Customers of one of the Midlands’ best-loved independent retailers are now receiving deliveries of the new furniture that will smarten their homes, from an equally smart fleet of Mercedes-Benz trucks.
A shared commitment to quality and service prompted Lee Longlands to invest in the six new Atego 7.5-tonners. “Ours is a premium brand, just like Mercedes-Benz,” explained Financial Director Darren Campo. “Customers like to see us turn up outside their homes in the very best vehicles.”
Supplied by Birmingham Dealer Midlands Truck & Van, the Atego 816s have S ClassicSpace cabs and are fitted with Luton dropwell bodywork by M6 Motor Bodies, also of Birmingham. They are the subject of a funding agreement with InnoVent Leasing.
Lee Longlands, which has stores in Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leamington Spa, Abingdon and Derby, has enjoyed 10% year-on-year growth since it was restructured in 2011, and reported a 31% increase in operating profit in 2014.
The retailer’s decision to replace its previous home delivery fleet with vehicles bearing the three-pointed star underlines an ongoing commitment to improving its infrastructure. The new trucks are based at Lee Longlands’ distribution centre in Minworth, Sutton Coldfield, from where they cover its Midlands heartland.
“Our new Mercedes-Benz vehicles look fantastic,” Mr Campo continued. “Image aside, though, we also need trucks which are technically advanced and robust, because they have to be out on the road and earning, not stuck in the workshop. We’re confident that when it comes to efficiency and reliability the fleet will prove to be second-to-none.”
The vehicles are being inspected and serviced by Midlands Truck & Van under a Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contract. The Dealer took back the retailer’s previous, non-Mercedes-Benz trucks in part-exchange.
“Midlands Truck & Van and M6 Motor Bodies have both provided excellent service and we’re delighted to be working with two locally-based companies,” added Mr Campo.
The Euro VI Mercedes-Benz Atego range comprises no fewer than 42 variants with four cab designs, in the 6.5-16-tonne gvw light distribution segment. The 816 model as specified by Lee Longlands is powered by a 115 kW (156 hp) version of the state-of-the-art four-cylinder OM 934 engine; other models employ the six-cylinder OM 936.
These engines drive through the smooth and swift-changing, standard-fit Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission, and offer a 90% reduction in particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, while consuming significantly less fuel and up to 40% less AdBlue than their Euro 5 equivalents.
Meanwhile, Atego drivers benefit from their impressively high torque characteristics, even at low revs, as well as outstanding comfort, visibility and manoeuvrability – the chassis, rear suspension, cab mounting and steering system have all been comprehensively reworked.
Lee Longlands opened its first store in Broad Street, Birmingham, in 1903, shortly after Robert Lee and George Longland formed their partnership. The company they founded now offers the latest in contemporary furnishings, from sofas and dining furniture to carpets, beds and accessories.