Intercounty’s Mercedes-Benz van demonstrators are ready to go to work

Intercounty Truck & Van Ltd has teamed up with two of the commercial vehicle industry’s best known suppliers to offer prospective customers an opportunity to try Mercedes-Benz van demonstrators which are truly ‘fit for purpose’.

The Dealer has joined forces with high-profile racking manufacturer Bott and telematics specialist Masternaut to target businesses from the service sector – plumbers and telecoms engineers, for example – which use their vans as mobile workshops.

Intercounty are now offering fuel-efficient demonstrators from the three model lines that make up the multi award-winning Mercedes-Benz van family: the Citan, the Vito and the recently launched new Sprinter, a vehicle that raises the bar once again, in terms of MPG returns and safety.

Intercountys Citan DemoEach has been fitted with space-efficient Bott racking and a Masternaut telematics system, allowing would-be customers to gain an accurate impression of the vehicle’s performance with their own working environment.

Steve Shakespeare, Managing Director at Intercounty Truck & Van, explains: “It makes no sense when you’re trying to win orders from service providers, to give them an empty van for trial.

“What are they to do with it? They can’t put it to work to see how it performs in a real life situation, because it’s not properly kitted out to carry their tools and equipment. Nor do they have the very latest in telematics solutions, with which to measure accurately the van’s impressive fuel economy, monitor the driver’s style and behaviour, or utilise mapping software to aid their own efficiency.

“At Intercounty Truck & Van we’ve addressed this issue through our new partnership with Bott and Masternaut, both leaders in their respective fields. It demonstrates our commitment to understanding and meeting customers’ needs, because unlike traditional demonstrators, our vehicles really are ready to go straight to work.”

Neil Piggott is Sales Manager for Bott’s Vehicle Racking & Enhancement Division, which also applied the vehicle liveries. He confirms: “Intercounty approached us and explained that they were keen to add value for customers trialling their products, and thus make the exercise really worthwhile.

“Bott is a premium quality manufacturer, just like Mercedes-Benz, so we were very happy to enter into this joint venture, which represents a great opportunity to present our racking systems to prospective customers.”

And Chris Horbowyj, National Reseller Manager for Masternaut, adds: “After receiving Intercounty’s invitation I was intrigued to find out more. So I met Steve Shakespeare and was impressed with the thinking behind its desire to offer clients much more than just an empty demo van.

“This initiative gives Intercounty a valuable advantage over its competitors by being able to demonstrate true MPG results in a real life environment utilising our software.”

The van demonstrators are already proving popular with operators. They are:

  • A Citan 109CDI Long fitted with Bott’s ‘Modulo’ racking, which can be configured and ordered online, and home-fitted in just 60 minutes;
  • A Vito 113CDI Long, with robust and affordable ‘Uno’ racking, and
  • A new model Sprinter 313CDI Long, with lightweight, reinforced racking from Bott’s ‘Vario’ range.

All three vehicles have also been equipped by Masternaut with telematics systems that feature ‘eco-drive’ driver-awareness software, which can improve vehicle economy by 10-15%; ‘live’ dynamic map-based tools for best-in-class business reporting, and tax & expense manager, a system claimed to be “the most accurate mileage collection technology on the market”.


MONTRACON : All aboard the BPW Training Trailer

The Engineering team at Montracon have recently completed an intensive 2 day training programme, courtesy of their trading partner BPW axles.

To assist with the training, BPW provided their state of the art exhibition trailer, brought all the way from it’s German headquarters. The team were given training on all aspects of the BPW products, and covered such areas as axle installation procedures, brake calculations and other matters relating to type approval.

Shaun Gill, Engineering Manager stated that ”continued training ensures our Engineering teams’ knowledge stays relevant and up to date”

Montracon have recently invested in a full 3D engineering package, to bring their Engineering team up to date with the latest technology.


JGS Couriers Deliver a Star Service

Worcestershire based independent same day delivery company, JGS JGS Couriers, proudly showcase their all Mercedes-Benz vehicle fleet as Midlands Truck & Van Ltd catch up with them to see how their vehicles are working for their business.

