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Mercedes-Benz Vans smooth the way for Tripod Crest

When it comes to light commercial vehicles, road surface solutions specialist Tripod Crest likes to keep it in the Mercedes-Benz family.

The Northampton-based company runs a fleet of 100 vans, all but a handful of which wear three-pointed stars. The line-up includes examples from all three core model lines – Citan, Vito and Sprinter – which together comprise the award-winning Mercedes-Benz Vans range.

Supplied by Wellingborough Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, most are panel vans and crew vans with second rows of seats. The majority of these vehicles have undergone conversion to welfare specification by Body & Trailer Services, also of Northampton, and provide a welcome refuge for Tripod Crest’s workers taking breaks while out on site.

The latest additions to the fleet include a 3.5-tonne Sprinter 313 CDI chassis cab with dropside body, also by Body & Trailer Services, which is now on general materials and tool carrying duties. It is the first time Tripod Crest has purchased a new dropsider, the company having preferred previously to buy pre-owned examples of this type of vehicle.

Other recent arrivals include another five Sprinter 313 CDI crew vans fitted out to Tripod Crest’s latest welfare specification. Each has two beds, a kitchen and storage area with sink and microwave oven, and a drying cupboard for wet clothes. In April the company took delivery of seven Citan 109 CDI small vans, for use primarily on tarmac sites.

All of these welfare vehicles are additionally equipped with air conditioning and night heaters, as well as extra ventilation, interior lighting and electrical points.

Tripod Crest maintains its commercial vehicles in-house – Workshop Manager Craig Baker is also responsible for specifying and ordering its vans. “Our lads can potentially be out on site all week, so we endeavour to make life as comfortable as possible for them,” he said.

“We choose Mercedes-Benz vans for their all-round quality and outstanding reliability, while the fuel economy is pretty good too – we’re getting up to 40 mpg from the Citans.

“Safety is another key priority, as we’re very aware of our Duty of Care obligations not only to our own employees, but also to other road users. We take great comfort, therefore, from knowing they’re equipped with a market-leading array of standard-fit active and passive features, to which we add cameras, proximity sensors and audible reversing warnings.”

Mr Baker added: “Intercounty Truck & Van’s sales service is very good, as is its aftercare back-up; although we maintain the vehicles in our own workshop, the dealer will make two parts deliveries per day if we need them, and will get them here very quickly if we’ve an urgent requirement.”

Established in 1982 as a supplier of skilled labour and machinery to the road surfacing industry, Tripod Crest Surfacing Solutions now operates on a nationwide basis, with operatives skilled at working on anything from motorways, trunk roads and airfields, to housing estate roads, private car parks and footpaths.

Tripod Crest Planing was established as a separate division in 1993 and operates a full range of machines, and in 2001 the Group acquired F&T Goodwin, a road contractor with an impeccable reputation built up over 40 years. Over the four years since, Tripod Crest has strengthened the former management team and retained the entire workforce, while the business has continued to trade under its previous name.

www.tripodcrest.co.uk

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Mercedes-Benz Actros is miller’s mpg ‘raising agent’

The first Mercedes-Benz Actros to wear the eye-catching livery of flour miller and distributor Whitworth Bros has certainly risen to the occasion, delivering outstanding fuel efficiency and winning a resounding ‘thumbs up’ from drivers.

So impressed is the Wellingborough-based operator that it recently set a second, identical unit on the road, while supplying Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van will grab another slice of the fleet when it delivers two more Actros later this year.

The tractors now in service are both 2545 models with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and 330 kW (450 hp) straight-six engines driving through smooth Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. They make nationwide bulk deliveries of bagged, palletised flour on curtainside trailers.

Intercounty Truck & Van has also supplied Whitworth Bros with a 26-tonne Antos 2536 with uprated, 9.0-tonne front axle, which entered service a year ago, and a new, 7.5-tonne FUSO Canter 7C18 – Mercedes-Benz Dealers are additionally responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range in the UK. Both rigids have curtainside bodies by Kurt Hobbs Coachworks, of Northampton, and are on multi-drop work.

The two vehicles scheduled for delivery in October will also operate from Whitbros Bros’s Wellingborough site, and be used to deliver flour in tipping powder tank trailers to customers nationwide. Both will be 2445 StreamSpace variants with small-wheeled mid-lift axles which, as well as saving weight, will free up extra space on the chassis to accommodate Gardner Denver’s blowing equipment.

