If you’re driving a Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle in Dorset or Hampshire and unfortunate enough to break down, take heart – help is close at hand.
That’s because when it comes to scrambling a technician and getting him to the incident location where he can solve the problem before sending the vehicle back on its way, local dealer Pentagon Commercials is showing the competition a clean pair of heels.
Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans are renowned for their outstanding reliability and durability. But professional operators who work their vehicles very intensively appreciate that even the best will occasionally suffer a fault.
And when you’re up against a strict delivery deadline, or carrying a time-sensitive load, you simply cannot afford to be laid up at the side of the road for hours on end. This explains why, for many prospective customers looking to buy a new truck or van, emergency back-up is every bit as important as the product itself.
Mercedes-Benz has invested heavily over recent years in its Service 24h roadside assistance and recovery scheme, which provides round-the-clock cover 365 days a year and is right up there with the very best in the industry – latest statistics show that, on average, a dedicated technician will reach the scene of a breakdown in just 53 minutes, with more than four out of five faults being fixed at the roadside.
Best of the best, though, is Pentagon Commercials, which has headquarters in Fareham and other dealerships in Andover, Poole, Portsmouth and Southampton. It boasts a stunning average attendance time of 38 minutes, making it the quickest of all Mercedes-Benz dealers for the second year running. At just under 26 minutes, meanwhile, Andover-based Chris Hillier is the country’s fastest-responding Service 24h technician.
Pentagon’s outstanding Service 24h performance was a key factor in its recent nomination for the coveted Mercedes-Benz After Sales Dealer of the Year trophy.
Pentagon also saw off the challenge of dealers representing other vehicle brands when leading industry magazine Commercial Motor last staged a mock breakdown to test the responses of different manufacturers – Pentagon’s van reached the ‘stricken’ vehicle in Southampton just 16 minutes after the driver made his call for help to the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Centre.
"When a vehicle is off the road it’s costing its owner money, so we accord maximum priority to breakdowns," confirmed Michael Gunner, Group After Sales Operations Manager at Pentagon Commercials.
The company employs nine highly trained Service 24h technicians, who take their vans – which are comprehensively fitted out with tools and spares – home with them on nights when they are on call. "The guys are well spread geographically so we can invariably get one of them to the scene of any breakdown in Hampshire or Dorset pretty quickly," continued Michael.
Pentagon has also worked hard to ensure that all of its depots are ‘up to the marque’: in 2009, for example, Poole’s average attendance time was one hour and 20 minutes; it’s now down to just over 45 minutes.
"We make a point, too, of highlighting the individual performances of our Service 24h technicians," added Michael. "This has helped to foster a healthy spirit of competition within the team – the joke doing the rounds at the moment is that in order to achieve his turnout times Chris Hillier must sleep in his van on nights when he’s on call!"
Pentagon’s Mercedes-Benz Service 24h technicians are:
At Fareham, Matt Shelley and Ashley White
At Andover, Chris Hillier and Wayne Sale
At Poole, Ron Adlam, Andy Boyt and Jason Harvey
At Southampton, Dave Bagg and Gary Hayward