Sold by Midlands Truck & Van Ltd, John Stubbins, Owner of JGS Couriers, was pleased to confirm that his 10 van Mercedes-Benz Sprinter fleet boasted, “Outstanding performance, Design and Reliability”, and that “the three pointed star on the front reassures our commitment to reliability to our customers”. Each vehicle will travel at least 70,000 miles per year, so having a vehicle fit for purpose is vital to this business’s customer promise.

JGS Couriers pride themselves in their levels of commitment and service to their customers. John Stubbins comments, “We vow to deliver the highest possible levels of customer service by always being punctual for collections, (our response to emergencies is often within 20 minutes), and always keeping our customers in the loop with regular updates.”

jgs-1He continued, “We are as unique as our customer base is diverse, serving clients such as H M Government, Barristers, Solicitors, Architects, Media, Audio Visual, Manufacturing, right to the one man band working to “just in time” deadlines. We are a “Pick up and Put down service” to a lot of these clients, which means they don’t have to specifically employ a driver for that purpose.”

Midlands Truck & Van Ltd’s Used Sales Manager, David Brindle commented, “We continue to enjoy a strong working relationship with John and JGS Couriers. They have been a loyal customer of Midlands Truck & Van for 10 years now and I was delighted when John said that we, “always provide exactly what we require; high end service.” John and his team work very hard for their customers including collecting high value goods from one particular client at 0800 hrs and delivering the same goods to Lyon in France later the same evening!”

Established in July 1999, JGS Couriers specialise in hand carried personal deliveries and time sensitive deliveries. They ensure same day delivery across the UK; operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Nationwide and throughout Europe.


Commercial Motor Euro6 Group Test

The Mercedes-Benz Actros welcomed operators to a new dimension in trucking in 2012 after gruelling tests were undergone by the manufacturer to ensure it delivered in every category. Since the launch, the new Actros has impressed the market and proven itself to operators nationwide and now leads the “Famous Five” in Commercial Motor’s latest 1000 point test review.

Euro VI has been embraced by continental operators and now the European press has published their latest views of 4×2 tractors based upon a 1000 point test. Named the “Famous Five”, the Mercedes-Benz Actros Gigaspace is put through its paces up against the DAF XF 460, MAN TGX XXL, Scania R450 Streamline Topline and the Volvo FH 460 Globetrotter XL and assessed against fuel economy, performance, storage, in-cab noise, weight and visibility.

The total result for each test is summarised and combined for each truck with the Mercedes-Benz Actros leading the way achieving 951 points. With an unbiased comparison of the leading “Famous Five” trucks in today’s market, operators gain direct insight into what Euro VI has to offer.


Mike Penning MP opens 400th ATF, at HTC Hemel Hempstead

The 400th ATF (Authorised Test Facility) was opened today (8 January 2014) at the new HTC Hemel Hempstead DAF depot by local MP Mike Penning, former Under Secretary of State for Transport responsible for the 10-year LSTs (longer semi-trailers) pilot.Mike Penning MP

It’s a significant milestone for DAF, HTC owner Ballyvesey Holdings (which also owns Montracon), the HTC TRP all-makes aftermarket sales depot and the new DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which now takes in VOSA and the DSA).

For DAF, it’s the 40th ATF at a DAF-aligned dealership, giving the market-leading truck OEM 10% of the ATF market, following an investment that managing director Ray Ashworth estimates at some £7million.

For Ballyvesey and HTC it puts another brand new, professional ATF lane in a busy part of the country, adjacent to the old Buncefield site – and incidentally with an tanker ADR lane already prepared and ready to open soon.

And for the DVSA, this is further vindication of its initially unpopular policy, started almost four years ago under VOSA, to move MOT testing of HGVs and PSVs out of publicly-funded VOSA sites and into local, privately-owned businesses, manned by DVSA testers.

According to Alastair Peoples, CEO of the DVSA, it’s all about reducing the burden on commercial operators by taking vehicle testing closer to operators. And given that 72% of annual CV testing is now done at ATF’s he claims that as a success.

“The ATF network is part of DVSA’s Testing Transformation Programme, which gives customers [operators] more choice of where to go for tests, while at the same time reducing vehicle down-time,” he stated.