Established in 1886, Whitworth Bros remains a traditional family business with traditional values, but sets its sights firmly on the future and invests heavily in cutting-edge technology, so that its mills are among the most advanced in the world.

The company runs a mixed-marque fleet of approximately 70 trucks, the vast majority of which are tractor units. Its first Mercedes-Benz vehicle, an Axor tractor, was in service from 2010-2013, when it reached the end of its contract. It was, said Regional Distribution Manager Colin Spurrier, “The most reliable vehicle on the fleet.”

Whitworth Bros commissioned its first Actros, a Euro 5 model, in October 2014. “That truck has been a great success,” confirmed Mr Spurrier. “At around 9 mpg the fuel returns are as good as, if not better, than anything else on the fleet.

“Just as importantly, given the company’s commitment to retaining our best staff, driver feedback on the Actros has also been exceptionally positive – they really appreciate the vehicle’s comfortable, well laid out cab.”

Whitworth Bros’s latest trucks are the subject of CharterWay contract hire agreements from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, under which inspections and servicing are being undertaken by Intercounty Truck & Van’s factory-trained technicians.

“We are a very image-conscious company and like to keep the fleet looking smart – our new Mercedes-Benz vehicles have already attracted lots of compliments from customers and others who’ve seen them on the road,” added Colin Spurrier.

“All of our trucks are contract-hired because as well as offering the predictable costs that allow us to budget with confidence, this acquisition method means we get new vehicles every five years.”

www.whitworthbros.ltd.co.uk

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Intercounty opens high-profile Mercedes-Benz dealership in Boston

Intercounty Truck & Van has formally opened the latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz 24-hour Commercial Vehicle Dealer Network, a magnificent new facility on the outskirts of Boston, Lincolnshire.

The multi-million pound investment underlines the company’s determination to provide customers with an industry-leading level of service, as well as its long-term commitment to the brand it represents.

Intercounty sells and supports the award-winning Mercedes-Benz truck and van ranges, along with FUSO Canter light trucks. The new dealership is ideally located on a three-acre site at Old Station Yard, Sutterton, on the junction of the busy A16 and A17.

At its heart is a comprehensively equipped workshop which is open around-the-clock, seven days a week, and supported by a fully stocked parts department. An Authorised Testing Facility is now being used by inspectors from the Driver & Vehicle Services Agency to carry out truck MoT tests, while other after sales services offered include van MoTs, tachograph and speed limiter installations and calibrations, and chassis pressure washing.

Visitors are greeted in a smart reception area, with sales and administration staff working from comfortable office accommodation above. The new facility is also the base for Intercounty’s first dedicated Used Truck Centre – pre-owned vehicles offered for sale are on display at the entrance to the site, so highly visible to passing traffic.

The dealership’s opening marks the fulfilment of a long-held dream for Depot Manager Paul Slater and his 30-strong team, who were struggling for space at their previous home in the town. Intercounty Truck & Van is now looking to recruit additional members of staff to handle the anticipated increase in business volumes at Boston.

Scores of established and prospective customers attended a launch event last week (8th July), along with senior representatives of the manufacturer. “We had a fantastic day and the feedback from operators was hugely encouraging,” declared Dealer Principal Steve Shakespeare.

“This development represents a massive shot in the arm for locally-based truck and van operators, as well as for members of the company team who were selling record numbers of labour hours in the run-up to the move, despite having to work in challenging conditions.”

Mercedes-Benz Trucks Managing Director Mike Belk confirmed: “In terms of visibility and presence, as well as capability, this is exactly the kind of landmark facility that we are encouraging our Dealer partners to develop. It’s a very impressive building but importantly the site also has plenty of space in which to park and move vehicles in and out.”

Mike added: “Many Mercedes-Benz customers operate on a nationwide basis and we’re committed to ensuring they receive a consistently high level of service, wherever their vehicles may end up. First class facilities are crucial but so, too, are people, and in this respect Intercounty is also up there with the best when it comes to supporting our apprenticeship and other staff development programmes.”

High-profile grower Staples Vegetables, of Boston, took delivery this week of six new Actros 2545 BigSpace tractor units – 28 Actros are already in service and this latest order completes the company’s transition to an all Mercedes-Benz operation. Transport Manager Dave Baker said: “We wouldn’t be making these investments if we weren’t confident we were going to get the back-up from Intercounty. Its new dealership is outstanding.”

