Tesco stores across Northern Ireland have begun to receive deliveries from the retailer’s first new Mercedes-Benz tractor units to enter service in the province.
The eight 4×2 Axor 1840s have replaced vehicles by another manufacturer. They are now working alongside the 37 other tractor units and half a dozen fridge-bodied rigids which, together with 115 trailers, constitute Tesco’s Northern Ireland fleet.
The line-up includes a number of other Mercedes-Benz vehicles but all of these are on standard UK registration plates, having previously operated on the mainland.
The latest order represents another significant step forward in a process that has seen the manufacturer and its dealer, Newtownabbey-based Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI), steadily increase their share of Tesco’s local fleet over the last few years.
Key to this pattern of progress has been Tesco’s successful operation of the reigning Motor Transport Fleet Truck of the Year – a title the Axor also won on two previous occasions in the last six years – in England, Scotland and Wales.
Axor 1840s powered by 400hp engines dominate the retail giant’s fleet – this year alone Tesco has ordered 538 new units and it now operates some 1,800 in total.
"We know how well the Axor performs," confirmed Nigel Baranowski, who leads Tesco’s Engineering Support Department. "Our experience over the nine years since its introduction has confirmed the Mercedes-Benz Axor to be exceptionally reliable and highly fuel-efficient.
"But it’s not just about ‘the metal’, as we’re looking for a complete package in Northern Ireland. So we will now be monitoring closely the performance of Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) to see whether it can deliver the very high quality of back-up that we expect."
The dealer’s Sales Director Julian Brown added: "We are delighted and very proud to see Tesco’s first brand new Mercedes-Benz trucks in operation on the roads of Northern Ireland. This order represents a fantastic opportunity and we are determined to do all we can to build on this platform and develop our relationship with this most prestigious of customers."