with them as closely as possible to ensure that we meet their needs.

“We’re still far from perfect, of course, and there will always be room for improvement, but we’ve come a long way and as a result morale within the company team is much improved. Colleagues can see the upturn, while a spin-off benefit of the new business we’ve been winning from high-profile fleets is that it helps to reassure other, smaller operators, which are then more inclined to give us another opportunity themselves.”

Underscoring the progress made by its aftersales team, Intercounty Truck & Van is one of two Dealers chosen by Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK to pilot a wide-ranging project that seeks to make improvements and efficiencies by taking a fresh look at all aspects of the service process through the eyes of the customer. Now underway at Boston, it is an initiative that Aftersales Director Darren Dowling was already working on prior to the manufacturer’s involvement.

In other developments, Darren recently joined the Mercedes-Benz Trucks Dealer Council as an aftersales representative, and has just appointed Dean Bailey, who previously spent 29 years with Ryder, as Intercounty Truck & Van’s first Group Operations Manager. Dean is supporting the managers at each of the company’s sites, to achieve further improvements in customer service.

Darren commented: “Recruitment has been a challenge in the past but we’re up to our full complement of technicians, partly because staff retention has improved dramatically. We have so much work coming through the doors that we’re now advertising for more staff and are happy to exceed our head count budget in order to stay ahead of the growth.”

He continued: “Sales and aftersales are collaborating more closely than ever, and this applies when we’re pitching to potential customers as well. It’s very much a joint approach that concentrates on the whole life-cycle costs of the vehicle, and on the support we can provide. It’s a strategy that’s clearly paying off, because this business is in a much stronger position today than it’s been for a long time.”

Sophia Cross, Customer Service District Manager at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, commented: “There’s a management culture at Intercounty Truck & Van that means investments in time and resources are now being made in the right areas.

“The Dealer has been on an upward trajectory over the last few years. If you look at where it’s come from, and where it is now, the results speak for themselves. There is stability within the business, which is really important, and it’s good news from a customer satisfaction perspective too – operators are coming back because they’re getting great service. All of which is very encouraging, and reflects the hard work that Nick, Darren and their colleagues have put in.”   

At your service: Intercounty Truck & Van’s Group Aftersales Director Darren Dowling, right, is pictured with Group Operations Manager Dean Bailey, left, and Group Parts Manager Jason Booth
Fit for purpose: Intercounty Truck & Van’s Boston Dealership is ideally located on a three-acre site at Old Station Yard, Sutterton, on the junction of the busy A16 and A17
Back for more: Having taken delivery of 25 Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van last year, FreshLinc has just ordered another 32

Freezerent teams up with trusted suppliers to develop first refrigerated Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Freezerent teams up with trusted suppliers to develop first refrigerated Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Customers of temperature-controlled vehicle hire and leasing specialist Freezerent can now choose one of the first refrigerated versions of the fully electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter van.

Available on a ‘spot’ rental or longer-term contract hire basis, the eye-catching vehicle is the result of a partnership between Wolverhampton-based Freezerent and Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. The refrigerated conversion was carried out by Solomon Commercials, while the fridge unit and evaporator are by GAH.

Developed in response to demand from Freezerent customers, the temperature-controlled eSprinter is aimed at operators undertaking multi-drop delivery work in cities, more of which are now following London by introducing their own emissions zones.

Launched last autumn, the 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz eSprinter has brought a welcome injection of premium quality, practicality, driver appeal, and safety to the segment for large, zero-emission vans.

It is powered by an electric motor that produces 114 hp and 295 Nm of torque, and drives the front wheels. Research by Mercedes-Benz confirms that at 96 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) the eSprinter’s range is ample for the majority of last mile and urban delivery applications.

The 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. Indeed, the eSprinter’s load volume capacity is key to its appeal. Available in a single size – L2 (medium) length, H2 (high) roof – the standard vehicle offers a load volume of 11m3, which is identical to its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive L2 H2 stablemate, and half a cubic metre more than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.

