Designer bathroom specialist Crosswater has become one of the first companies in Britain to tap into the fuel-saving and safety benefits of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van range.
A leading supplier to the trade, Crosswater operates from a base in Crossways, Dartford and – since last spring – a second facility in Manchester.
Its latest three Sprinter 313 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY vans arrived via local Dealer Sparshatts of Kent, and are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
They have taken their places in a fleet of 30 vans, which is dominated by vehicles from the previous Sprinter range.
Crosswater holds some 5,000 stock lines, including products from the cutting-edge Bauhaus collection of bathroom furniture, and Simpsons and Crosswater Digital showers.
The fast-growing company moves next year to a new, purpose-built headquarters at The Bridges, Dartford, with 100,000 sq ft of warehousing and 10 loading docks designed specifically to accommodate its Sprinters.
Crosswater relies on its Long-bodied Sprinters to make next-day deliveries to customers placing their orders before 5.30 pm – its computerised routing system nightly processes up to 1,000 ‘drops’, each comprising anything from a dozen sets of shower doors to a single toilet roll holder.
The latest Mercedes-Benz Sprinter wears a dynamic new face, with a more sculpted bonnet, a more vertical, wedge-shaped radiator grille with perforated slats, and revised, more angular headlights.
But its beauty is more than skin deep, as the new model also raises economy and safety to previously unseen levels. Fuel efficiency is improved by 7% over the outgoing Sprinter, with BlueEFFICIENCY variants – which incorporate a raft of additional measures designed to further reduce diesel consumption – up by a further 6%, to as much as 44.4 mpg.
The vehicle’s safety armoury, meanwhile, includes several world ‘firsts’, including the Crosswind Assist system, which detects sudden strong gusts of wind and helps to prevent the van drifting out of its lane by applying individual brakes on one side of the vehicle. The host of electronic aids additionally available as options includes Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.
Crosswater Logistics Director Wayne Lobley says: "We’ve been running Mercedes-Benz Sprinters for some years now, and they’ve always been outstandingly reliable and cost-effective to operate, as well as popular with our drivers.
"As a company that’s always mindful of its Duty of Care obligations to staff and other road users, we take great comfort from knowing that our vans are the safest on the market. I was a guest of the dealer at a Mercedes-Benz Van Experience event last summer, and it was very reassuring to witness at first hand in controlled conditions how the Sprinter’s many safety systems help to minimise the risk of an accident."
Mr Lobley continues: "As well as raising the bar in terms of safety, our latest Sprinters will also help us to achieve our fuel saving targets. All our vehicles are fitted with speed limiters set at 70 mph, while we also equip them with tracking systems which highlight incidents of erratic driving and harsh braking, and operate a bonus scheme that rewards the best drivers."
And he adds: "Sparshatts provide great support. When our vans are due for servicing we can drop them off at the end of the day and the work’s done overnight. But we still get them back early enough in the morning to get them loaded and out on the road again the next day."