The Gregory Distribution Group has ordered 30 premium specification Actros tractor units in a deal that represents a breakthrough for Mercedes-Benz.
Supplied by City West Commercials, the manufacturer’s representative in the South-West, all are 6×2 models and powered by the 440hp version of the fuel-efficient BlueTec® Euro 5 OM 501 LA V6 engine.
Most are Actros 2544s with Long Distance sleeper cabs. They are joining Gregory’s general transport fleet, which works from major distribution centres at North Tawton and Cullompton in Devon, and Old Sodbury near Bristol, as well as a network of bases nationwide.
However, six are Actros 2444s with small-wheeled, mid-lift axles which are 250kg lighter than those on standard units, and weight-saving low-roof cabs. These vehicles are for operation with tank trailers by Gregory’s highly successful milk distribution division, which has played a big part in the success of the UK dairy industry for more than 15 years.
Completing the line-up are six more Actros 2544s, three with flat-floored MegaSpace cabs and another three Long Distance units. They wear the smart red livery of Hayton Coulthard, one of Scotland’s oldest hauliers which joined the Gregory Distribution Group in 2009.
The Long Distance and MegaSpace units are equipped with the acclaimed Mercedes PowerShift 12-speed automated transmission, which comes as standard; the milk tractors have Telligent® manual gearboxes.
Gregory Distribution Director Stephen Gratton confirmed: "The Mercedes-Benz Actros is an impressive vehicle that enjoys an excellent reputation for reliability, as well as being fuel-efficient and cost-effective to operate.
"The Long Distance versions will enhance our general fleet, while the low weight of the milk units has allowed us to achieve higher payloads, and Hayton Coulthard’s long-haul drivers are delighted with their big, comfortable MegaSpace cabs."
The new trucks are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Agility finance package. Agility offers all the benefits of hire purchase with a balloon payment, including low monthly outgoings, but incorporates an agreed Guaranteed Future Value for the vehicle, which is based on the mileage it is expected to cover. At the end of the contract customers have three options: pay off the final lump sum and keep the vehicle, extend the agreement or simply return the vehicle free of further obligations (terms & conditions apply).
The finance agreement is backed by a four-year Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance package, which incorporates replacement vehicle cover.
"The fact that this arrangement offered fixed costs over four years with guaranteed buy backs at the end of the term was certainly very attractive," confirmed Mr Gratton. "We are constantly seeking more efficient ways to manage the fleet and this deal has made it possible to link our costs directly with customer contracts, which helps with forward planning."
The Gregory Distribution order is among the most significant to be won by City West Commercials since its appointment as Mercedes-Benz UK’s representative in the South-West a couple of years ago.
With roots that date back to 1919, Gregory Distribution is one of the UK’s most successful regional distribution companies, providing integrated transport and storage services for producers of grocery and industrial products, and consumer goods. It operates a fleet of more than 400 vehicles.