One of the world’s largest JCB sole franchises has unearthed another winner in the shape of the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz Vito van.
Watling JCB, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, operates from a head office in Leicester, and depots in Kidlington, Leighton Buzzard, Peterborough and Wymondham.
The company’s fleet of 88 vans is dominated by the three-pointed star. All but a handful of these vehicles are 3.5-tonne Sprinter 313 CDIs assigned to service engineers.
However, as well as another 10 new Sprinters, East Midlands Dealer Mertrux has just delivered two Vito 114 BlueTec models, with a third to follow in September. These 3.2-tonne vans have a dual role – they are used by field-based service technicians or to make parts deliveries.
JCB is a UK manufacturing success story and all of Watling JCB’s Mercedes-Benz vans wear its familiar yellow livery – the franchisee sells new and used JCB equipment, while also providing the finest levels of aftermarket support. As its Finance Director Jason King observed: “JCB and Mercedes-Benz are both premium marques, so complement each other perfectly.”
Launched last year, the new Mercedes-Benz Vito has raised the bar for performance, efficiency, safety and all-round quality in the mid-sized van segment. It is available with front- or, as with the 114 BlueTEC variant specified by Watling JCB, rear-wheel drive. This model is powered by an advanced 2.1-litre diesel – the first low-emission Euro 6 engine in its class – which offers outstanding economy of up to 44.1 mpg in the combined cycle.
Watling JCB switched from its previous van supplier to Mercedes-Benz in 2010, when it was running some 60 vans. It has not looked back since.
Given the nature of the work, which entails making emergency call-outs to breakdowns at locations such as construction sites, reliability and durability are key attributes for its vehicles.
Jason King confirmed: “Customer Service and quick response are key differentiators for our business, which means that reliability of the commercial fleet is key. Our vehicles are invariably fully laden yet experience has proved we can run them for 150,000 miles or more with minimal down time. In terms of build quality and component life they are industry leading.
“What’s more, the mpg returns have always been comfortably ahead of our previous vans, while the drivers love them too – we’ve only ever had positive comments about the Sprinter and the new Vito has been similarly well received. Superb whole-life costs complete the picture.”
As a franchisee that prides itself on the quality of the service it provides to its own customers, Watling JCB also values highly the industry-leading after sales support it receives from Mertrux.
“Unlike some of its competitors Mertrux is a commercial vehicle specialist, so understands the pressures on a business such as ours and is geared up to meet our needs,” continued Mr King.
All of Watling JCB’s Mercedes-Benz vans are the subject of Service Care contracts set up by Mertrux, Leicester. These fixed cost maintenance arrangements provide operators with peace of mind, allowing them to budget with confidence.
“The Dealer’s Van Sales Manager James Rowley and his colleagues are superb,” said Mr King. “We’re not a nine-to-five operation so the high level of support they provide in the evenings and at weekends is invaluable.
“We like to think that we are nice people for our own customers to deal with, and the same is certainly true of Mertrux. This makes life so much easier; if any issues crop up we know we can always rely on Mertrux to go the extra mile for us.”