Mercedes-Benz Econic delivers cost savings and safety benefits for Coventry City Council

The Mercedes-Benz Econic’s proven durability and highly competitive running costs led Coventry City Council back to local Dealer Midlands Truck & Van for the latest additions to its fleet of refuse collection vehicles.

The authority set five new trucks on the road last summer, and is due to take delivery of a further six over the next few months. They replace Econics which are being stood down, in some cases after nine and even ten years’ reliable service.

Coventry City Council purchased its first Econics in 2003, and the low-entry model quickly established itself as the authority’s refuse collection vehicle of choice. The 40 examples it currently runs represent the backbone of the Council’s domestic and trade waste operation.

The latest trucks are 6×2 Econic 2630 L variants with 7.7-litre ‘straight-six’ engines which produce 220 kW (299 hp) and drive through six-speed Allison automatic gearboxes.

The first five are on domestic rounds, including collections of recyclables. In line with the Council’s previous policy, they were specified with mid-steer axles, while their Dennis Eagle compactor bodies have split bin lifts. The remaining vehicles will be assigned to a commercial waste contract – because access is an issue at some locations, they will be fitted with rear-steer axles which offer enhanced manoeuvrability. Their Dennis Eagle bodies, meanwhile, will have triple bin lifts.

Coventry City Council intends to monitor the performance of these trucks, and gauge driver feedback, before deciding whether the rear-steer set-up will also be more appropriate for mainstream domestic work.

The Mercedes-Benz Econic’s air-conditioned, flat-floored cab is easy to climb in and out of, and walk across, enhancing health and safety for crews. Its deep, wraparound windscreen, and fully glazed, folding side door, meanwhile, offer exemplary levels of Direct Vision, an important factor in helping to protect vulnerable road users.

The Econic also comes with a standard-fit armoury of driver assistance systems which exceed legislative requirements, including Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking technology with pedestrian recognition capability.

Brian Martin, Assistant Fleet Manager at Coventry City Council, commented: “Mercedes-Benz put a lot of thought into the design of the Econic cab, which is very comfortable. We have had good feedback – the vehicle is exceptionally popular with our drivers and crews.”

He continued: “We work hard to ensure we get good value from our fleet, and we have been very pleased with the Econic. With other vehicles, we’ve worked on a five-year replacement cycle. However, the Econic is noticeably more durable – the fact that it lasts longer means we’ve typically tended to keep ours for seven and sometimes up to 10 years.”

Coventry City Council maintains the Econics in-house at its depot in Whitley, but relies on Midlands Truck & Van for parts and technical support. “Aftersales back-up is crucial,” confirmed Mr Martin. “The Dealer’s local branch is barely a quarter of a mile away and we enjoy a very close working relationship with its Service and Parts teams, who provide excellent support.”

In addition to its refuse collection fleet, Coventry City Council operates other Mercedes-Benz vehicles supplied by Midlands Truck & Van, including a handful of 18-tonne Arocs skiploaders, and wheelchair-accessible Sprinter-based minibuses.


From best to even better

DAF has launched the new generation CF and XF trucks, which feature new drivelines and aerodynamic optimisations, resulting in up to 7% lower fuel consumption.

A new DAF Connect fleet management system will drive even larger efficiency gains and the trucks also feature lower weight for increased payload and an updated interior and exterior design for the highest driver comfort and greatest appeal.

“DAF Euro 6 trucks already have a reputation for fuel efficiency, driver comfort and general reliability. Now that DAF have released the new generation of units, they offer the very best solution for both customer and driver” Said Paul Whincup, Sales Director for HTC Group.  

A key principle when developing the new drivelines was to reduce engine revs for fuel efficiency. Maximum torque of the PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engines has been increased significantly and is already available from 900rpm to allow down speeding of the engine. The top-of-the range PACCAR MX-13 engine produces 530PS and 2,600Nm of torque at 1,000rpm.

Next to engine performance, the performance of the PACCAR Engine Brake has been enhanced. Maximum braking power of the PACCAR MX-11 engine has grown from 320 to 340kW. Braking power has increased 20% between 1,000 to 1,500rpm. Maximum braking power of the MX-13 is no less than 360kW and in the important 1,200 to 1,500rpm range, braking power has increased up to 30%.


Mercedes-Benz Arocs is a winner at Wembley

Safety was at the top of its agenda when the Wembley-based Carey Group ordered its first seven Mercedes-Benz trucks. The 8×4 Arocs 3240s were supplied by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van.

A multi-disciplined provider of construction and resource management services operating throughout the UK and Ireland, the Carey Group has held Gold standard acceditation from the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) since 2013.

Key to the company’s decision to commission the new eight-wheelers were the strong relationship it has already forged with Stephen James, Intercounty’s Fleet Sales Director – Truck, and the promise of timely, customer-focused back-up. The Arocs are now being inspected and serviced by the Dealer under Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts.

The trucks have ClassicSpace M-Cabs and are powered by fuel-efficient, 10.7-litre straight-six engines, which produce 290 kW (394 hp) and drive through smooth and efficient Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. Their bodywork is by Abba Commercials, of St Helens – five are steel tippers and assigned to general site muckaway duties, while the remaining two are hook-loaders which carry bins with capacities of up to 12 cubic yards.

Established in 1969, the Carey Group now has a turnover of more than £400 million. The company’s portfolio of services includes asbestos removal, demolition, civil engineering, dry lining and house building, as well as resource management. The Arocs are being operated by its PJ Carey Plant Hire (Oval) division, which runs 30 trucks, ranging from 7.5 tonners to 80-tonne tractor units for special movements, that work in and around the capital.

