AS one of the oldest members of the construction and industrial machinery leader’s franchised dealer network, Gunn JCB knows all about the importance of fast, efficient customer back-up – which explains why it is now running its first Mercedes-Benz vans.
The company’s 30 new Sprinter 314 CDIs are being kitted out as mobile workshops and allocated to service engineers who work from its headquarters in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, and nine strategically located depots across western England and Wales.
Surrey, Sussex and north Hampshire Retailer Rossetts Commercials is supplying the vehicles – its Business Development Manager Tracey Stewart has won recognition from Mercedes-Benz Vans for her determined and ultimately successful pursuit of the prestigious order.
Key to Gunn JCB’s decision to switch from its previous supplier was the Sprinter’s reputation for ‘bullet-proof’ strength and reliability. Coupled with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ commitment to ‘keep businesses moving’, this gave it the confidence to place its trust in the three-pointed star.
Gunn JCB Aftermarket Director Tim Simcock explained: “Given the high standards of support that we promise to customers, we simply cannot afford unplanned downtime within our own service fleet.
“We spoke to a couple of fellow JCB dealers about the Sprinter, as well as to operators of our construction machinery who also run vans, and the feedback was resoundingly positive; no-one had a bad word to say about the vehicle.”
The subject of comprehensive Service Care agreements arranged by Rossetts Commercials, the vans will be maintained at the most conveniently located Mercedes-Benz workshops. “With night-time servicing, vehicle collections and deliveries, courtesy vehicles, and 24-hour MobiloVan emergency roadside assistance, it adds up to a reassuringly comprehensive aftercare package,” observed Mr Simcock.
All medium-length L2 variants, Gunn JCB’s Sprinters are being fitted with Edström racking to carry tools and spares, and will each cover up to 30,000 miles a year. The Sprinter 314 CDI is powered by a smooth and fuel-efficient 2,143cc common-rail turbo diesel which produces 143 hp, and in Gunn JCB’s case drives the front wheels. As previously, this popular model is also available in rear-wheel drive configuration; front-wheel drive variants were introduced last year, with the launch of the third-generation Sprinter range.
Hailed as a technological tour-de-force, new Sprinter employs 4G Internet connectivity to deliver the most advanced manufacturer solution yet seen in a van. The cab interior has also been completely redesigned to provide a class-leading working environment offering unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and comfort.
The Sprinter has always been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and here, too, the latest model leads the way. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology – another industry ‘first’ – and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
New Sprinter comes as standard with the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system. Mercedes PRO connect, meanwhile, offers a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services.
Tim Simcock continued: “Our previous vans have been equipped with telematics and we’re now relying on Mercedes PRO connect technology to provide us with data on the location and maintenance status of our Sprinters, as well as on the way in which they’re being driven; if the system highlights any issues in style at the wheel, these can be addressed through training.”
Gunn JCB operates a total fleet of approximately 100 vans, and he predicted: “If all goes well with this first batch of 30, as I’m optimistic it will, we would envisage replacing the remaining units with Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
“The Sprinter is a premium product, so was slightly more expensive ‘up front’ than our previous van model. However, we’re confident that we’ll more than recoup the additional capital outlay through its more competitive ‘whole-life’ costs, including the higher residual values that Mercedes-Benz vehicles command.”
Rossetts’ Tracey Stewart last year landed a breakthrough order for 22 Sprinter vans from another JCB dealer, Greenshields, which is based in Farnham, Surrey, and has six depots throughout the South-East.
In February Tracey won the Managing Director’s Award for Customer Dedication at
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ annual celebration of excellence within its franchised retail network, for the “dedicated hours of work” she put in before Gunn JCB committed to its first investment in Mercedes-Benz vans. “Tracey drove countless miles and had numerous early morning motorway breakfasts, so she could attend a succession of procurement meetings and undertake a full day of demonstrating to the business stakeholders,” said the nomination.
Tim Simcock added: “Tracey has provided a first-class service, with very high levels of communication. It’s evident from our experience that she does genuinely care, not only about her customers, but also about the brand and the Dealer she represents.”
With roots that date back to 1890, Gunn JCB has represented the manufacturer since 1958 and is now one of the largest and most successful JCB dealers in the world.