Graham Reynolds attended the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz Citan by North-East dealer Bell Truck and Van because he wanted to find out more about the smallest van yet to wear a three-pointed star.
Now the Transport Manager for Ponteland-based catering butcher R. Manners & Sons can put the new urban hero to the test himself, after winning the free use of a fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz Citan 109 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY for a month.
Mr Reynolds won the prize by scooping the biggest ‘cash’ return in a series of fun casino games at Bell’s launch event, which was held at the Hilton Gateshead and attended by more than 100 other local van operators.
The arrival of the Citan spells good news for job-hunters in the North-East too, as Bell Truck and Van is now looking to appoint at least six additional technicians to help service and maintain customers’ vehicles across the region.
Managing Director Trevor Simmons says: "The Citan has attracted huge interest and we’re sure it’s going to be a big hit. As well as supplying first-class vehicles, though, we’re also committed to providing our customers with the highest possible levels of ongoing care and support.
"To ensure we have the staff to deliver that service we’re recruiting more technicians, ideally with either car or light commercial vehicle experience, to work across our network of sites."
In another development designed to further improve customer service, Bell Truck and Van is about to open a dedicated car and van MoT testing bay at its workshop on Gateshead’s Team Valley Trading Estate.
The Citan marks the entry of Mercedes-Benz into the small van market. Packed with clever features, its is powered by a fuel-efficient diesel engine which is offered with 75 hp, 90 hp and 110 hp power outputs, or a 114 hp petrol unit.
Panel van versions are available in three lengths – Compact, Long and Extra-long. The Citan Traveliner is based on the Long wheelbase and has a folding rear bench seat, allowing it to carry the driver and up to four passengers. The Citan Dualiner, meanwhile, has the same seating configuration but, because it is based on the Extra-long format, also offers a practical cargo space.
Guests at Bell Truck and Van’s launch evening heard Mercedes-Benz UK Van Sales & Marketing Director Steve Bridge introduce the new model. They also enjoyed a gourmet meal and the opportunity to play roulette, blackjack and other games using special ‘fake’ banknotes to ‘buy’ their gambling chips.
Mr Reynolds recalls: "As the evening drew to a close the croupier at the roulette table was taking bets for the last spin of the evening. So I just stuck the lot on a random number, and to my great surprise I won!"
He continues: "The Citan’s mpg figures are certainly attractive and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it performs. We currently run seven Mercedes-Benz Vito vans but for smaller local deliveries and those we have to make at locations where the access is particularly tight, the smaller Citan could be just the thing."
The Mercedes-Benz Citan has a volume carrying capacity of up to 3.8 m³ and a maximum payload potential of 735 kg. It also leads the small van market in terms of fuel efficiency, achieving up to 65.7 mpg and producing CO2 emissions as low as 112 g/km.
Trevor Simmons adds: "The Citan is a very exciting addition to the Mercedes-Benz van range and we’re offering some highly competitive and flexible finance packages that can put customers behind the wheel for as little as £6.95 a day."