Greater Safety is one of the three pillars of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ RoadEfficiency Strategy. PJ Carey Plant & Fleet Director Gary Condon confirmed: “Intercounty have worked closely with ourselves and with the bodybuilder to develop a specification that reflects our commitment to the protection of vulnerable road users. It’s been very much a three-way partnership.

“We’ve done a lot of work on behavioural driving and this has confirmed that comfort is an important component when it comes to safety. The ergonomics of the Arocs cab are very good, while these are also our first tippers with auto transmissions – unlike a traditional manual ’box, Mercedes PowerShift lets the truck do the work and leaves the driver free to concentrate fully on what’s going on around him.”

Replacements for French-built vehicles, the Arocs are equipped with a full complement of recordable cameras supplied and fitted by Exeros Technologies. These provide 360-degree coverage around the vehicle, with others facing the driver and looking down on the load – a web portal allows Mr Condon and his colleagues to log in and monitor the status of the trucks in real time.

Other safety features include proximity side sensors which issue flashing visual as well as audible warnings, and side protection between the two sets of axles, to prevent cyclists being dragged under the wheels. The Arocs are also fitted with truck-specific satellite navigation systems.

Maximised Use is another RoadEfficiency pillar and Mr Condon continued: “We’ll be monitoring the Arocs closely because with the Dealer’s support we’re certainly hoping to achieve increased utilisation compared to our established vehicles.”

Intercounty has also delivered a programme of driver familiarisation at the point of delivery, and subsequent training. Mr Condon added: “We’ve done everything we can to make these trucks as safe and efficient as possible. We knew what we wanted but the Dealer has certainly helped to deliver it – Stephen, in particular, has been proactive but never to the point of painfully pestering.

“We’re still very new to Mercedes-Benz, of course, but if the product proves as good as the relationship we’ve already developed with Intercounty then there’s every prospect that we’ll be returning for more.”


FIAT Professional’s Talento and Fiorino honoured in 2017 Trade Van Driver Awards

Fiat Professional Talento takes Traders’ Choice accolade in the 2017 Trade Van Driver Awards
Fiat Professional Fiorino wins Best City Van award
Two Fiat Professional vehicles have been honoured in the 2017 Trade Van Driver Awards.

The Fiat Professional Talento, which joined the Fiat’s commercial vehicle range last year, has been named Traders’ Choice by the magazine, while the Fiat Professional Fiorino was awarded the Best City Van accolade.

Trade Van Driver, the leading van magazine for small business users, is the only publication which caters for the owner-driver and small fleet operator. The awards are judged not only by the magazine’s expert panel, but also by a selection of readers who use light commercial vehicles as part of their businesses.

Commenting on Talento, the magazine judges said: Brand new for this year, the Talento is Fiat Professional’s  medium panel van replacement for the old Scudo and ticks all the boxes for traders who need a stylish, comfortable van which will transport five cubic metres or so of cargo.

And on Fiorino: Fiat Professional’s  functional approach to the design and practicalities of a small commercial vehicle make the Fiorino the perfect tool for trade users who need a small van for city use.

“I am delighted that the Talento has secured this award against some strong competition,” says Richard Chamberlain, Head of Brand, Fiat Professional UK. “It is also pleasing that the judges have recognised the continuing attributes that our Fiat Professional Fiorino provides to small business users.”

Justin Seal, HTC Van Centre Director commented, “These vehicles have given us the ride of a lifetime, the awards keep coming in which is testament to the quality and drivability of these great vans”

About Fiat Professional Talento:

Talento has a generous load capacity that helps to make it the ideal workmate for professionals, adding to its great versatility and ability to adapt to the most diverse needs of its customers. The name Talento evokes the innate qualities of the vehicle and the concept of traditional Fiat Professional value and dependability by making reference to the name of an ancient coin – the Talent. The name has high symbolic value and suggests what the vehicle can do, its abilities and, in short, its talent. Prices start at £19,995 (excluding VAT, VED, delivery and plates) for the 1.6 SWB 10 MultiJet 95 HP.

About Fiat Professional Fiorino:

With over 370,000 units sold since it was first launched, the model that invented the small van segment was refreshed in 2016 to consolidate its market position and offer even more to the professional user. The new Fiat Professional Fiorino retains the compact dimensions that make it perfect for use in cities: agile in traffic and easy to park, without sacrificing any of its remarkable load capacity of up to 2.8 m3 or payload capacity of up to 660kg. The Fiorino features modern design touches, inside and out, with new ideas that help it retain its position as a top choice in terms of performance, running costs, comfort and functionality. Prices start at £11,565 (excluding VAT, VED, delivery and plates) for the Cargo 1.4 75 HP Fire.


New DAF CF and XF trucks revealed this week at the CV show

DAF is introducing the new generation CF and XF trucks, which set a new standard in transport efficiency and driver comfort. Engine innovations, new drivelines and aerodynamic optimizations result in an up to 7% lower fuel consumption. The new DAF Connect fleet management system will drive even larger efficiency gains. The new generation CF and XF also feature lower weight for increased payload and an updated interior and exterior design for the highest driver comfort and greatest appeal. These excellent new trucks provide our customers with the lowest operating cost and the highest uptime.

“Building on the excellent reputation for fuel efficiency, reliability and driver comfort the current Euro 6 product range has earned in Europe, DAF has developed a new generation of CF and XF trucks offering the best possible solutions for both the customer and the driver”, shared Preston Feight, DAF Trucks president. “Backed by industry leading services and a highly professional dealer organization, the new CF and XF trucks – entering production in summer 2017 – embody an owner’s delight and the driver’s dream.”