Local haulier Benton Brothers runs a fleet of 42 Actros. Its Workshop Manager Benny Ashton observed: “The area’s been waiting for this development for a long time and I’m delighted for Intercounty’s lads. The new ATF and tachograph facilities will be perfect for us.”

Meanwhile, Andrew and Helen Wrisdale, proprietors of Ludborough-based Louth Potato Co, have just purchased two new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans to work alongside their three trucks – two 18-tonners and a 27-year-old 7.5-tonner – which also wear three-pointed stars. “We’ve been using a local independent to maintain our vehicles but I’m now looking for an improved service and this impressive new dealership ticks all the boxes,” enthused Mr Wrisdale.

Part of the Ballyvesey Holdings Group, Intercounty Truck & Van has served Mercedes-Benz and FUSO customers from headquarters in Wellingborough and other dealerships in Milton Keynes and Peterborough, since its appointment by the manufacturer in 2003. The company opened a workshop in Toddington, Bedfordshire, in 2009, and was awarded its Lincolnshire franchise in 2012.

The focus now switches to Lincoln, where Intercounty is proposing to move to new, larger premises with six workshop bays – twice the number at its current base in the city – before the end of the year.

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Mercedes-Benz Citan is the perfect ingredient for Millie’s

Wellingborough-based Millie’s Café has hit upon the recipe for fuel-saving success in the shape of a pair of new Mercedes-Benz Vans.

So impressed is owner Bryan McCreery with his new Citan 109 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Compacts that he has already returned to Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van with an order for a third, identical vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz BlueEFFICIENCY models come as standard with a raft of measures intelligently combined to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon emissions. These include the Eco Start/Stop system which automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary, to prevent unnecessary and wasteful idling.

“Intercounty Truck & Van is a customer for which we deliver staff lunches and provide corporate catering services,” explained Mr McCreery. “When we set up our business in 2006 Mercedes-Benz did not offer a van that was the right size for our needs, but the Citan is perfect. We chose the Compact version as it offers enough space for our deliveries but doesn’t tempt our drivers to load up with more than they can sell!”

Launched in 2013 the Citan is the smallest van ever to wear a three-pointed star. “It’s smart, safe and easy to drive, while the fuel economy is superb,” said Mr McCreery.

“Although they are a similar size, the Citans are returning almost double the mpg of our previous vehicles. They’re also well-liked by our staff while the Mercedes-Benz badge helps to get us noticed – business has shot up by around 20% in the areas where they are working.”

As well as its mobile delivery fleet of five vans which serve customers across Northamptonshire, Millie’s runs a 40-seater café on the same Finedon Road Industrial Estate as Intercounty Truck & Van’s headquarters.

www.milliessandwiches.com

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Williams Transport reaps the mpg benefit with Mercedes-Benz Actros

A ‘seed’ vehicle, planted in the fleet of Williams Transport by Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, bore fruit when the Cambridgeshire-based operator returned six months later with an order for a further 10 identical tractor units.

Key to its decision was the Actros 2545’s impressive fuel-efficiency. “That first truck averaged 8.25 mpg,” said Director Andy Williams. “This may not sound a lot but in our job it’s very good indeed, and a full mile per gallon better than the truck it replaced.”

Williams Transport has headquarters in Huntingdon and its new Actros are now hard at work hauling walking floor trailers on waste recycling contracts. All have flat-floored BigSpace cabs and are powered by 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines, which drive through smooth Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.

Mr Williams recalled: “Intercounty’s sales executive Paul Hind persuaded us to try a Euro VI Actros, and we could see straight away that the fuel returns were markedly better than our average. As well as impressing in terms of fuel efficiency, the truck was also well liked by its driver.

“What’s more, the Actros looked great and we could see that the Mercedes-Benz build quality was extremely high, while Intercounty Truck & Van gave us all the assurances we needed about the quality of its back-up; we’ve since met several of its Directors and the whole team is clearly very professional. Although we hadn’t dealt with them before starting this process, we were more than happy to return with an order for a further 10 units.”

The Actros have joined a fleet of 65 trucks, the majority of them tractor units. They work across the South-East, and frequently in London where, in addition to constant stopping and starting in heavy traffic, they employ engine-driven PTOs to eject their loads of recyclable waste. Much of this is converted into combustible fuel for use in industrial applications.