The latest addition to the Freezerent fleet has a single compartment and is designed to operate as a chiller. The fully electric GAH SRF271e refrigeration unit is powered by independent lithium ion batteries, which means it does not impact the vehicle’s range. These batteries are neatly stored behind a chequer plate-protected panel in the bulkhead fitted by Solomon Commercials, so the cargo area available for product is only very marginally reduced.

Payload is compromised by the weight of the additional batteries, as well as the insulation, fridge and evaporator, but the vehicle still offers a very practical allowance of around 500 kg. As Freezerent Managing Director Lee Dorward explained: “There are plenty of environmentally focused operators out there for whom load volume, rather than carrying capacity, is the key requirement in a temperature-controlled delivery vehicle.

“Clearly, this emissions-free technology is still in its infancy, and I’ve no doubt that over time we’ll see payloads and ranges increase as batteries become lighter and more efficient. Nevertheless, customers are asking about what’s available right now, so we felt it was only appropriate that we should draw on the experience of leading suppliers and give them an opportunity to try one of the very first refrigerated eSprinters.”

The decision to base its first electric van on a Mercedes-Benz was an obvious one for Freezerent, which offers temperature-controlled vehicles on flexible short-, medium- and long-term contracts.

Established by Mr Dorward in 2005, the company has since purchased almost 500 Sprinters. Today, the multi-award-winning model accounts for all but a small handful of the vehicles on its 250-strong fleet – it also has another 100 currently on order from Midlands Truck & Van, a Dealer with which it has been working since day one.

Underlining its commitment to the latest technology, Freezerent relies heavily on the latest Sprinter’s intelligently connected Mercedes PRO connect system, which provides operators with access to a wide range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services that contribute to improved efficiency, productivity, safety and security.

In the eSprinter, PRO connect can remotely monitor battery status and provide fleet managers with real-time updates, enabling them encourage drivers to adopt a more range-conscious style at the wheel, while also helping them to plan charge stops and minimise downtime.

“PRO connect is brilliant, a great addition to the range,” enthused Mr Dorward. “It allows us proactively to manage maintenance issues and was also instrumental in helping the police to track down three vehicles at different locations in London within a couple of hours of them being reported as stolen.”

He added: “This has been a very exciting project, one that establishes a foothold for Freezerent in a segment that’s bound to grow dramatically over the next few years, while also underscoring our position as a leading provider of advanced, temperature-controlled transport solutions.”

Midlands Truck & Van has taken a share of the risk on the new electric van in the form of a highly attractive lease agreement. Its Fleet Sales Manager Joe Lynock commented: “Freezerent is a loyal and highly valued customer, so we were only too happy to lend our backing to Lee’s initiative. The new vehicle looks fantastic and proves that for the right operator a fully electric, refrigerated van is now a viable and potentially very attractive proposition.”







Working in partnership: Freezerent Managing Director Lee Dorward, right, and Operations Director Lee Hampson, centre, are pictured with Joe Lynock of Midlands Truck & Van

On a charge: Freezerent’s Lee Dorward, pictured with Joe Lynock, of Midlands Truck & Van, has high hopes for his company’s new, refrigerated eSprinter

Playing their parts: Solomon Commercials Sales Manager Matthew Jones, right, and his counterpart at GAH Refrigeration Martin Mothershaw


WH Barley fields 10 new MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van

WH Barley fields 10 new MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van

Reliable, cost-effective performance from its previous Mercedes-Benz Actros, coupled with a persuasive sales pitch from the local Dealer, were instrumental in convincing Milton Keynes-based WH Barley to grow its fleet by ordering another 10 tractor units bearing the three-pointed star.

Intercounty Truck & Van delivered the trucks on 1 March. All are Actros 2545 variants with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and 12.8-litre, in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 330 kW (450 hp). The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement, they will be inspected and maintained at the Dealer’s Milton Keynes workshop.

WH Barley’s new tractor units are already hard at work for clients from the retail, wholesale and health sectors, hauling a variety of goods in curtainsided and refrigerated box trailers. Double-shifted, and running seven days per week, they will be expected to stand up to heavy use and high mileages without complaint.