The new CF and XF: Owner’s delight

7% lower fuel consumption

  • PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engine innovations
  • New efficient TraXon automated gearbox
  • New high efficiency rear axles with new faster ratios
  • Advanced powertrain software features
  • Aerodynamic optimizations

New PACCAR Engine Brake
Up to 100 kilogram higher payload

  • New compact Exhaust After-treatment System

Maximum uptime

  • Service-intervals up to 200,000 km
  • First class body builder-friendliness

DAF Connect fleet management system for the highest transport efficiency

Improved fuel efficiency, along with more power and torque at lower revs.
Class-leading fuel efficiency is the result of the fully integrated and innovative driveline that achieves optimum interaction between engine, after-treatment system, transmission and rear axles, for lowest total cost of ownership, fully aligned with the DAF Transport Efficiency philosophy.

The air management of the PACCAR MX engines has been further improved by applying a new and even more efficient turbocharger, a new EGR system and a new valve actuation design. Thermal efficiency has been enhanced by developing a new combustion system, including new pistons, injectors and injection strategies, while higher compression ratios are employed.

New highly efficient variable speed cooling-, steering- and oil pumps are used to achieve the lowest fuel consumption.

A key principle when developing the new drivelines was to reduce engine revs for best-in-class fuel efficiency. Maximum torque of the PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engines has been increased significantly and is already available from 900 rpm to allow down speeding of the engine. The top-of-the range PACCAR MX-13 engine produces 390 kW/530 hp and 2,600 Nm of torque at 1,000 rpm.

Highly-efficient rear axle designs
Rear axle designs have been further developed and reductions of down to 2.05:1 can be specified for driving at cruising speeds of 85 km/h at only 1,000 – 1,040 rpm, depending on driveline choice. The new generation of rear axle differentials features a completely new design of crown wheel and pinion, aimed at highest durability and efficiency as well as extremely low noise levels.

Application of low viscosity oils, lower oil levels in the rear axles and low friction wheel end bearings also enhance fuel efficiency.

Efficient TraXon gearbox as standard
The latest generation of TraXon automated gearboxes are standard on the new CF and XF series with the 12 speed being standard and a 16 speed optional. Less friction losses, even faster upshifts and the extended use of EcoRoll contribute to lowest fuel consumption. Driver comfort is enhanced thanks to its quiet and smooth operation and precise clutch control. The increased ratio spread allows excellent maneuverability, even when faster drivelines are applied.

Advanced powertrain software features
The new CF and XF feature a completely new electric and electronic architecture. It introduces a new vehicle control unit for dedicated driveline integration, featuring enhanced EcoRoll and Cruise Control functionalities, such as Dynamic Cruise. Dynamic Cruise adapts the character of the cruise control to the different driving circumstances. Thanks to a further integration of Predictive Cruise Control (PCC) and EcoRoll, PCC can now activate EcoRoll sooner, when both technologies have calculated that vehicle momentum is sufficient to carry the vehicle in neutral gear over the top of the hill within a set speed bandwidth.

Industry-leading PACCAR Engine Brake performance
Next to engine performance, the performance of the PACCAR Engine Brake has been enhanced. Maximum braking power of the PACCAR MX-11 engine has grown from 320 to 340 kW. Braking power has increased 20% between 1,000 to 1,500 rpm. Maximum braking power of the MX-13 is no less than 360 kW and in the important 1,200 to 1,500 rpm range, braking power has increased up to 30%.

Aerodynamic Optimizations
In order to achieve lowest possible fuel consumption, vehicle aerodynamics have been improved thanks to a new sun visor design for the CF and XF. In addition, the new XF features wheel bay extensions and flow guides behind the grille for optimal aerodynamics around the truck and through to the engine bay. New grille closures reduce drag, and new gap closures between the headlight and corner deflector realize the best possible aerodynamics.

Up to 100 kilogram higher pay load
For the new CF and XF, DAF has developed a completely new and compact Exhaust After-treatment System (EAS), which results in more chassis space for components such as larger fuel tank, compressors, tool boxes or crane legs.

An advanced substrate technology allows for a 40% reduction in overall volume in the EAS unit. This is done without compromising backpressure, ash cleaning intervals or DeNOx efficiency. In fact, the compact box heats up faster allowing the engine to operate quicker and even more frequently in its most efficient fuel map.

The compactness of the EAS units also means that for special applications, DeNOx catalytic converter and Diesel Particulate Filter don’t need to be split anymore, which contributes to excellent overall efficiency.

Another advantage of the new ultra-compact EAS unit is that it is some 50 kilograms lighter. Thanks to additional measures like engine and chassis weight optimisation, the new CF and XF offer 100 kilogram more payload.

Maximum uptime
Service intervals of the new DAF CF and XF can be extended from 150,000 to 200,000 kilometer. Despite the compact dimensions of the new EAS unit, its capabilities are unmatched, resulting in ash cleaning intervals of up to 500,000 kilometer, which contributes to maximum customer uptime.

The enhanced Body Attachment Method supports the shortest configuration time, as the new design at the rear end of the chassis allows easy fitment of, for instance, tail lifts and dedicated prepared installation plates for boxed bodies and cranes.

DAF Connect fleet management system
DAF Connect is an innovative fleet management system, offering the operator real-time information on the performance of his vehicles and drivers.

Information on vehicle location, fuel consumption, mileage, fleet utilization and idle time are clearly presented in an on-line dashboard, which can be tailored to customer requirements. The user-friendly dashboard can be configured to provide comprehensive fuel reports with current and historical data that compares the fleet’s vehicles and drivers. The Live Fleet View feature provides all the information needed about the location of the fleet in order to enable optimal planning including distances, routes and driving time for the vehicle and driver. Operators receive self-defined alerts when deviations occur in areas like speed, route, location and fuel consumption so they can immediately improve fleet performance.