“Our drivers are typically out for four or five nights a week so we like to give them comfortable, high-quality vehicles – we also specified factory-fitted fridges in the cabs,” concluded Mr Williams.

As well as excelling in terms of fuel efficiency, operating costs and driver comfort, the Mercedes-Benz Actros leads the field in terms of safety. Its standard-fit armoury of active and passive equipment includes an electropneumatic brake system (EPB) incorporating anti-lock braking (ABS) and anti-slip regulation (ASR), which brakes each wheel individually to make the most of available grip and minimise stopping distances.

EPB includes secondary braking – whether by engine brake or retarder – to further improve safety and reduce wear, while in the event of emergency braking the system automatically activates the hazard warning lights to warn following traffic, winning vital extra seconds that could help to prevent an accident. Other standard safety features include Stability Control Assist, a rain and light sensor and a seat-belt monitor.

www.williams-transport.co.uk

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Mercedes Benz for Star Platforms

Bedfordshire based Star Platforms have just taken delivery of a new Mercedes-Benz Antos 2533. The sale is a prime example of collaboration between companies within the Ballyvesey Holdings group.

The vehicle was supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van Ltd with the body work prepared and built by their sister company Leading trailer manufacturer Montracon Ltd, cross rail specification by Sapphire Vehicle Services and the contract hire provided by another sister company, Centurion Truck Rental.

Star Platforms is an independent company owned and operated by a team with many years of experience in the powered access industry.

Learn more about Intercounty Truck & Van Ltd

Read more news here

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Fit-for-purpose Mercedes-Benz Arocs is an mpg winner for GS Hughes

Lincoln-based GS Hughes is running its first Mercedes-Benz tippers for at least 15 years – and the dozen new eight-wheelers from the muscular, Euro VI Arocs range have been quick to impress.

Supplied by city Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, the Arocs 3240s are powered by 290 kW (394 hp) straight-six engines, driving through smooth-shifting Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions, and are fitted with steel Thompsons bodies. They have made such an impact that the operator has already returned with a second order for five more, identical vehicles.

GS Hughes runs quarries in Lincoln and Grantham and supplies a range of stone and aggregates. It also has waste washing facilities, for recycling sand and gravel, and provides muckaway services to construction and civil engineering contractors.

The new 32-tonners have joined a mixed fleet of 30 six- and eight-wheeled tippers. “Mercedes-Benz has always made good vehicles but for many years it didn’t offer a model that we felt was suited to our kind of work,” observed Transport Manager John Barker.

“Not any more though. Before purchasing these vehicles we carried out a lot of research, which included speaking to other operators in our sector who were already running Arocs chassis. Their unanimous verdict was that the new truck is well-built, reliable, efficient and definitely fit for purpose.

“Intercounty Truck & Van sales executive Stuart Smiles brought a demonstrator over for us to look at, and it was immediately obvious that a lot of thought had gone into its design. The ride height and the way that damage-prone items are positioned out of harm’s way help to make this a vehicle that is completely at home in quarries and on construction sites.”

Mr Barker continued: “Our new Arocs are already living up to their promise and performing very well, with fuel efficiency another pleasing factor. Our work is so varied that comparing one vehicle against another is quite meaningless, but these Mercedes-Benz trucks are clearly more economical than our other trucks, and by a clear margin.

“Intercounty’s service is excellent too – we maintain our own vehicles in-house but the dealer is supporting our workshop with regular deliveries of parts, which are also keenly priced compared to the competition.”

The Euro VI Arocs range comprises tractors and four-, six- and eight-wheeled rigids, with gross weights from 18 to 250 tonnes. All combine previously unseen levels of performance and efficiency with state-of-the-art Euro VI engines, driving through Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions, which offer mpg savings of up to 5% compared to equivalent, outgoing models.

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Mercedes-Benz Wins 2015 Safety Award

We’re proud to announce that Mercedes-Benz has just been awarded the What Van? 2015 Safety Award for the fourth consecutive year. This is largely down to the abundance of new innovative safety features that are being introduced in the new 2015 Sprinter.