And observing that the 399th ATF, opened just two days earlier (6 January 2014) as far north as the Shetland Isles, following 18 months of work, he added that open access to professional, well-equipped ATF sites all over the country is now impressive, while VOSA’s worrying £47m deficit of four years ago has now been all but erased.

It’s all part, he said, of DVSA’s change of approach, under his stewardship to focusing on helping transport operators to be compliant “or helping them to leave the transport industry”, while building up first-time pass rates and keeping fees down.

Presenting HTC Hemel Hempstead with a certificate to commemorate the official opening of the 400th ATF, Peoples said: “I feel proud of the ATF record so far and I know local operators and drivers in the Hemel Hempstead area will quickly see the benefits of having a greater choice of where they can have their vehicles tested.

“ATF customers across the country tell me they have seen savings on fuel costs, vehicle down-time, lower CO2 emissions and improved first-time pass rates – and I fully expect to hear similar feedback from operators and drivers using this facility.”

For HTC Group, Peter Gibbons, aftersales director, said: “All at HTC are very excited regarding this wonderful opportunity to take our new depot in Hemel Hempstead one step closer to becoming the complete one-stop shop for all customers in the area.

“The opening of this ATF Lane today along with all the other services this brand new site offers will, without a shadow of doubt, enable us to raise the bar even higher.”

Article Source – Transport Engineer.


Canter test drive pays off for prize draw winner HTA Group

Metal products manufacturer HTA Group has made a flying start to 2014 after winning a smart FUSO Canter truck.

The Coventry-based company scooped a year’s free use of the 7.5-tonner in a national prize draw staged by Mercedes-Benz – the German firm’s franchised Dealer network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular FUSO light truck range in the UK.

Hundreds of commercial vehicle operators taking Canter test drives at dealerships nationwide were automatically entered in the competition.

Handover: HTA Group’s Mark Vale, right, receives the keys to the new Canter from sales executive Jim Coton, of Midlands Truck & Van

“This is great news,” declared Group Finance Director Mark Vale, on learning that HTA’s name had been ‘pulled from the hat’. “Neither I, nor our Managing Director Adam Thomas, has ever won anything before – apart from new business of course.

“We were considering a Canter anyway, which is why we took the test drive. So to win the use of a brand new vehicle for a full year is a real bonus, and came as a very welcome early Christmas present.”

HTA’s new truck arrived via local Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. Powered by a fuel-efficient 110 kW (150 hp) engine mated to a DUONIC transmission – the world’s first dual-clutch automatic for light trucks – it has a curtainside body by Fred Smith & Sons, of West Bromwich, which also applied HTA’s livery.

The Canter 7C15 came with a 12-month Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contract – Midlands Truck & Van will be undertaking the mandatory six-weekly inspections and all servicing, as well as replacing tyres when necessary, at its workshop on Wheler Road in Whitley, Coventry.

The prize could not have come at a better time for fast-growing HTA Group, which is based on the city’s Middlemarch Business Park and is one of the UK’s most advanced specialists in the design, development and manufacture of prototype and production sheet metal components and fabricated assemblies.

As well as a pair of 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Axor trucks also supplied by Midlands Truck & Van in 2012, the company ran a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego which it was preparing to stand down after six years’ reliable service.

“The Canter is a ready-made replacement for our Atego,” said Mr Vale. “It’s fulfilling an operational need and has been quick to impress, particularly because of its exceptionally high payload potential.”

He continued: “The beauty of this truck is that although it’s clearly very well built and has a reputation for durability, it is also the lightest vehicle in its class. That means we’re able to carry approximately four tonnes, which is the best part of a tonne more than we’d get on a conventional 7.5-tonner.

“Given that we’re carrying steel, weight rather than cubic volume is the limiting factor in our operation. So a payload gain of this magnitude makes a welcome contribution to increased efficiency and productivity.”

As well as delivering finished products, the Canter transports items to sub-contractors’ premises for plating and painting.

HTA Group has a diverse customer base that includes companies operating in the oil and gas, construction, defence, automotive, rail, marine, nuclear and exhibition sectors. Its own trucks serve businesses operating within the Midlands region – for deliveries further afield, HTA relies on third-party transport providers.