DAF Connect optimizes vehicle availability, reduces operational cost and enhances logistical efficiency. DAF Connect also allows the transport operator to effectively plan repair & maintenance and take advantage of tailor-made advice by DAF when using DAF Connect.

The new CF and XF: Drivers Dream
The new CF and XF remain the industry leader in driver comfort, thanks to their great accessibility, excellent interior space and many innovations that enhance comfort, user-friendliness, attractiveness and safety.

  • New interior trim
  • New Temperature and Climate Control (HVAC)
  • New Exclusive Line
  • Upgraded instrument panel and dashboard lay-out
  • Plug and play driver preference switches

From the moment you step inside, the new DAF CF and XF deliver the highest level of quality and driver comfort. New warm and tasteful colors on the dashboard, seats, curtains, mattresses, side and back walls give the interior a beautiful appearance in which every driver can appreciate the luxury and richness. The XF piano black decoration on dashboard and rear wall gives the interior extra appeal. The XF Super Space Cab remains the most spacious cab on the market with a total volume of more than 12.6 m3.

New temperature and climate control
The new DAF CF and XF feature a completely new automatic HVAC system which is very easy to operate. The system also contributes to the best fuel efficiency as the new smart controlled air-conditioning system consumes less energy by cooling the air down only as much as is needed to reach the desired temperature. Intelligent control of the evaporator is also used to avoid unnecessary air cooling. The new fully automated HVAC system uses residual heat from the engine for heating the cab during short breaks, which adds to fuel efficiency. The new temperature and climate control systems can also be operated using the new rear wall panel with temperature display for highest driver comfort.

New Exclusive Line
The summit of luxury and comfort is the new Exclusive Line, available for both the new CF and XF. The top-of-the range Exclusive Line is distinguished by the cognac colored dashboard, door panels (XF) and leather seats, as well as the stylish bright vents (CF). A leather steering wheel is standard on the luxurious CF and XF versions.

Enhanced Driver Information and user-friendliness
The instrument panel has been redesigned with new characters for a more modern and attractive appearance and enhanced clarity. The enhanced Driver Information Panel includes a tachograph countdown, displaying remaining driving and resting times.

This contributes to enhanced comfort and efficiency, as do the driver configurable switches (MUX), which allow the driver to position dashboard switches according to his/her preference. MUX-switches also allow optimal positioning of controls and switches for the operation of the superstructure or components like aggregates and crane leg supports.

Drivers will also benefit from the new interior light switch, positioned in the central part of the dashboard, while DAF’s great sliding table and unmatched storage space remain untouched. The new interior light switch stands out in user-friendliness with possibilities of dimming for ‘night drive’ and ‘relax’ modes. All speed related functions, including cruise control, predictive cruise control and adaptive cruise control are perfectly and logically grouped at the right side of the steering wheel.

Great looks
DAF has enriched the exterior styling with subtle and stylish elements, like the identity plate in the doorstep which welcomes the driver to the luxurious interior (XF). A new DAF nameplate with a redesigned DAF logo featuring chrome letters symbolize the trucks’ quality. Accents in the bumper and sun visor give the exterior an extra touch of richness, as do the decorative strips in the grille and the new grill mesh for the XF.

Start of Production
The new CF and XF will enter production in the summer of 2017 in 4×2 tractor (FT) and rigid (FA) configurations, the 6×2 tractor FTG and FTP with pusher axles, and the 6×2 rigid with single mounted trailing axle (FAR). Other excellent versions will follow in autumn.

“We have made the best trucks on the market even better”, commented Preston Feight, DAF Trucks president. “The new CF and XF further extend the current trucks’ excellent reliability, fuel efficiency and driver comfort.  As part of our DAF Transport Efficiency philosophy we have again made major steps to further enhance vehicle efficiency by providing the lowest operating cost and the higher uptime for our customers. The new CF and XF represent Pure Excellence.”

Paul Whincup, Sales Director for the HTC Group said, “We’ve been awaiting the release of the new CF and XF eagerly, with reduced fuel consumption and payload and along with their great looks, I believe these vehicles will capitalise on DAF’s already impressive dominance in the market.” He added “The Commercial Vehicle Show is a great place to show off the new trucks today and really do expect orders to start flowing in straight away.”


Fiat does double at VANSA2Z Awards

  • Doblo Cargò named Best Light Van for third year running
  • Fiorino claims Diesel Eco Van of the Year title
  • Awards underline strength in depth of extended Fiat Professional line-up

Fiat Professional has claimed two top honours in the Vans A2Z awards 2017.

The Doblò Cargo was named Light Van of the Year for the third year running – underlining its market-leading reputation.

Meanwhile the Fiorino light van was named Diesel Eco Van of the year.

Presenting the award for the Doblò Cargo, Neil McIntee, editor of vans A2Z, said: “Sporting a stylish exterior design and boasting some key technical enhancements to its drivetrains introduced a couple of years ago, a choice of four load cubes and making it three consecutive years in a row, the Fiat Doblò Cargo continues to lead the pack in the light van sector.”

Of the Fiorino, he added: There is no better way for a diesel van to show its eco credentials than by competing in the annual MPG Marathon, organised by the Fleetworld Group, and in 2016 an 80hp Fiat Fiorino 1.3 Multijet SX took on all-comers to win its category with an impressive overall fuel consumption of 72.1mpg.”

Meanwhile the Fiorino was selected as the victor in the “Diesel eco van” category, thanks to its low running costs, comfort and agility in the city. Additionally, it has a practical loading capacity of up to 2.8 cubic metres and a payload of 660 kg. Judges were also wowed by the model’s frugal engines and compelling total cost of ownership which set it apart from the competition.

HTC Vancentre Director Justin Seal said “It doesn’t coma as much of a shock to those of us in the industry, Fiat Professional vehicles are all anyone would want, plus more” He added “And with those great looks, who could resist?”

