All good things come to those who wait… for Suffolk Electrical Services (SES) the waiting’s finally over following the arrival of the all-new Mercedes-Benz Citan, the smallest van yet to wear the famous three-pointed star.
Graham Dawe, Managing Director of Ipswich-based SES, says: "We’ve been asking Mercedes-Benz for this vehicle for a long time. And now it’s here, it’s even better than we could have hoped."
Mr Dawe and other locally based van operators attended a launch event at Milsoms, Kesgrave Hall, last week (7th February), where he was presented with the first Citan supplied by Orwell Truck & Van, the Mercedes-Benz dealer for East Anglia. It was one of two Citan 109 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Longs supplied by Orwell to SES, which plans to order another couple next month.
The Citan is powered by a frugal diesel engine with 75 hp, 90 hp and 110 hp power outputs, or a 114 hp petrol unit. Packed with clever features, it leads the small van market in terms of fuel efficiency, achieving up to 65.7 mpg and producing CO2 emissions as low as 112 g/km.
Panel van versions are available in three lengths – Compact, Long and Extra-long – and offer volume carrying capacities of up to 3.8 m³ and a maximum payload potential of 735 kg.
The Citan Traveliner is based on the Long wheelbase and has a folding rear bench seat, allowing it to carry the driver and up to four passengers. The Citan Dualiner, meanwhile, has the same seating configuration but, because it is based on the Extra-long format, also offers a practical cargo space.
Founded in 1977 as an electrical engineering contractor, SES now offers a comprehensive range of services, including fast-reaction support for operators of social housing schemes, nursing and residential homes throughout the South-East and South-West.
Sister operation Suffolk Fire Protection (SFP), meanwhile, specialises in fire prevention systems, emergency lighting and the provision and maintenance of fire extinguishers.
Between them SES and SFP operate a fleet of 40 vans, most of which are fitted with specialised racking and assigned to engineers. Although the line-up includes half a dozen Mercedes-Benz Vito models also supplied by Orwell Truck & Van, most of these vehicles are of a similar size to the Citan but by a rival manufacturer.
The new model’s launch could not have come at a better time for the company, which is about to open a second office in Bristol as a base for its operations in the region.
"This is a very exciting development for our business," explains Mr Dawe. "We currently have three field-based engineers working in the South-West and as they cover substantial mileages they will all be getting Citans, because reliability is crucial and we cannot afford breakdowns."
He continues: "The Vito is an excellent product, cost-effective to run and built to the exceptionally high standard you’d expect of Mercedes-Benz. In most cases, however, it’s just too big for our needs. The Citan offers all of the Mercedes-Benz virtues of comfort, economy, reliability and safety, but is also the perfect size for our operation, so I’ve no doubt we’ll be buying more over the months to come."
Mr Dawe adds: "I like my vans to look good on the road and Mercedes-Benz has a great brand image, while we also receive first class after sales support from Orwell Truck & Van – unlike other van dealers it’s a commercial vehicle specialist so can service our vehicles through the night, which means they’re always available for work when we need them."
James Russell, Van Sales Manager at Orwell Truck & Van, says: "The Citan is a very exciting addition to the Mercedes-Benz van range and we’re offering some highly competitive and flexible finance packages that can put customers behind the wheel for as little as £6.95 a day."