East Anglia’s Orwell Truck & Van capped a great night at Mercedes-Benz UK’s annual awards event for its commercial vehicle franchisees by carrying off two top prizes including the coveted title of After Sales Dealer of the Year for 2012.
In the face of stiff competition from 20 other dealers nationwide, the Ipswich-based company also took the title of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Best Performing Dealer of the Year, and was a runner-up in three of the remaining five categories.
Guest of honour Sean Fitzpatrick, legendary former captain of the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union team, presented the trophies at a ceremony held in Gaggenau, Germany, home of the famous Mercedes-Benz Unimog all-terrain truck.
A delighted David Grant, Managing Director of Orwell Truck & Van, declared: "To be nominated for no fewer than five of the seven awards, and win two of them, was a fantastic achievement.
"Staff at all levels of this company are passionate about delivering exceptional value for money and exceeding our customers’ expectations at every opportunity, and this commitment is clearly reflected in our Dealer of the Year successes."
A leading member of Mercedes-Benz UK’s commercial vehicle network, Orwell is responsible for sales and support of the German manufacturer’s award-winning truck and van ranges, as well as popular Fuso Canter light trucks.
In addition to Ipswich it has facilities in Norwich, Colchester and Newmarket, and employs a total workforce of around 190, comprising sales executives, factory-trained technicians, parts specialists, and administrative and support staff.
Despite challenging economic conditions the dealer posted a record sales performance in 2011, registering no fewer than 1,279 new vehicles to beat its previous best tally, which dated back to 2004. Customers ranged from major fleet operators to ‘one-man bands’ and around 70 per cent of these vehicles were supplied with some form of Mercedes-Benz finance contract.
For truck and van operators, having reliable vehicles that are always available to work when needed is crucial. Orwell has invested heavily in its facilities over recent years, to ensure it is best placed to deliver the industry-leading service levels that befit the legendary three-pointed star.
Having concentrated previously on its other locations, the company’s focus during 2011 was on its headquarters on Ipswich’s Martlesham Heath Industrial Estate, where it has spent almost £1 million on a comprehensive refurbishment and the establishment of an Authorised Test Facility (ATF), in which vehicle MoTs are now being carried out.
Crucial to success in the After Sales Dealer of the Year category are a franchisee’s Customer Service Index (CSI) scores. As well as direct feedback from operators, these are based on a range of criteria such as Service 24h emergency assistance response times and roadside ‘fix’ rates, first time pass rates for vehicles prepared for MoT tests, and parts availability. Orwell Truck & Van excels in every category.
Ian Dutfield, Mercedes-Benz UK’s Director of Commercial Vehicle Customer Services, commented: "Orwell’s success in winning our After Sales Dealer of the Year award owes everything to its long-term commitment to its customers and to the Mercedes-Benz brand.
"These achievements are not down to luck. Rather, from a platform of financial strength the Orwell team have put in an enormous amount of hard work to ensure that they deliver a standard of service which is consistently excellent across all of the company’s locations, and all aspects of the after sales operation."