“Customer feedback has been extremely positive for our current model line-up, including the newest models Talento and Fullback.  It’s always fantastic to have that view reinforced by the van press as well as recognition of the improvements that Fiat Professional has made to the range and to the ownership experience.”


Double-drive Antos adds up to the perfect package for Cawleys

Driver appeal, coupled with the promise of excellent reliability and competitive whole-life costs, prompted family-owned waste management specialist Cawleys to invest in its first Mercedes-Benz Antos. The Luton-based company’s new 26-tonner arrived via the Milton Keynes branch of Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van.

The Antos 2632 has a ClassicSpace M-Cab with extra storage space behind the seats. Its 7.7-litre, straight-six engine generates 235 kW (320 hp), which is transmitted to both rear axles via a smooth and efficient eight-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated gearbox.

The Antos is fitted with a Heil Powerlink compactor body and collects commercial waste in large wheeled bins from the premises of business customers across the Home Counties and in London. The subject of a five-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance contract, it is being inspected and serviced at Intercounty Truck & Van’s Toddington workshop.

“It’s all about ‘horses for courses’,” explained Head of Waste Collection Phil Gudgeon. “The Antos is better suited to this application than the low-entry Mercedes-Benz Econic it has replaced, because it entails covering greater distances and making fewer stops than required for a domestic waste collection round.

“We spoke to other operators in our industry before placing our order, and it’s clear that Mercedes-Benz trucks have an excellent reputation for reliability, which will be crucial if we’re to deliver a service on which our customers can depend.

“The truck has been extremely well received by our drivers and the early indications are that it will be significantly more fuel efficient than its predecessor. This is important because as well as reducing our operating costs, it is helping to minimise the impact of our business on the environment.”

Mr Gudgeon added: “We’ve been very impressed with the service from Intercounty Truck & Van. Strong working partnerships with customers are crucial, but so, too, are our relationships with suppliers.

“The Dealer’s Sales Executive Ben Cooper demonstrated an impressive willingness to learn about our business and understand our needs, putting together a vehicle specification that is perfectly tailored to our operation. The support package, meanwhile, is both comprehensive and cost-effective.”

Established in 1947 and now in the third generation of family ownership, Cawleys specialises in collecting and, where possible, recycling commercial waste, including food and hazardous and sensitive materials. It runs a fleet of 16 trucks which handle a variety of wheeled bins and skips.

The company has a policy of aiming for zero waste to landfill, preferring instead to recycle – to this end it operates its own materials recycling, waste-to-energy and anaerobic digestion facilities.

The Mercedes-Benz Antos range is purpose-designed for heavy-duty, short-radius roles – rigid chassis at 18 and 26 tonnes gvw offer outstanding driving dynamics and manoeuvrability, economical, high-torque engines and smooth Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions which contribute to their exceptional levels of comfort.

Twitter: @cawleys


Ground-breaking Mercedes-Benz Arocs gritters are ready for winter’s worst in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Lincolnshire is renowned for being one of the flattest counties in Britain, yet its new

Mercedes-Benz gritters will be ensuring the roads remain open this winter in an area of hills and steep valleys.

The UK’s first 8×6 Arocs models will see action should temperatures plummet in the Lincolnshire Wolds, a designated Area of Natural Beauty with the highest ground – near the village of Normanby le Wold, at approximately 551 feet (168 metres) – in eastern England, between Yorkshire and Kent.

The four trucks were purchased by contract hire specialist Essential Fleet Services for operation by Lincolnshire County Council. Key to the order won by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, was the availability of a factory-fitted front drive axle, as well as the proven reliability of previous Mercedes-Benz vehicles and its own, high-quality back-up.

Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs
Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs

The latest arrivals are Arocs 4143 AKs with ClassicSpace M-Cabs, advanced 335 kW (428 hp) six-cylinder engines and smooth Mercedes PowerShift 12-speed automated transmissions. Their Danish-built Epoke gritting bodies were fitted and supplied, along with demountable Riko V snowploughs complete with Küper blades, by UK agent Scarab, of Tonbridge, Kent.

Mercedes-Benz Axors in 6×4 configuration delivered by Intercounty Truck & Van and leased through Essential Fleet Services form the backbone of Lincolnshire County Council’s fleet of 47 gritters. However, the new 8×6 Arocs have replaced 6×6 vehicles by another manufacturer – two are based at its Willingham Hall depot near Market Rasen, and one each at Horncastle and Manby.

The 32-tonne Mercedes-Benz chassis offers a gritter body with carrying capacity of 10 cubic metres. The vehicle can go further and stay out for longer than its 26-tonne predecessor before it has to return to base to reload.

Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs
Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs

Lincolnshire County Council has been at the forefront of the development of winter roads maintenance technology for many years. As with previous gritters, its new trucks are equipped with sprayers that pre-wet the dry salt with a brine and water solution just before it reaches the spinner, so it clings better to the surface and is not blown away. This allows the salt to melt snow and ice more quickly.

The authority is responsible for the upkeep of some 2,000 miles of roads across England’s second-largest county. David Davies, its Principal Maintenance Engineer and Fleet Manager, confirmed: “We have been running Mercedes-Benz vehicles for a number of years now, and they have proved to be very reliable.

“Three drive axles are essential for operation in the Lincolnshire Wolds, which are very susceptible to bad weather coming off the North Sea. The fact that our new Arocs were available direct from the factory as a complete, winterised package makes a big difference – Mercedes-Benz have met all our expectations.”
The Arocs are the subject of 10-year agreements with Essential Fleet Services, which operates from headquarters in Lincoln and supports 42 local authorities from a network of service centres nationwide. It owns a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks, some 300 of which are Mercedes-Benz rigids, among them a number of Econic refuse vehicles.

