GBN Services’ Mercedes-Benz-dominated fleet of more than 100 trucks includes a number of six-wheeled tractor units and 8×4 tippers, but the latest addition to the line-up is the smallest commercial vehicle yet to wear a three-pointed star.
The Citan 109 CDI Long was supplied, along with a Vito 113 CDI Compact, by Hatfield dealer S & B Commercials. Both are now operating as service vans in and around London, the Citan’s compact size and fuel efficiency making it particularly well suited to work on the capital’s busy streets.
Founded in 1986 as a bulk haulage operator, GBN Services is now in the business of skip hire and waste management – it recycles around 94 per cent of the rubbish it collects, with timber a speciality.
The company has headquarters at Leyton, and other depots in Uxbridge, New Southgate, Basildon, Harlow (where it has two sites) and Southend. Its eight service vans carry welding and other equipment, and flit between these depots, as well as field locations, maintaining wood processing plant and waste recycling machinery.
Managing Director Garry Hobson says: "Mercedes-Benz has been our preferred truck brand for many years now. It’s a tough job and experience has proved them to be more robust than any competitors’ chassis, so the only non-Mercedes trucks on the fleet are those we have inherited through acquisitions of other operators.
"We look for the same attributes of reliability and durability in our service vans, which are permanently loaded and work seven days a week between depots as far as 60 miles apart."
GBN’s latest 2.8-tonne Mercedes-Benz Vito has joined a couple of other examples from the same product line. "But for most service assignments the Vito is just too big, so we’ve been sourcing the majority of our vans from other manufacturers," continues Mr Hobson.
"Not any more, though. The Citan is the van we’ve been waiting for from Mercedes-Benz. It’s the ideal size and highly cost-effective to run, while also offering the build quality, safety features and after sales back-up we’ve come to expect from the marque. Its introduction means that from now on, all of our service vans will be by Mercedes-Benz."
Like GBN Services’ other vehicles the Citan will be serviced under contract by S & B Commercials, which has also just delivered the operator’s latest 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Axor skip-loader. "S & B do all our maintenance and provide an excellent service," adds Mr Hobson.
Launched in January, the Citan marks the entry of Mercedes-Benz into the small van market and leads the way in terms of fuel efficiency, achieving up to 65.7 mpg and producing CO2 emissions as low as 112 g/km.
GBN Services’ 109 CDI is powered by a 90 hp diesel engine – the Citan is also offered with 75 hp and 110 hp diesels, or a 114 hp petrol unit – and is the subject of a highly flexible Agility funding package from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. This offers all the benefits of conventional hire purchase with a Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) – including low monthly repayments – but gives operators extra options at the end of the term.
Key to the Agility concept is the agreement of a GFV for the vehicle. At the end of the agreement the customer can choose whether to pay off the final lump sum and keep the vehicle, use the vehicle as a part exchange for a brand new one, or return it free of any further obligations, apart from an excess mileage charge if the initially agreed limit has been exceeded, and damage charges over and above fair wear and tear.