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Mercedes-Benz dealer Sparshatts opens for business in Tonbridge

Operators of Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans based in west Kent are enjoying even higher levels of service following the opening of a new after sales facility in Tonbridge.

The development represents an investment of more than £300,000 by dealer Sparshatts of Kent, a long-standing member of the manufacturer’s franchised network and winner in 2012 of the coveted Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer of the Year title.

Sparshatts has moved into Tonbridge from its previous premises in Tunbridge Wells, inherited when it acquired the former Kent & Sussex Truck Centre six years ago.

Director Helen Jones explains: "Tonbridge is an ideal location for a commercial vehicle operation like ours. The town has a significant number of companies running trucks and vans, while for those customers coming in from further afield our new workshop is easily accessible."

The former Post Office depot on the Cannonbridge Industrial Estate was in a dilapidated state and had stood empty for a year before Sparshatts took possession and embarked on a major programme of refurbishment. Five months later, it has been transformed into a smart and comprehensively equipped eight-bay commercial vehicle workshop.

The Tonbridge facility provides employment for a 14-strong team of technicians – including two apprentices – as well as parts and administration staff offering a full range of vehicle maintenance and repair services, plus parts sales and deliveries.

Sparshatts, Tonbridge is also awaiting certification that will allow it to undertake MoT tests of vehicles in the Class 4 (cars, vans and small minibuses up to 3.0 tonnes gross weight), Class 5 (buses with up to 15 passenger seats, as well as ambulances), and Class 7 (vans up to 3.5 tonnes gross weight) categories.

Service Manager Gary Wilson says: "For customers who cannot afford to be without their vehicles during the day we offer night-time servicing at Tonbridge and are open on Saturday mornings too.

"We’re all delighted with the new premises. As well as being a smarter, more attractive facility for customers to visit, the depot is a much nicer place for our staff to work."

Among those operators now using the new workshop is high-profile logistics specialist S&S Distribution, which operates a Mercedes-Benz-dominated fleet of 25 trucks from its base on the Cannonbridge Industrial Estate.

Director Ken Sanderson, whose firm also relocated from Tunbridge Wells to Tonbridge some 20 years ago, says: "It was the right move for us and I’ve no doubt the same will be true for Sparshatts. We wish the dealer every success in its new venture, which is already making life easier and more convenient for us."

In addition to its Tonbridge operation, Sparshatts of Kent has headquarters in Sittingbourne and other facilities in Ashford and Dartford.

Helen Jones adds: "We’d like to thank our new neighbours at Southern Salads for granting us access to their premises in order to carry out repairs to the exterior of the new Tonbridge building, and Brian Cox, Account Manager with our surveyors, Harrisons, of Gillingham, for his advice and support."

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