National Fleet Engineer John Dimbleby said the fact that the 8×6 Arocs chassis was available ex-factory negated any need to deal with a specialist, third-party converter. “The online build is very reassuring in terms of anticipated reliability and warranty cover, because once you start dealing with ‘add ons’ you’re just introducing another element that can go wrong,” he observed.

Four Essential Fleet Services technicians are on out-of-hours standby throughout the winter months, to provide breakdown cover for Lincolnshire’s winter maintenance fleet. “We need to be ready for the worst that winter can throw at us,” Mr Dimbleby continued. “Gritting chassis don’t cover high mileages but although they’re washed down after every run, they do spend time standing in wet, salty atmospheres that can play havoc, for example, with their electronics. Mercedes-Benz trucks are without doubt the most reliable on our fleet.”

Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs
Essentials Lincolnshire CC Arocs

The high-riding Arocs have been well received by their drivers, for whom Intercounty Truck & Van has delivered a programme of training.

Lincolnshire County Council’s David Davies said: “The Dealer’s Truck Sales Executive David Mitcham was extremely professional in helping us to specify these vehicles, offering alternative suggestions at various stages that we hadn’t thought of. It’s a very good package.”

And John Dimbleby of Essential Fleet Services added: “Intercounty support us very well when it comes to warranty claims and technical issues for which we might need diagnostics assistance. We’re very happy that these latest vehicles are perfectly tailored for the job.”
Twitter: @EssentialFleet
Twitter: @LincolnshireCC


Intercounty’s Carl crowned top Mercedes-Benz truck technician

Customers of Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van are assured of the highest standards of care from Technical Specialist Carl Nash, winner of a national competition staged by the manufacturer.

The 40-year-old saw off the challenge of front-line workshop professionals representing other members of its franchised UK Network, to claim the coveted 2016 Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year title.

Carl is based at Intercounty’s Peterborough branch but as the company’s ‘resident expert’ also assists the Service teams at its other workshops in Milton Keynes, Wellingborough and Toddington, in dealing with particularly difficult-to-diagnose or challenging issues.

His prize is a ‘dream ticket’ to the United States. Details of the trip are still being finalised but his itinerary is likely to take in visits to various operations owned by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, including the Detroit Diesel engine factory in the famed home city of the US automotive industry, the Daimler Trucks North America research and development centre in Portland, Oregon, and a state-of-the-art Freightliner dealership in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Carl is a Tae Kwon Do black belt who has studied the martial art since the age of 10 – and he certainly landed a knockout blow on his fellow contenders to win the Technician of the Year title. More than 100 technicians entered the competition, by submitting answers to a written theory test. The field was then gradually whittled down over two further rounds, until just six finalists remained.

These ‘last men standing’ faced off in a tough day of practical challenges at Mercedes-Benz UK’s Wentworth Park complex, near Barnsley. Competitors had to call upon all of their skills and knowledge of the manufacturer’s truck range and its high-tech diagnostic systems, to find a series of faults set up by experts from the Mercedes-Benz Truck Technical Team – they were judged not only on their ability to discover the problem and correctly identify its causes, but also on their use and understanding of the computerised fault-finding software.

Carl joined Intercounty Truck & Van 10 years ago as a vehicle technician, having worked previously for an independent garage that repaired cars and commercial vehicles. He has since taken full advantage of the opportunities provided by the Dealer and Mercedes-Benz that have allowed him to reach his current, highly-qualified position.

“It was a breath of fresh air to join an organisation with a proper, structured programme of training, and I’ve since seized every opportunity to improve my skills and develop my career,” said Carl, who lives in Peterborough with his wife and their two young sons.

He continued: “The final was intense, but also enjoyable and informative. Like my fellow contestants I went in determined to do my best, but also to keep an open mind and used it as another opportunity to learn and hone my skills still further. We all got along well but of course the atmosphere was quite competitive too – everyone wanted to win! The challenges were tough and I was surprised and delighted to emerge as the victor. Now I can’t wait to get on that plane to America.”

Truck Technical Team leader Mike Evans confirmed: “The standard of competition was remarkably high and all the entrants can be rightly proud of their performances. The margins were tight but when we assessed the six finalists across the whole day, Carl emerged as the clear winner.”

Peterborough Depot Manager Jason Booth commented: “As many satisfied customers can attest, Carl’s level of expertise is outstanding and he is a real asset to our workshop team. He thoroughly deserves his success.”

Carl’s trophy was presented by Sam Whittaker, Director Customer Services & Operations Mercedes-Benz and FUSO Trucks, who said: “In winning the accolade of Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year Carl has shown a great level of knowledge and understanding of our products and our brand.

“Over a series of theoretical and practical tests he and his fellow finalists demonstrated an extremely high level of technical skill. We are incredibly proud to know this exacting standard of work is carried out daily within our dealerships, to help keep our customers’ vehicles working at peak performance.”


