Mercedes-Benz has announced the appointment as a franchised Unimog Dealer of leading agricultural machinery sales and service specialist Farol.
The move represents the first, important step in a new strategy designed to raise the profile and boost sales of the legendary off-roader in Britain.
The deal was concluded between Farol Managing Director Matthew Vellacott and Bernhard Dolinek, who recently took up the position of Head of Special Trucks – Unimog at Mercedes-Benz UK.
Farol’s appointment coincides with its 40th anniversary. The family-owned company operates from state-of-the-art headquarters – opened last year, following a £3.5-million investment – in Thame, Oxfordshire, and other depots in Byfield, Northamptonshire; Hinckley, Leicestershire; Midhurst, West Sussex; and Shefford Woodlands, near Hungerford, Berkshire.
A £70-million turnover business, Farol represents premium agricultural machinery brands such as John Deere and Manitou, and has also diversified over recent years into groundcare (including golf course maintenance), as well as plant and construction equipment. Its Unimog franchise opens the way for the Dealer to achieve further growth by expanding into yet more sectors.
Senior members of the Farol team have already undergone product and systems training by the manufacturer, with more planned for members of its 18-strong sales force, as well as technicians, parts and warranty staff. The new Dealer will also be commissioning a number of vehicles for demonstration purposes, the first three of which are due to arrive by the end of May.
Farol Managing Director Matthew Vellacott said: “We are very proud to be representing the iconic Mercedes-Benz Unimog and look forward to growing the brand alongside our other market-leading franchises.
“What potential customers don’t always appreciate is that the Unimog is an extremely cost-effective vehicle, not least because it commands such strong residual values. We will be making the most of these attributes, and our own expertise, by developing attractive package deals that make the product easier to understand and operate than ever before.”
Major Accounts Director Kevin Newman, who will be spearheading Farol’s Unimog sales drive, continued: “We were looking to expand our portfolio and the Unimog fits perfectly alongside the brands we already represent. We are an aggressive, determined business and I’m in no doubt that this franchise marks the beginning of a very exciting new phase in our development.”
Meanwhile, Bernhard Dolinek, Head of Special Trucks, Unimog at Mercedes-Benz UK, is convinced that given its track record as a successful and diversified business, Farol will quickly establish itself as a high-performing member of the manufacturer’s Dealer Network.
“We have been discussing this franchise opportunity with Matthew Vellacott and his colleagues for some months and were impressed by their enthusiasm for the Unimog product, as well as the dynamics and drive that underpin their business,” he said. “I am confident that our new partner will deliver the enhanced customer experience which is going to be crucial if we are to achieve our strategic goal of a significant improvement in the Unimog’s market position in the UK.”
The Mercedes-Benz Unimog enjoys an unrivalled reputation, earned in some of the world’s harshest and most remote operating conditions, as the ultimate off-road vehicle. The range comprises two core variants: an implement carrier with front, side and rear attachment points, and a base truck for a range of other bodies.
All Unimogs have 4×4 chassis with single rear wheels, which follow the track created by the front wheels. Gross weights vary from 7.5 to 16 tonnes, and engine outputs from 156 hp to 300 hp, while there are two standard cab designs for implement carrier and truck versions, as well as a crew cab option for trucks.