The Palletline member’s fleet of more than 70 tractor units and rigid trucks includes another 16 vehicles by Mercedes-Benz. The new Actros, though, are it’s first since 2018.

They came equipped as standard with innovative MirrorCam technology, which replaces conventional mirrors with rear-facing cameras that relay their images to screens mounted inside the cab, on the A-pillars. As well as enhancing safety by providing much-enhanced all-round visibility, the system cuts diesel costs by an estimated 1.5% because the cameras’ compact, streamlined housings create far less wind resistance.

The latest, enhanced version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ well proven Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) system also contributes to fuel efficiency, while WH Barley’s drivers benefit from Multimedia Cockpit, interactive. The optionally upgraded version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ radical, high-tech dashboard comes with a larger, 12in instrument panel and additional functionality.

Standard safety equipment includes a potential life saver in the form of Active Brake Assist 5, the emergency braking system that now employs cameras in addition to radar. At speeds of up to 50 kph, Active Brake Assist 5 can apply full braking automatically when encountering pedestrians crossing its path.

WH Barley Director Emma Barber-Collins, whose father Peter Barber established the family business in 1970, said: “We’ve been running a pair of Actros tractor units for the last three years, and they’ve been exceptionally reliable, economical and popular with our drivers. We also enjoy a very good relationship with the service team at Intercounty Truck & Van’s local dealership, who have kept the trucks running smoothly, with minimal downtime.”

She continued: “Other manufacturers have raised their games too, though, so this latest order was definitely ‘up for grabs’. The fact that we’ve chosen to put our faith in Mercedes-Benz is largely down to the very impressive presentation and attentive, professional customer service of Intercounty’s Truck Sales Executive Amit Verma and his colleagues, as well as the attractive contract hire rates.”

WH Barley has high hopes for its new trucks’ ground-breaking technology. “Fuel efficiency is crucial,” said Ms Barber-Collins. “While our established Actros deliver excellent returns, we’re looking forward to seeing the additional contributions that MirrorCam and enhanced Predictive Powertrain Control can make toward reducing running costs.

“The camera housings give the trucks a clean, modern appearance too, and I’ve no doubt that equipment of this kind will become the norm before very long. We’ll also be gauging how much it helps our drivers in their day-to-day work, but the initial feedback has been very encouraging.”

WH Barley offers a range full-load, groupage and time-critical delivery services across the UK and beyond. It also boasts 100,000 sq ft of secure warehousing on its five-acre site at Old Wolverton.

Peter Barber is a former Chairman of the Road Haulage Association, while more recently Ms Barber-Collins has followed in her father’s footsteps by joining its Board of Directors. WH Barley is also a member of The Transport Association.

Family values: WH Barley Directors Peter Barber and Emma Barber-Collins



Robert Willoughby, Aftersales Manager at HTC Croydon, wrote to us this week regarding two of his colleagues, who went above and beyond to help a customer in need:

‘Piotr Syrek, our DAFaid Technician, had a normal start to his
day, with a couple of non-starts as his first jobs. T hen he got a
call from DAFaid, to attend four vehicles at a customer’s depot in
Wimbledon, who had received a contaminated fuel delivery from
their supplier.

Piotr swiftly got them back on the road without too much fuss,
then after a busy morning, I took a call from one of our larger
customers in the area, who explained that they had the same
problem. To compound the pressure we already had a couple
more jobs stacked up.

It was late in the afternoon, the vehicles were fully fuelled with contaminated fuel and the customer needed them
all back on the road early the next morning.
We quickly organised some help for Piotr; our 3rd year apprentice, Nathan Alexis. Nathan was happy to help, even
though he had been in since 6am. T hey both worked through to the early hours of the morning, to make sure all the eight contaminated vehicles were ready for work the next day.

Please see below, a thank you message from the customer. What a fine example of the OAF Difference.’

