One of Britain’s leading chilled and ambient supply chain logistics specialists has pitched its first Mercedes-Benz tractor units for many years into a Euro VI shootout with its established vehicle suppliers.
Fowler Welch runs a mixed-marque fleet of 340 trucks, the vast majority of them 44-tonne tractors. Latest additions to the line-up are four New Actros 2545 BigSpace units, which arrived via Surrey and Sussex Dealer Rossetts Commercials.
Fowler Welch has headquarters in Spalding, Lincolnshire, but the Mercedes-Benz trucks are operating from its base at Hilsea, Portsmouth, from where the company delivers some 32,000 loads per year to wholesale and retail customers.
Paul Allera, Head of Fleet at Fowler Welch, explains: "We’d heard good reports about the New Actros and tried a couple of demonstrators at Euro V, which went well. Rossetts also impressed me with their determination to do business so despite the fact that it’s been many years since we last dealt with Mercedes-Benz, we decided to include New Actros in our latest evaluation programme."
Fowler Welch is also assessing Euro VI products from four other ‘premium brand’ manufacturers, against a range of criteria. Foremost among these is fuel efficiency but after sales support and ‘uptime’ are also being monitored closely, as is driver feedback, while weight is being given to the vehicle’s image on the road too.
"These are still early days but the New Actros are working well and clearly tick all the boxes," confirms Mr Allera. "Rossetts’ Dealer Principal Perry Reeves is very attentive and from the top down the customer focus in that dealership is brilliant – I can buy a truck from anywhere but I’ve already seen enough to know they offer that bit more, and can be relied on to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible service."
The New Actros are powered by state-of-the-art 330 kW (449 hp) straight-six engines driving through Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions. They are additionally equipped with Daimler FleetBoard telematics and Predictive Powertrain Control systems – PPC employs 3D GPS mapping to read three kilometres of topography ahead then responds by controlling speed, braking and the transmission to maximise fuel efficiency.
Fowler Welch provides flexible and cost-effective supply chain services for ambient and temperature-controlled products to many of the UK’s biggest and best-known food suppliers and retailers.
The company is committed to minimising the impact of its operations on the environment and has already achieved considerable success in cutting its CO2 emissions through a series of measures including early adoption of Euro VI technology, driver training, use of low resistance tyres and aerodynamic developments for trucks and trailers, among them the UK’s first ambient longer trailer.