Leading fork-lift truck manufacturer Jungheinrich has high hopes for its first vehicle from the ground-breaking Mercedes-Benz New Vito range.
The company, which has UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, employs a team of field-based engineers and operates a fleet of 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, as well as a number of small Citans.
Jungheinrich has allocated its first New Vito to a Norfolk-based engineer for trial. Supplied by East Anglian Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, the Long-bodied 111 CDI is fitted with the operator’s purpose-designed racking, to carry tools and spares.
In a ‘first’ for the medium-sized van segment, New Vito customers can opt for front or rear wheel-drive. Jungheinrich’s vehicle is powered by an advanced 114 hp 1.6-litre engine that offers outstanding fuel economy of 45.6 mpg and drives the front wheels – this lightweight system offers a 120 kg saving over the previous model, and around 60 kg compared to rear wheel-drive versions of the New Vito.
To further increase carrying capacity the vehicle has been uprated from the standard 2.8-tonne gross weight, to 3.0 tonnes. The result is a highly competitive payload allowance of just under 1.3 tonnes.
Jungheinrich Purchasing Manager Steve Clarke said: “On paper the New Vito looks like a very attractive proposition – payload is significantly up on the outgoing model and it’s also more fuel-efficient than the similarly-sized vans that we’re currently using. So we’ll be monitoring the trial vehicle’s progress closely, with driver feedback being crucial to any future purchasing commitments.
“For my part, I drove the vehicle on the launch event and I really liked the feel of it. The cab area has benefited from some significant improvements which I am sure will be well received by our drivers.”
Most of the 280 vans which Jungheinrich operates in the UK are of a similar size to the New Vito. They are used by engineers who visit the premises of customers to undertake scheduled maintenance and rapid response repairs, on its full range of electric- and engine-powered fork-lift trucks.
However, the company also operates approximately 70 vans at 3.5 tonnes gvw, to support customers for its larger, diesel-engined and gas trucks. Most of these are now Mercedes-Benz Sprinters – Orwell Truck & Van has supplied 30 new Short- and Medium-length 313 CDIs over the last 18 months with a further 20 vans due for replacement this year, while the remaining vehicles which do not wear three-pointed stars will be phased out over the next two years.
“We’re moving towards an exclusively Mercedes-Benz fleet at this weight,” confirmed Mr Clarke. “The Sprinter has proved to be outstanding reliable and durable, while it’s also very popular with our engineers.”
Jungheinrich’s Citan 109 CDI Longs, meanwhile, are used by site engineers who are ‘embedded’ with customers and need a small van to flit between multiple points at the same location. “Parts would be delivered direct to the workshop so these guys don’t need a big vehicle,” he explained. “But they may still need to carry their tools between four or five units on the same industrial park.
“We have 24 vehicles of this size and most are now Citans. It’s a nice looking vehicle, easy and very car-like to drive, which is exactly what we need.”
Mr Clarke added: “We have received a consistently high level of service from Mark Gittens and James Russell (respectively Fleet Van Sales Manager and Group Van Sales Manager) at Orwell Truck & Van. Mark is exceptionally ‘hands on’ while the dealer’s personable staff also provide excellent vehicle ‘handovers’ to our engineers nationwide.”
Jungheinrich UK, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, offers the materials handling industry’s most comprehensive range of solutions and services. In addition to its Milton Keynes headquarters, the company operates from a network of six strategically located customer service centres, and also has a National Engineering Centre in Risley.