‘Could you please pass on our thanks to your team last night. I understand they worked late into the night to get
everything sorted and that really helped to prevent a disaster here. Without your help and quick response it could
have been a lot worse for us, as we were at severe risk of failing operationally.’
Richard Carter, Senior Logistics Supervisor and Route Planner at Elis


Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020

  • DAF Trucks continues dominance of truck market above 6.0-tonnes for 26th year
  • Network-wide DAF Service & Parts response delivers high KPIs during coronavirus pandemic
  • DAFaid handles 82,500 calls with 80% of jobs fixed at roadside within 90-minutes
  • PACCAR Financial rewrites 5,000 funding contracts to support customers
  • “Our commitment to customers, our sense of duty during the pandemic, and our willingness to adapt have ensured we remain the UK’s truck manufacturer of choice…” Managing Director, Laurence Drake

DAF Trucks has attributed outstanding Service & Parts support from its dealer network to the company’s latest record 32% market share above 6.0-tonnes GVW in 2020, registering more than twice as many trucks against its nearest competitor. SMMT figures announced this week also show DAF Trucks having achieved a record 31.6% share of the Heavy truck market above 16-tonnes GVW. 

10,545 DAF registrations last year – in a total market of 32,918 – is down on 2019’s record breaking 14,814 vehicle registrations for the market leader, with the total market falling by around 15,500 primarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The figures mean DAF Trucks continues its impressive dominance of the UK truck market for an uninterrupted 26th year, with the built in Britain brand now accounting for almost one-in-three truck registrations over the past 24-months.

There was also notable success in the Republic of Ireland where DAF achieved 19.8% share above 6.0 tonnes, up from 18.3% in 2019, taking DAF to third place in the market. DAF achieved a 21.3% share of the market 16.0-tonnes GVW and above, and 12% in the 6-to-16.0-tonnes GVW segment.

Set against the backdrop of last year’s public health emergency, DAF Trucks cites its response to operators’ demands via the DAF Dealer network and its aftersales portfolio as instrumental to its ongoing market-leading performance. “Our commitment to customers, our sense of duty during the pandemic, and our willingness to adapt have ensured we remain the UK’s truck manufacturer of choice for so many operators,” said DAF Trucks Managing Director, Laurence Drake, “The latest registration figures are pleasing, naturally, but they tell only half the story of the way in which the DAF family rallied together to ensure our 135 DAF Dealers remained fully operational during 2020.”

Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020
Laurence Drake – Managing Director, DAF Trucks

Performance by DAFaid, the industry benchmark roadside recovery service from DAF Trucks, was arguably the company’s most impressive achievement in 2020. DAFaid handled 82,500 calls, attended almost 66,000 roadside issues, fixing 80% of these within 90-minutes of the initial call. It is notable that even during the first lockdown no jobs were refused. Meanwhile, the DAF Dealer network carried out 26,000 MOTs for customers, achieving a first-time-pass-rate just short of 98%.

PACCAR Financial, DAF Trucks in-house vehicle finance division, also went the extra mile in 2020 in support of operators suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the financial strength of the organisation, PACCAR Financial was able to restructure over 5,000 contracts to ensure operators retained their assets and fulfil their own commitments to customers. PACCAR Financial also arranged funding on over 30% of all new DAF vehicle sales in 2020.

DAF Trucks supports a portfolio of 18,850 repair and maintenance contracts with over 4,500 new DAF MultiSupport contracts arranged in 2020. Customers were supported through the financial impact of the pandemic with revised or suspended payment terms for over 2,800 vehicles

Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020

The PACCAR Parts operation, comprising DAF Genuine and TRP all-makes truck and trailer brands, also performed exceptionally well, delivering results approaching 2019 levels, with the DAF Dealer network maintaining its market-leading first-time-pick-rate of almost 94%.

DAF Trucks’ substantial training output received particular focus in 2020 and, despite the pandemic, all DAF Technician training switched to virtual classroom training to ensure the DAF Dealer network maintains its benchmark levels of skill and competence. DAF Trucks is on track to recruit a further 84 apprentice technicians for the renowned DAF Apprentice Programme based at the DAF Apprentice College in Bristol.


Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance Refurbish Strathroy Tankers

Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance

One of the most recent projects completed for Rockmount Vehicle is a batch of Strathroy Tankers. 

