The DAFs were supplied on lease through dealer Channel Commercials, of Ashford, and their arrival brings the share of DAF trucks over 3.5 tonnes in the 150-strong fleet to 90%.
The special liveried vehicle is an 18-tonne CF 290 FA 4x2 box van, which has a 6.9m wheelbase, a ZF manual gearbox, rear air suspension, and a cab with twin-sleeper Hi Roof cab conversion built by SBR Specialist Coachbuilders.
The cab has been specified with seating for a four-man crew when needed, with the arrangement also allowing a third crew member to sleep in the main cab area if required. SBR also built the special removal body, which features fixed side doors on both near and off-sides of the truck, as well as full side skirts.
“We have been shifting across to DAF for the past four or five years, as aftersales care levels dropped badly with our former preferred choice,” says Neil Bishop, chairman of the family-owned operator.
“This has been no hardship though, as the DAFs have proved a much better package. They are better value for money – including running costs as the Euro VI engines bed in – and, compared to the old brand, we find far less goes wrong with the DAFs.”
With so much urban work, the fleet spec is also changing to meet this demand. “It’s increasingly hard to manoeuvre, much less get comfortably positioned close to customers’ properties,” says Bishop.
“Fortunately, with the ability nowadays to get 12-tonne capability out of trucks little bigger in most respects than an old 7.5-tonne vehicle, we have a solution we can live with.
“A further benefit of the move to DAF and the fleet upgrade is that the growing number of LEZ, ULEZ and other regional clean air zones, are largely catered for by the newer trucks.”
The vehicles are expected to remain in service for ten years. Low mileage means they are easy to sell on, adds the operator: “There are always buyers for good quality used removals vehicles.”