For more information, or to request bigger/higher-res image files, please contact:

Steve Warren or John Ripley

Impact Communications, 01926 842126

Steve: 07770 470251,

John: 07771 484595,


Going the Extra Mile at HTC Oxford

Marcus Kemp, Key accounts Manager at HTC, Travelled up to the Outer Hebrides with his wife to hand over a new DAF CF. Here he tells us about his experience:

A vehicle sale isn’t complete until you have delivered the truck and demonstrated all the new features. So when DAF and HTC were nominated to supply new trucks to Grafton Merchanting (including Buildbase) for the first time in a number of years, it was only appropriate to do likewise. As the orders started rolling in, all regular names you would expect started rolling in – Manchester, Milton Keynes and then a place called Stornoway. So after a search on the internet, a small town in the Outer Hebrides was located. Another search revealed it was over 600 miles from HTC Oxford where the PDI’s were being completed, close to Grafton’s HQ which is also in Oxford. After initial scepticism that you could actually travel 600 miles in the UK from Oxford, a plan was hatched. Arrange a delivery company to do the heavy mileage, but to save duplication costs, the picturesque journey across the highlands needed to be handled by the dedicated Salesman!

grafton2Plan A – a two day journey for the truck to Norscot DAF in Inverness, and myself and my wife (I needed a navigator after all) would fly up and drive across the top of Scotland to Ullapool, not the sort of place you would pass through, for the 2 and a half hour ferry crossing. With very clever planning, it was decided that a Saturday morning handover would suit everyone best, and I could extend this work’s trip to a weekend getaway. Ferry booked, hotel booked, and return flights via Glasgow back to Birmingham also booked.

So, at 5:30am on Friday the 12th August, the experience began… (after seeing the truck away from Oxford on the 10th). As luck would have it, the flight to Inverness was on a beautiful day with Great views across the Scottish Highlands. After a short taxi ride to the dealer, there was the truck ready for the last leg of the journey. Being a regular traveller on the stop start rat runs on the M40 and A34, the remoteA835 turned out to be far more pleasurable… These drivers up in Scotland do have it easy… With some cloud and showers blowing in, we even managed to see rainbows on the road over the picturesque Loch Glascarnoch.

Next stop, the beautiful little village of Ullapool and the ferry for Stornoway, afternoon tea on the harbour front, a 10 minute tour of the village and a short wait for the twice daily ferry. As the ferry pulled away from the Scottish mainland, the views back across the Highlands of Scotland were beautiful, but unfortunately that was the last we would see of blue sky as rain was waiting for us. It was only 8pm when we arrived in Stornoway, but the rain and cloud had taken control and as the ferry door opened, the beautiful summer’s day was a distant memory. The journey to the hotel was all of 5 minutes, despite having to drive around the roundabout twice to find the right exit! Luckily we found a spare coach slot so the journey was complete. The final leg to the Buildbase branch, all of a 2 minute drive could wait until the morning.

grafton3After a fresh, early morning walk around the town, was the journey to the branch and the completion of an enjoyable experience. The branch was a little smaller than you might find in most of our cities and as I pulled up, the branch staff were still negotiating parking space in the wee terraced street (added a little Scottish language there!).

As it turned out the regular driver wasn’t available on that Saturday, so after introductions and a brief tour around the latest state-of-the-art Euro 6 truck, the vehicle was parked up for a Monday morning handover… Luckily I had booked hotel rooms for the weekend and my tour of one of the most remote parts of our island could begin. Anybody that follows the news may have seen the little island was headline news… An offshore drilling rig had come adrift and run aground on one of the beautiful beaches. The police had set up an exclusion zone around the area so that part of the tour was off-limits.

After an exhausting weekend checking out the terrain to ensure suitability for the new truck, and a little local liquid refreshment, it was time to hand the vehicle over. For the record, Lewis and Harris don’t have a whisky but they do have a pleasant Harris gin! Lewis and Harris being one Island, Harris in the south and very hilly, Lewis being much flatter.

I think this was the first new truck they had had in many a year (they didn’t have the 06 from new) and on Monday morning, they were very keen and early for the handover.

The vehicle chosen was a CF310 FAN with a PX engine, SB Components, dropside body with a Hiab rear mounted crane. Initial thoughts were that the truck was rather large for the Island, but from my local research, the main road North to South on the Island was far better that some of the roads you find in rural Oxfordshire. The rear steer on the FAN was not new to them, but was a must on some of the smaller winding roads at the back of the Island. Adblue wasn’t new to them, they had read about it in a book! They were very impressed with the lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control (we hadn’t specified predictive!), which may not have been a feature they would have considered. Grafton’s very sensibly have a pan UK specification, so they can move vehicles around as business demands.

grafton4It was the first time they had experienced the AStronic gearbox, and once they understood how best to drive the vehicle, especially with the hill start aid, they were very pleased. A short drive around Stronoway put theory into practice and any concerns were long gone. Regeneration was explained and with fair wind shouldn’t be a problem as they do a twice weekly trip down to Harris (I did explain the difference earlier!), giving the system a chance to clean itself.

Final instruction covered the additional safety systems that had been installed with DAF engineering help – secondary speed limiter linked to incorrect or non-stowage of landing legs for example. We had left the 5 minute cut out installed, returned to 12 minutes, so brief non-activity of the crane didn’t mean the engine wouldn’t cut out. So after an enjoyable couple of hours with drivers that appreciated the time and opportunity to check out the new technology, it was time to start the journey home…
For those of you used to international jet-setting, Stornoway International airport check-in commences ¾ hour before departure, and the lady selling refreshments in the main concourse, was also the same lady selling refreshments in departure. Again we were blessed with beautiful skies and a wonderful view of Sky, Ben Nevis in the small twin propeller engine plane. Then back to reality in Glasgow, lots of people rushing around and a mobile phone signal again. Best start planning the next handover… I do recall Shetland is next on the list…

In reality, Corby, Ayelsbury and Sandy were next, and to be fair, these drivers were just as appreciative of their handover!


FIAT Professional renew Motocross star sponsorship

On the day of Tony Cairoli’s birthday, 23rd September, the Fiat Professional brand celebrates the multiple World Motocross Champion by announcing their sponsorship will run until 2018. The Sicilian pilot will be available in Hannover, on 28th September, for all fans who would like to meet him in person; he will be a guest of the Fiat Professional stand in the most important European Trade Show scheduled from 22 to 29 September in the German city.

