Tuffnells has unveiled a cleaner, more modern version of its familiar ‘Big green parcel machine’ livery as part of its brand ‘refresh’ and longer-term investment plan. Fittingly, the first 10 vehicles to wear the smart new design are all state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Atego.
Purpose-designed for light- and medium-duty distribution applications, the Atego range from 6.5-16 tonnes GVW offers outstanding dynamics, comfort and manoeuvrability, as well as the durability necessary for intensive, multi-drop delivery work.
Stuart Godman, Commercial Director – Connect Group PLC (Tuffnells’ parent company), declared: “We’re delighted to be revealing our fresh new look, one that simultaneously recalls Tuffnells’ 104-year heritage while also bringing the brand into the 21st Century. Our trademark green is still instantly recognisable to customers, as is the familiar Tuffnells name, but by modernising the design we’re indicating we are moving with the times and continuing to invest in our company.”
The operator’s latest 7.5-tonners arrived via north-west Dealer Roanza Truck & Van. All are 816 models with S- ClassicSpace day cabs and fuel-efficient 5.1-litre engines, which transmit their 115 hp (156 hW) outputs via smooth, Mercedes PowerShift automated gearboxes. Their lightweight box bodies are by Lawrence David, of Peterborough, and fitted with 1,500 kg Anteo tail-lifts.
“We have made significant investment plans at Tuffnells, and the release of our new 7.5-tonne Atego is just one of the ways we’re continuing to support our customers,” continued Stuart Godman. “We have also invested £1m in new cargo nets, which further demonstrates our commitment to customer service.”
Roanza had already supplied Tuffnells with 22 Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks since Christmas. As with the latest batch, all are Lawrence David-bodied 816 variants. The leading B2B transport specialist for freight and parcels of irregular dimension and weight placed this breakthrough order following successful trials at its Norwich depot of a single 7.5-tonner, which was well received by drivers. Meanwhile, Tuffnells has also recently commissioned an 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos drawbar rigid, and is awaiting delivery from the same Dealer of a further three.
With the exceptions of half a dozen Actros tractor units which have been trunking reliably and efficiently between depots for the last 18 months, the 32 Atego it has acquired over the last seven months are Tuffnells’ first Mercedes-Benz trucks for many years. However, the operator’s fleet of more than 100 vans has long been dominated by Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, which it also sources from Roanza.
Tuffnells’ new Atego are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services operating lease, and have been rolled out to key locations. Most are based in Stafford, and are being inspected and maintained under contract by the workshop team at Roanza’s Stoke-on-Trent branch.
Simon Parsons, Head of Group Services at Connect Group PLC, explained: “The proximity of the local agent and the quality of its service – Roanza has been our preferred supplier on vans for the last couple of years – played a big part in our decision to populate this depot with new Mercedes-Benz Atego and Antos.”
He continued: “The Atego is competitively priced but the primary focus, given the demanding nature of the work and the fact that we anticipate running these trucks for up to six years, was on life-cycle costs, driver acceptance, and health and safety.
“Our 7.5-tonners typically cover 50,000 miles a year and make 50 collections and deliveries a day. It’s a tough job so naturally a comfortable, easily accessed and well-built cab is really important to the guys who use them. Feedback on the Atego has been entirely positive – it’s a very safe and driver-friendly vehicle.”
Mr Parsons added: “Roanza’s Fleet Sales Executive Paul Rowley serves as a single point of contact and is highly responsive, which is certainly helpful from our point of view. We’ll now be monitoring the performance and reliability of our new Mercedes-Benz trucks closely.
“Vehicle availability will be crucial, as ours is an intensive operation and we cannot afford unplanned downtime. I’m confident, though, that Roanza is up to the task, and will do whatever it takes to keep us on the road.”
Tuffnells was founded in 1914 by Harold J Tuffnell, with a single horse and cart and an investment of £100. In 2010 the company’s turnover exceeded £100 million for the first time and in 2014 – its centenary year – it was acquired by Connect Group PLC, a leading UK distribution and logistics provider which operates from a network of 76 locations nationwide.