Maximising payload was at the top of the agenda when The Constant Group of Companies decided to invest in its first 7.5-tonne truck, so it was no surprise that it chose a Fuso Canter.
The Canter at 7.5-tonnes is renowned for its strong, lightweight chassis, which translates into a market-leading payload potential. Oldham-based Constant’s new Canter 7C15 curtainsider can carry well over four tonnes, at least half a tonne more than could be achieved by the average 7.5-tonner.
It arrived via Manchester Mercedes-Benz dealer Enza – the Fuso light truck range is sold and supported by the German manufacturer’s dealer network in the UK – which also supplied Constant with a 3.5-tonne Canter 3C13 recently.
"We’d been running 3.5-tonne van-based vehicles but were looking for a truck that could carry more," explained Constant Group Chairman Richard Garlick. "The Canter chassis is very light so we knew it would be a strong contender, and when Enza sales executive James Dutton loaned us his demonstrator we could see that it was also solid and well-built, with a proper ladder-frame construction."
Constant also worked closely with Truck Craft Bodies, of Stalybridge, on the design of the body. "James put us in touch with Truck Craft and we sat down with them to discuss our requirements. I told them I wanted the best possible payload; that was the starting point," recalled Mr Garlick.
"Thanks to the Canter’s inherent structural integrity they were able to construct a very light curtainsided body with alloy cross-members, a lower-than-standard roof height, and a roller shutter instead of barn doors at the rear. When mounted to the chassis, this produced a vehicle with a kerb weight of only 3,200 kg. And that gives us a cargo-carrying ability of 4,300 kg, minus the driver and fuel, which is far ahead of anything we could achieve with a typical 7.5-tonne truck."
The truck is powered by a state-of-the-art 3.0-litre diesel engine which drives through the revolutionary DUONIC system, the world’s first dual-clutch automated gearbox in a light truck.
"The driver loves his new Canter, especially the smooth-shifting transmission, which also helps to maximise the fuel economy," said Mr Garlick. "Fully loaded, we’re achieving a very impressive 21-23 mpg."
The two Canters are now hard at work delivering products designed and manufactured by the Constant Group. The 3.5-tonner serves architectural ironmongery customers with lighter loads while the 7.5-tonne truck delivers precision sheet metal items nationwide. Both are being maintained in Enza’s Manchester workshop, where the availability of out-of-hours servicing ensures they are always available for work when needed.
As the new truck represents Constant’s first foray into the 7.5-tonne sector, it also marks the first time the company has had to deal with the Operator’s Licence system and the paperwork that goes with it.
"Enza provided us with a great deal of very welcome support and assistance, helping us to fill out all the forms and making the whole process very painless. I’m delighted with the service we received," added Mr Garlick.
The Constant Group was founded in 1970 by Mr Garlick and his father. Now both his son and daughter, and their respective spouses, are employed in the business. The company moved to a 20,000 sq ft unit at its current site in 2005 and has expanded further this year, acquiring an identical unit next door. The manufacturing operation runs 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday and employs 82 people; during peak periods weekend shifts are also added to meet demand.