Works carried out:

Full new chassis was fitted, new axels, new wiring, and air piping.  Usually, the barrel is perfect but it is the running gear that wears over the years. 

Repairing rather than replacing these tankers has huge cost benefits to Strathroy Tankers and the workmanship from  Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance is second to none.

Want to know more information?

Contact Paul McCord on 07717694888

or email


Award-winning City Plumbing taps into Bevan Group build quality for new Luton van fleet

A consultative design process between customer, bodybuilder and dealer ensured that the latest vehicles are perfectly specified for their role. Bevan’s relatively high bodies have low floors and, crucially, the 2.4-metre rear apertures needed for loading and unloading pre-plumbed hot water cylinders, which cannot be laid down or tilted during transportation.


Wellingborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van supplied heavy-duty Sprinter chassis cabs that meet Euro VI emissions regulations, rather than Euro 6 versions on which the requisite height would not have been permissible.


Eye-catching in City Plumbing’s first full vinyl wrap liveries, which were applied by Elliott Signs, of Castle Donington, the Sprinter 314 CDIs are powered by fuel-efficient 2.1-litre engines that produce 143hp and 330 Nm of torque.


All are rear-wheel drive long L3 variants, with the sole exception of a medium-length L2 with front-wheel drive, which is now working from City Plumbing’s depot in Oban, on Scotland’s west coast. As this vehicle is less than 6.0 metres long deliveries to the islands of The Hebrides are economically viable, because the ferry operator charges for crossings at the light goods vehicle rate; if it exceeded this length the much higher commercial vehicle rate would apply.  


Craig Kenyon recalled: “Sales Director Roy Shelton and his colleagues were confident they would get our builds so they saved us some production slots, and the vehicles were ready when we needed them. The fact that this was achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic reflects the quality of the relationships between our two companies.”


Key to the heating and plumbing specialist’s decision to place its order for 51 bespoke Luton bodies with Bevan Group, was the well proven durability of the manufacturer’s products, as well as its market-leading five-year warranty and competitive pricing.


True to form, the latest aerodynamically profiled additions to the City Plumbing fleet are based on 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van. The same model accounts for the overwhelming majority of its 500-plus Lutons and panel vans.


Part of the Travis Perkins Group, City Plumbing won the prestigious Motor Transport Fleet Van Operator of the Year trophy in 2019. It operates from headquarters in Northampton and a network of more than 350 branches throughout the UK, which serve the trade and DIY markets with a comprehensive product range that includes everything from boilers and copper tubing, to bathroom suites, towel rails and electrical parts, all by top brand names.  


The new vehicles are working from locations nationwide, and make the majority of deliveries directly to residential locations at which plumbers, heating engineers, bathroom fitters and other tradespeople are working.


Although it has been a valued customer of the West Midlands-based Bevan Group in the past, for the last four years City Plumbing has purchased its Luton bodies from another company. Fleet Operations Interface Manager Craig Kenyon made the decision to turn back the clock and entrust the reigning Commercial Motor Bodybuilder of the Year with its latest order. 


He explained: “We depreciate our vehicles over seven years, so we need a body that can withstand rigorous use over that entire lifespan. We still have Lutons on the fleet that left the Bevan Group factory 10 years ago and look great to this day.”


Mr Kenyon continued: “Bevan’s five year-warranty represents a commitment that we value highly. It’s reassuring to know that the manufacturer is prepared to stand by its products and processes to such an extent.”


City Plumbing also relies on Bevan Group’s Aftercare Response division to provide planned and round-the-clock emergency back-up for all of its vehicle bodies, as well as ancillary equipment such as tail-lifts – the new Lutons are equipped with 500kg Dhollandia column lifts, with integral safety rails.


