August 22, 2017.
More than 40 years after it began trading, cold formed steel manufacturer West Mercia Sections has commissioned its first new trucks – and both wear the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz.
Smartly finished in metallic dark grey, the pair of 18-tonne Antos arrived via the Wolverhampton branch of Midlands Truck & Van. The vehicles have easily accessed ClassicSpace S-Cabs and, as 1824 models, are powered by 175 kW (238 hp) engines. Their maximum length, 28 ft dropside bodies, meanwhile, are by Fred Smith & Son, of West Bromwich.
West Mercia Sections serves the construction, security and electrical industries, with most of the rolled steel sections that leave its factory in Tipton being used to produce industrial doors.
The company, which was established in 1975 but can trace its roots back to the early 1960s, has always operated pre-owned trucks of various marques. Not only are the Antos its first new vehicles, but they are also its first by Mercedes-Benz.
Replacements for an 18-tonner and a 12-tonner, they are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire agreement. Their introduction coincides with the launch of a new growth strategy by West Mercia Sections.
Operations Manager Kris Rivett explained: “We’ve replaced the smaller rigid with a second 18-tonner so we can meet increased demand, while we’ve chosen new vehicles this time primarily for their low-emissions technology – more and more of our work is taking us into London now, and we wanted to be able to tell our customers that we’re using Euro VI trucks.”
The Mercedes-Benz Antos range is purpose-designed for heavy-duty distribution work. It comprises model variants with gross weights from 18 to 44 tonnes, all of which benefit from responsive, dynamic powertrains, allied to safe, assured driving characteristics. An instant hit with drivers Luke Harris and Steve Powell, West Mercia Sections’ new vehicles will each cover some 50,000 miles a year.
Midlands Truck & Van won the order in the face of competition from the local representatives of two other manufacturers. “The Mercedes-Benz Dealer’s Truck Sales Executive James Smith was very helpful,” recalled Mr Rivett.
“He committed the time to ensure that we chose the best specification for our operation, and put together the most attractive package, then liaised with the bodybuilder to ensure that the finished vehicles were delivered on time and as ordered.”
He continued: “The contract hire agreement is certainly competitively priced, and the off-balance sheet finance suits the gearing of the business right now. It also means, of course, that we can budget with confidence, knowing that our routine maintenance costs are covered.
“Indeed, Midlands Truck & Van’s after sales back-up, with its high, first-time MOT pass rates and the Mercedes-Benz Network’s round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance cover, was key to our decision.
“The Dealer is coming to us to collect the vehicles, then inspecting and servicing them overnight, before returning them the next morning. This customer-focused service is already making life a lot easier for us, and is a breath of fresh air compared to some of our previous arrangements.”
Going for growth: That’s West Mercia Sections’ Kris Rivett, left, with the two new Mercedes-Benz Antos and James Smith, of Midlands Truck & Van.