Italian cycle manufacturer Bianchi is famed for the stunning design, outstanding build quality and superb performance of its products – so when the company’s UK subsidiary needed new vans, the Mercedes-Benz Vito was the only realistic choice.
Bianchi UK’s trio of Vito 116 CDI Sport Dualiners are used by its three technical sales representatives, who between them cover the whole of England and Wales, and all but the very far North of Scotland.
Supplied by Milton Keynes dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, the vans are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement arranged via Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, the manufacturer’s in-house vehicle finance division – Intercounty is the reigning Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Dealer of the Year.
They are now working hard, visiting independent bike retailers as well as cycling events and exhibitions. As Dualiner models, each is equipped with a second row of seats, allowing it to carry up to four passengers. But these can be removed to maximise the load space if necessary.
"They’re fantastically versatile vehicles," says Bianchi’s Country Manager Andrew Griffin. "For a weekend demonstration event our reps can carry up to 10 fully-built bikes, as well as a three-metre marquee, boxes of catalogues, riding gear and their own overnight kit, and still have room inside to move around.
"Then, if necessary, they can deliver as many as 20 packaged bikes to our dealers. And when they’re not working, with all the seats in place, the Vito also serves as comfortable, safe and stylish family transport for our staff."
Bianchi has been building cutting-edge bicycles since 1885 and its machines have carried some of the sport’s top professional riders to victories in road and track World Championships, Tours de France, stage races and single-day ‘classics’ – its roster of titles also includes no fewer than 12 overall wins in the gruelling Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy).
Bianchi UK distributes bikes to independent cycle retailers, as well as supporting those retail partners at organised rides and events, and promoting its products at exhibitions. Although the iconic company’s heritage is in road racing, its line-up now includes mountain and urban bikes.
"Our new Mercedes have replaced people-carrier cars, which offered much less space and were nothing like as versatile," continues Andrew Griffin.
"Like Bianchi, Mercedes-Benz is renowned for its sporting heritage and for the quality of its products, so the three-pointed star reinforces our own reputation for professionalism and customer care.
"We were also impressed by the service we received from Intercounty Truck & Van, and particularly sales executive Nick Dunkley. The CharterWay contract hire package is competitively priced and the dealer took great care to understand our business and the way we work, then help us choose vehicles that are ideally suited to our needs rather than just sell us something ‘off the peg’."
Dan Fox, Bianchi UK’s representative for the Midlands region, adds: "My Vito is fantastic. It’s really easy to load and unload, with large sliding doors on both sides, and is very comfortable, even on long journeys – that’s important for me, as my ‘patch’ extends from West Wales to Grimsby.
"Like most of my colleagues I’m also a keen cyclist, so when I’m not working it’s great to have a vehicle that my girlfriend and I can put our own bikes in, for a weekend away."