So impressed was transport firm boss Colin Lawson when he climbed aboard a New Actros tractor unit on the Mercedes-Benz stand at last year’s CV Show that he recalls: "I couldn’t wait to drive it."
Well now he can, as the Aberdeen-based company that bears his name has just taken delivery of two New Actros 2551s with 510 hp, 12.8-litre, straight-six engines and range-topping GigaSpace cabs.
The trucks have been assigned to a new venture that sees Colin Lawson Transport offering a European service for the first time. The long-established company, which recently purchased a new headquarters in Altens, specialises in the movement of drilling and other equipment and tools for the oil and gas industries, but also carries more general loads such as bricks and timber.
In addition to its new tractors, Colin Lawson has also ordered a pair of new low-loaders and 20 flat-bed trailers, to fulfill new contracts and its plans for further expansion over the next couple of years.
Says Mr Lawson: "We have a broad portfolio of customers and the opportunity to undertake international work has been there for a while. The New Actros could not have come at a better time, as the arrival of these new flagships has spurred us to ‘dip our toe’ and take on our first Continental assignments."
Fitted with optional extras such as fridges to make life more comfortable for their long-haul drivers, the two trucks were supplied by Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Aberdeen.
Before placing its order, Colin Lawson Transport put the dealer’s 510 hp and 450 hp New Actros demonstrators through their paces for a week.
"Mercedes-Benz has really thought about this truck from a driver’s point of view," says Mr Lawson. "Our drivers loved the big GigaSpace, which was no surprise to me as it’s huge, while the demonstrator also performed very well on fuel, returning 9.2-9.3 mpg fully loaded, and up to 11 mpg when running light."
Colin Lawson Transport, which has also just invested in a dozen new flat and step-frame trailers, operates a fleet of 50 trucks that includes five units from the previous Actros range.
"I ordered my first Actros after a visit to the Mercedes-Benz truck factory at Wörth which really blew me away," says Mr Lawson. "That truck’s on a ’58 plate and has now covered half a million kilometres, but it’s never let me down and has cost next to nothing to keep on the road."
Mr Lawson is also delighted with the commitment demonstrated by Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Aberdeen owner T.O.M., since it took on the city franchise late last year. A major programme of refurbishment is already well underway at the dealership on the Altens Industrial Estate, and the workshop is being extended to create space for a dedicated ATF bay for MoT tests. Meanwhile, experienced sales specialist Andrew Rennie has been recruited to lead the truck sales team.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a dealer which really wants to look after operators like me," he adds.