So much faith had Derby-based ATL in its new Mercedes-Benz Axor 2543 tractor units, and in the back-up from supplying dealer Mertrux, that it put three of them straight to work on its most arduous contract.
Fully laden the whole time, they are now racking up 8,600km a week carrying raw materials and finished tyres between Pirelli plants at Burton-on-Trent and Carlisle. Each is worked around the clock, seven days a week, by a team of four drivers, and will cover 445,000km in its first year.
Another three new Axors have been assigned to a combination of national container haulage, and bulk collection and delivery, and trunking duties for the Palletline network, of which ATL is a leading member.
Brothers Peter and Joey Ascott are Joint Managing Directors of the family-owned firm. "This is very demanding work," said Peter Ascott, "but we have total confidence in the Axor and in the support from Mertrux and Mercedes-Benz. Having run 18-tonne Axor rigids, we know Mercedes-Benz trucks to be strong and reliable, while the dealer has always looked after us very well."
He continued: "I’m of the opinion that anything mechanical, no matter how well built, will suffer the odd problem from time to time, so one of the most important differentiators between truck brands is the speed and efficiency of response when something goes wrong.
"Our new Axors are already delivering good fuel economy and are well liked by our drivers. Factor in the back-up from Mertrux and it all adds up to a first-class package."
ATL was founded in 1959 by the Ascott brothers’ late father Dennis; although semi-retired, their mother Norma still plays an active role in the running of the business in her capacity as Chairman.
The company is heavily involved in the automotive sector, while its trucks also work on containerised freight delivery and food distribution contracts. In addition to its Derby headquarters, where it has a 470,000 sq ft warehouse, ATL recently opened a new depot in Carlisle.