This is a prestigious partnership that is based on shared values like passion, determination and dynamism. These are the winning ingredients driving the FCA brand dedicated to commercial vehicles forward in 2016, on the strength of great new products, an even more customer oriented approach and the clear will to open new roads in the global market.

An icon of Italian sport, Tony Cairoli stated: “I am Italian and Fiat Professional represents Italian excellence in the world of work and professional transportation. Its robust, ergonomic and modernly designed vehicles perfectly fit the requirements of people who need to work, transport and move continuously, like we do in Motocross, travelling to racetracks all over the world, often in extreme conditions, during the racing season. I am thrilled to represent a brand like Fiat Professional, and to drive my new Fullback to go training on racetracks with my motorcycle every day.

Furthermore, the Fiat Professional brand will be Presenting Sponsor in the “Motocross of Nations 2016” race, where Tony Cairoli will lead the Italian squad on 24 and 25 September on the Maggiora (Novara) circuit. Excitement will certainly be palpable on this very selective track, where 38 national 3-pilot squads will race in each of their respective classes: MXGP, MX2 and Open.

It is the FIM Motocross World Championship MXGP – where Fiat Professional is Official Sponsor and was also Title Sponsor in the 2016 Belgian, Italian and British Championship races – that crowned Cairoli eight-time World Champion, and runner up with 647 points this year, despite a difficult start due to a serious injury at the beginning of the year.

Determination and character are also the features of the unstoppable Fullback, the Fiat Professional pick up that was official vehicle of this exciting World Championship, showing its quality configurations, sizes and engines at each race. The all-wheel drive can also tackle any terrain, just like a motocross bike.

Justin Seal, Sales Director of HTC Van Centre said “I’ve always been a fan of Motocross and shows off the strength and reliability of the New Fiat Fullback.” He added “with the high specification and luxurious cabin experience, we all believe it will always be a winner!”


Dealer of the Year Award

West Pennine Trucks, which has depots in Middleton, Trafford Park, Oswestry, Telford and Knighton, counts high-pro le hauliers, supermarkets, rental companies and pharmaceutical rms among its customers.

MD Steve Howard says: “The contest highlights the work done in the depot every day. It also gives a competitive edge to the organisation and develops the way we work in the workshop, which is always very productive. Excellent MoT rst-time pass rates and customer satisfaction are always top priorities for us.”

“It’s about daily outstanding service, not just in sales and servicing but also in areas like answering the phone and dealing with queries”

DotY points are awarded based on achieving service quality improvement targets. A total of 1,000 points are

In the family

awarded against six key standards: customer satisfaction index; Scania assistance service; dealer operating standards; MoT failure rate; quality control procedure; service scheduling. Feedback from a customer service index survey also contributes to a depot’s overall score.

“Our performance is particularly pleasing because it is so customer focused,” says Howard. “It’s about daily outstanding service, not just in sales and servicing but also in areas like answering the phone and dealing with queries. We pride ourselves on doing it well for the customer every time.”

Parts solution

West Pennine Trucks has recently set up a vehicle- related services all-makes truck and trailer parts operation at its Trafford Park site. It will offer product lines for a variety of vehicles, trailers, tail-lifts and bodies. These include braking, ltration, transmission, steering and suspension, lighting, rotating electrics, engine parts, exhausts, tools, panels, lubricants and a range of workshop consumables.

Aftersales director Richard Gilliland says: “Providing extensive coverage across the Greater Manchester area, Peak District, Staffordshire and
Shropshire areas we aim to deliver

an unrivalled off-the-shelf parts solution for all makes of trucks and trailers to transport operators and repairers, becoming their comprehensive commercial parts one-stop-shop factor.”


Montgomery Distribution Limited receives Platinum Award

Montgomery Distribution Limited, part of Europe’s largest and fastest growing palletised freight network Palletways, has received a coveted Platinum Club Award in recognition of its outstanding performance.
The industry awards, now in their third year, are organised by Palletways to recognise operational excellence and first class levels of service within its UK network.

Ian Anderson, Director & General Manager said: “We’re delighted that the hard work and enterprise of our business has been recognised by the UK market leader in palletised freight. Our staff work very hard to deliver high levels of customer service and play their part in making both our own and the Palletways UK business a success story.

“The Platinum Club Award is highly regarded amongst the hundred-plus Palletways members. The award is high achievement for everyone at Montgomery Distribution.”

Luis Zubialde, managing director at Palletways (UK) Ltd, added: “We would like to congratulate Montgomery Distribution for being one of the top performers in our UK network.

“Providing customers with a fast, reliable and efficient service is our top priority, and the Platinum Club Awards demonstrate the strong partnership between our members and Palletways to continue to deliver service excellence.

“This is our chance to thank and reward our members for their work over the last twelve months.”

Montgomery Distribution joins an elite group of over 20 UK transport companies who have demonstrated the highest levels of performance and received the award.

Palletways consists of 400 depots across Europe of which over 100 are in the UK. Palletways handles more than 23,000 pallets daily across the UK. One in every four pallets handled by palletised freight networks in the UK is distributed by Palletways.


Montgomery welcomes apprentices to their training academy

IMG_0120 (2)
Montgomery Transport Group
Pictured in the photo are Jack, Sam, Kevin and Edward alongside Preston driver trainer Jimmy Foster

Montgomery Transport Group are absolutely delighted to welcome to our team the first group of apprentices to our Training Academy which started in Preston on Monday 23rd May. This is a new and exciting project to help bring a new generation of younger people into our business, and to help assist with the problems the industry has due to the national shortfall of Driver’s and traffic operators.

We wish Jack, Sam, Kevin and Edward every success with their training with us and will provide them all with as much support and assistance as possible as they commence their training. The next intake of apprentices will be towards the end of June and the project will continue in the coming months and years with planned expansion to other locations.