Mercedes-Benz has consistently been committed to safety and preventing accidents and many of the new technologies are “firsts” for the van industry. All of these advanced safety applications work together and combine to create an overall safer, more stable, and more enjoyable driving experience. A few of these ground-breaking features include:

Blind Spot Assist*: Already introduced with Trucks, Blind Spot Assist will be a feature in the new Sprinter. Its creation came about to reduce the risk of collisions posed to cyclists and other vulnerable road users. It helps drivers to monitor areas which are difficult for them to see by warning the driver of detected dangers and preventing accidents by specific braking intervention. The system indicates using a red triangle in the exterior mirror that lights up when cars or motorcycles are located in the blind spot.

Crosswind Assist: As part of the electronic Stability Program, Crosswind Assist prevents a van from being blown into an adjacent lane and/or into the path of another vehicle.

Active Lane Keeping Assist*: Radar sensors monitor the traffic around the vehicle, while a camera checks whether you are drifting out of your lane or driving over broken or continuous road markings. The system immediately makes you aware of the risk of collision by pulsating vibrations through the steering wheel and also intervenes via ESP® with lane-correcting brake application on one side of the vehicle.

Highbeam Assist*: This prevents you from dazzling other drivers at night.

Collision Prevention Assist: Yet another safety device worthy of celebration is Collision Prevention Assist. The radar-based system continuously monitors the distance from the vehicle ahead, alerting the driver when there is a danger of a collision and optimising the braking power according to the remaining distance.

Attention Assist: This system kicks in at speeds above 50mph. It has the ability to gauge the driver’s alertness through a variety of sensors that detect inconsistent behaviour that could be caused by fatigue on a long journey.

Active Parking Assist: As its name would suggest, Active Parking Assist will steer you into a parking space.

*first-time applications in the van segment

Clearly, meticulous planning, thought, and engineering have gone in to the new Sprinter, and across the Mercedes-Benz van range. It’s a welcome Award from What Van? and reiterates the Mercedes-Benz commitment to road safety and innovation.

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Sapphire Vehicle Services

Ballyvesey Holdings are pleased to announce that Intercounty Vehicle Contracts has changed its trading name effective from 12th January 2015 to Sapphire Vehicle Services Limited, company registration and VAT number remain the same.

The reason for this change is the name was too close to its sister company Intercounty Truck and Van causing invoicing problems/confusion for suppliers and customers.

The business has made further change by relocating its head office from Wellingborough to Little Wigston and incorporated a dedicated accounting function at this facility separate to the previous combined solution at Wellingborough.  Its core business function will remain workshop Management and occupation of customer facilities however the change in name has enabled its business activities to diversify further into areas of opportunity.

The business which commenced trading in 2010 has grown in managing workshops supporting key clients such as Sainsbury, Superdrug, Montgomery, Birds, Next, Martin Brower, Geopost and the latest was Ceva logistics which will deliver a dedicated support infrastructure to a fleet of MAN’s and 800 + trailers.  A new dedicated web site for the business is now fully operational at www.sapphirevs.com.

For more information please visit www.sapphirevs.com

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IAA Commercial Vehicle Show

Above: Customers of Intercounty Truck & Van and Midlands Truck and Van are joined by company Directors and Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK – Michael Kamper, to take in the sights at the 2014 IAA in Hannover.

Intercounty Truck & Van joined thousands of visitors at the 2014, IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover; the world’s largest leading trade fair for mobility, transportation and logistics. In the 65th year of running the IAA provided, once again, a unique experience for operators with many highlights and innovations on display. The show is renowned for being the ultimate meeting place where global attendees get to interact with the experts and discuss the features of the exhibited ranges, whilst learning about the latest trend demands.

On 30th September – 2nd October, Intercounty’s Managing Director, Steve Shakespeare and Truck Sales Director, Stephen James hosted 5 customers whose own fleets are dependent on having the best logistics solutions to stay ahead of the game. This ultimately comes down to having the right fleet that they can rely upon with vehicles that set the standard, something that Mercedes-Benz have mastered with their current range.

The Daimler Trucks display at this year’s IAA continued to set standards and their stands covering halls 14 and 15 showcased what can only be described as the most comprehensive range of cutting edge commercial vehicles. With a vast array of models, some from today, some from tomorrow, it’s fair to say that the display stole the show.

Key highlights included numerous ‘A team’ trucks – Atego, Antos, Actros and Arocs, a natural gas powered econic and an SLT heavy haulage tractor.

