What better way to celebrate your 40th anniversary than by investing in your first Mercedes-Benz tractor unit.
Staplehurst Transits, of Tonbridge, Kent, specialises in the distribution of fresh fruit and produce to wholesale markets nationwide.
The family firm operates a fleet of 22 tractors – it purchased the New Actros 2551 with aerodynamic StreamSpace cab after carrying out a comprehensive evaluation exercise involving several brands of truck.
The decision represents a breakthrough for Mercedes-Benz, because for the last quarter of a century Staplehurst Transits has sourced all of its trucks from the same Swedish manufacturer.
Equipped with a Daimler FleetBoard telematics system, its New Actros also came with a free two-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance contract – servicing and inspections are undertaken by supplying dealer Sparshatts of Kent, which has just opened a new workshop in Tonbridge.
The truck is now being double-shifted, collecting fresh fruit and vegetables from farms across Kent during the day, then delivering to wholesale markets at night.
Director Darren Goldup, whose father Colin, the Managing Director, started the business in 1973 with a single 3.5-tonne van, says Staplehurst Transits’ first Mercedes-Benz has made a very encouraging start.
"The New Actros is allocated to designated day and night men and both love it," he confirms. "I’ve driven it myself and it’s definitely smoother and more comfortable than our established trucks, while the automated PowerShift transmission is very good too."
Staplehurst Transits steers clear of eight-cylinder engines – its New Actros is powered by a state-of-the-art straight-six unit that puts out 510 hp, 30 hp more than the operator’s Swedish-built trucks. It is already producing some impressive fuel returns.
Says Darren Goldup: "The fleet average is between 9.1 and 9.2 mpg, and despite the fact that it’s still very new and not properly loosened up yet, the New Actros is already hitting 8.9 mpg. This compares well with a unit from our other supplier, which went on the road at the same time as the Mercedes – that vehicle is on similar work, but lagging behind at 8.5 mpg."
Although the New Actros is its first truck to wear a three-pointed star, Staplehurst Transits also runs a pair of Mercedes-Benz vans, a Sprinter which is used for urgent deliveries and a smaller Vito which is assigned to its own mechanic.
Mr Goldup adds: "We’ll be monitoring the performance of the New Actros and the Mercedes-Benz back-up closely over the months to come. It’s fair to say, though, that our first impressions of this vehicle have been entirely positive, while Sparshatts of Kent has an excellent reputation in this area."