Winning formula: Craig Kenyon is pictured with one of City Plumbing’s new Sprinter Lutons and the Motor Transport Fleet Van Operator of the Year 2019 trophy 








Midlands Truck & Van’s £7m Birmingham dealership wins an enthusiastic reception from customers

Early visitors have hailed the modern, efficient facilities and ample space for vehicle parking at the state-of-the-art branch in Birmingham opened by Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

A far cry from the traditional truck and van outlet, the £7-million development on Cornwall Road, Smethwick, welcomed its first customers last month (December). Managing Director Steve Hunt declared: “This project has underlined our commitment to keeping businesses moving. We’re very proud of our new dealership, which is right up there with the best in the industry.”

Formerly the site of a steelworks, and then a plastics factory, the new build features an open plan reception area designed and furnished in line with the latest Mercedes-Benz corporate standards. The seven-acre plot offers plenty of space for displaying new and pre-owned vehicles, and – crucially – for customers to manoeuvre and park their own trucks and vans.

“We’ve already received a lot of positive feedback on the amount of room we have here, as well as on our excellent location close to the M5 and M6 motorways,” continued Steve. “This substantial investment reflects the ever-increasing demand from operators of Mercedes-Benz and FUSO trucks, and Mercedes-Benz Vans. We now look forward to surpassing their expectations in terms of the quality of our service.”

Midlands Truck & Van is the first member of the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle network to introduce a new customer experience concept which is already in operation at a number of Mercedes-Benz car outlets. Visitors to the site are greeted by dedicated hosts, then introduced to other members of the team with whom they can discuss anything from a sales enquiry to a service booking in stylish, relaxed and comfortable surroundings.

The drive-through workshop incorporates an Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) on which inspectors from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will undertake truck MOT tests. There is also an ADR bay allocated to work on fuel tankers and related specialist equipment for transporting hazardous loads, and another for the installation and calibration of tachographs.

A further 11 truck bays – each, at 24 metres, comfortably long enough to accommodate an articulated tractor unit and semi-trailer combination – and eight van bays are available for routine maintenance and repairs. Midlands Truck & Van’s own technicians carry out MOT tests on light commercial vehicles in the Class 4, 5 and 7 categories, at times – night or day – best suited to customers. 

At 650 square metres the new Parts department offers a 25% increase on the shelf space available at Midlands Truck & Van’s previous branch in Saltley. This allows it to carry correspondingly wider and deeper stocks of the factory-approved spares it needs to keep vehicles out on the road and earning for their owners.

Impressed customers include Neil Davies, who works out of the Hams Hall rail freight terminal and brought his Actros tractor unit in to get a faulty bulb spring replaced. “It was an easy job, all sorted in 15 minutes,” he reported. “I’d have been held up a lot longer at the Dealer’s old site, though, simply because they were so short of space and it was invariably rammed. The fact that we now have plenty of room in which to turn around makes life so much easier for a driver like me.”

His comments were echoed by Mohammed Abid Shan, who was being collected by a colleague after dropping off his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for routine maintenance. “This new Dealership looks brilliant,” he enthused, “a massive improvement on the old place, where it was always a bit awkward getting in and out.”

Steve Bartosik, of Service Tech, was at the Parts desk in the airy reception area. “What a really nice environment,” he commented. “There’s no comparison between this and the Dealer’s former premises.”

The Smethwick opening marks the completion of a major programme of investment in its branch network by Midlands Truck & Van, one of two Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle franchisees owned by Northern Ireland’s Ballyvesey Holdings Group.

It recently spent £3 million on acquiring and transforming the former Mercedes-Benz car outlet in Whitley, Coventry, into one of the country’s biggest Mercedes-Benz van showrooms. The Dealer’s former commercial vehicle centre next door is now a truck-dedicated facility.

Midlands Truck & Van’s purpose-built branch, in Willenhall, Wolverhampton, is also still relatively new, having opened at the end of 2015 at a cost of £4 million.

Front-runner: Managing Director Steve Hunt says Midlands Truck & Van looks forward to surpassing customer expectations at its new Birmingham branch
Advantage Actros: Group Truck Sales Manager Simon Russell is pictured with one of Midlands Truck & Van’s stunning Actros Edition 1 demonstration units
Room to manoeuvre: Neil Davies says that with so much space the new facility makes life a lot easier for he and his fellow truck drivers