Three of the biggest crowd pullers to the stand were:

The Future Truck of 2025, an aerodynamic driverless truck which uses pulsating LED’s instead of headlights and camera’s instead of mirrors, taking advantage of changes in future truck cab length legislation.

The impressive Actros Fuel Challenger, which is storming the market with its 99% success rate in 300 head-to-head fuel trials.

Optimus Prime – a Detroit diesel powered Western Star 5700 which featured in the film Transformer: Age of Extinction.


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Mercedes-Benz Citan

Catering specialist cooks up a service winner with Mercedes-Benz Citan

Commercial kitchen specialist Advance Catering Equipment has entrusted its hard-earned reputation for top-quality Aftersales support to a new fleet of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

The company, which has headquarters in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, is now running 20 new Citan 109 CDi’s, which are supplied by Wellingborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van.

The first vehicles to wear Advance Catering Equipment’s smart new livery, they have been assigned to its team of field-based engineers, who undertake routine preventative maintenance and emergency repairs for customers nationwide. The van’s Extra-long bodies are fitted with purpose-designed Edstrom racking systems and each carries a comprehensive stock of spare parts.

Founded more than three decades ago, Advance Catering Equipment is part of the Advance Group, a leading expert in kitchen design, project and asset management for foodservice operators.

The company, which pioneered the introduction of the first microwave ovens into commercial kitchens, embarked on a major vehicle evaluation programme last summer, and trialled vehicles from several manufacturers.

Head of Commercial Operations Daniel Hewitt explains: “We were undergoing a rebranding process and wanted to ensure that our vans best reflected the quality of our service, as well as the premium brand values of our business.

“Fuel efficiency was crucial, so we only considered vehicles capable of more than 50 mpg. We also focused on driver comfort, because our engineers spend most of their working day at the wheel, and safety. Finally, we were looking for a value for money rental and maintenance package.

“After careful consideration of all the alternatives, and having taken full account of our engineer’s views, we came down strongly in favour of the Mercedes-Benz Citan.”

Powered by advanced 90 hp engines that offer outstanding economy of up to 61.4 mpg, Advance Catering Equipment’s new vans are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and will be serviced by the most conveniently located official dealers.

“We’re really happy with our Citan’s,” Mr Hewitt continues: “The Extra-long version is the ideal size for our operation and driver feedback has been resoundingly positive – the guys certainly like having vehicles with the three-pointed stars on the front. Our new vans also help to convey a quality image of our company, and really look the part when they arrive at a customer’s premises.

“The contract hire deal, meanwhile, is competitively priced and gives us the peace of mind that comes from knowing our vehicles are being properly maintained within the manufacturer’s dealer network. As costs are fixed we can also budget with confidence, knowing there are no nasty surprises around the corner.”

And he adds: “Intercounty Truck & Van’s service has been very good as well. Communication with van sales executive Tony Carter was excellent throughout the commissioning phase, with the dealer applying our decals and liaising with the racking supplier to ensure timely deliveries of its systems. We’ve been fitting the racking ourselves – I only wish now, that we’d commissioned Intercounty to undertake this job as well.”

www.advancegroupuk.com

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Mercedes-Benz Actros off to flyer in MPG Challenge

The Mercedes-Benz Actros has made a winning start to a bold new initiative designed to prove beyond all doubt that as well as being the smartest, most reliable and driver-friendly truck on the road, it’s a champion at the pumps too.

The Fuel Challenger programme invites operators to allow an Actros demonstrator to go head to head with one of their own vehicles, then measure the diesel consumption of both side by side. One month in and the Mercedes-Benz contender has already won nine of its first 10 challenges – the ‘defeat’ was only by a narrow margin and the truck with the three-pointed star was carrying a full six tonnes more than its rival!

The Fuel Challenger tractor units all wear a highly visible and very distinctive white and green livery, and all are fitted with Daimler FleetBoard telematics equipment that is providing mercilessly accurate appraisals of their fuel consumption during the trials.

There are five Fuel Challenger vehicles, all Actros 2545 models with 330 kW (449 hp) six-cylinder engines and aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs. Three are flat-floored, 2.5 metre-wide variants, the other two 2.3 metre versions with 170 mm engine humps.

Director National Sales Mercedes-Benz and FUSO Trucks, Vincente Connolly, declares: “Fuel Challenger might seem like a strategy fraught with risk but we have complete faith in our products. Time and time again, customers who are already running Actros tell us that our vehicles beat those from the competition by a comfortable margin.

“Now, with our Fuel Challenger tractors already on the road, more operators across the country are taking the ‘no-risk’ opportunity to find out by just how much our trucks can reduce their fuel bills and how our Dealer network can add value to their businesses.”

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Staples

Staples reaps savings from first crop of Euro VI Mercedes-Benz Actros

One of Britain’s biggest vegetable growers has hailed the flying start made by its first Euro VI trucks, 15 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units.

Dave Baker, Transport Manager at Staples Vegetables, of Boston, Lincolnshire, declared: “They were returning 9.7 mpg straight out of the box, which was brilliant, and after a bit of driver training they’re already into the 10s. I’m really happy with our latest Mercedes-Benz trucks and more importantly, so is my boss!”

Supplied by local Intercounty dealer, Boston, all are Actros 2545 models with flat floored BigSpace cabs and state-of-the-art 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines driving through smooth-changing PowerShift 3 automates transmissions. Another two are due to enter service in September, with four more taking to the road in the Autumn.

Staples believes itself to be the UK’s single biggest producer of brassicas and relies on its trucks to deliver cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, sprouts and kale grown on some of the country’s most fertile land.

Mr Baker continues: “Six years ago we didn’t have a single Mercedes-Benz truck on the fleet, but come the New Year every one of our 35 top-weight tractors will have a three-pointed star on the front.”

Working alongside the Euro VI units are seven Actros 2545s with StreamSpace cabs and Euro V engines, which the company commissioned last year, as well as another nine vehicles from the previous Actros model generation.

Staples is purchasing its Euro VI vehicles with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Finanical Services. Like those already on the road, the next batch of vehicles will be the subject of six-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance contracts, over the course of which each unit is expected to cover approximately one million km.

Inspections and servicing are being carried out at Boston’s workshop, which is open seven days a week – most of the work on Staples’ vehicles is being undertaken through the night and at the weekends.

Staples’ trucks deliver its produce to supermarket RDCs and wholesalers nationwide, as well as venturing occasionally to the Continent. Underlining the company’s commitment to operational efficiency, its Euro VI Actros spend much of their time pulling new, maximum-length, 15.65m temperature-controlled trailers, which are capable of carrying 30 pallets.

“These latest 21 trucks ad the 14 long trailers we’ve purchased from Gray & Adams represent a combined investment of nearly £2.4 million for our business, which we’re confident will prove to be money well spent,” continues Dave Baker. “Our 63-plated Actros are coming into their prime now and averaging a very satisfactory 10mpg, while frequently hitting the 11s. But given the great start they’ve made, we’re optimistic that once our first Euro VI units have bedded in they’ll soon be doing even better.”

He adds: “I cannot speak highly enough of Intercounty Truck & Van. Sales Executive Dave Mitcham arranged driver training for us, which was delivered by their dedicated CPC driver-trainer. He is very helpful and easy to work with, as are the dealer’s Boston team, headed up by Depot Manager Paul Slater – they’re all decent people and provide a level of service which, in my experience, is second to none.”

www.staplesvegetables.co.uk

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CPC Driver Training

Improve your skills. Whatever you drive.

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) is a legal requirement for all professional drivers of large goods vehicles (LGVs) over 3.5 tonnes.
To qualify under these regulations, drivers need to complete 35 hours of CPC Driver training every five years, or risk losing their eligibility to drive professionally.

Having helped more than 12,000 drivers operate their vehicle more safely and economically over the past 30 years – Mercedes-Benz has a proud history of driver training in the UK, and this is carried forward when it comes to helping drivers get their CPC. What’s more there doesn’t need to be a three pointed star on your grille to take advantage of this experience, as the content offered is useful and relevant for drivers of all brands of vehicle.

As an approved CPC Driver Training Associate, Intercounty have a range of JAUPT-approved courses on offer. Committed to delivering value for money by exceeding statutory requirements rather than simply providing an exercise in tick boxing, we deliver both in-cab and classroom based training to ensure that drivers can improve both their practical and theoretical knowledge whilst working towards their CPC.

For all course enquiries please contact our CPC Driver Trainer Noel Marno on 07917 721362 or email cpc@intercounty.org.uk