Distribution general manager Dave Higgs, who is responsible for Blakemore’s 300-strong truck fleet, explains that the firm had not previously operated Mercedes-Benz trucks.
“With the new emissions regulations fast approaching we embarked on a year-long evaluation exercise and, having heard good things about its product at Euro 6, decided to include a new manufacturer by inviting Mercedes-Benz to take part.”
Equipped with Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard telematics and fuel-saving Predictive Powertrain Control technology, the Actros demonstrator was based at Blakemore Logistics’ HQ in Willenhall, Wolverhampton.
“It did particularly well: at just under 11 mpg the truck was competitive in terms of diesel consumption, and used significantly less AdBlue than its competitors,” recalls Higgs.
“It was also totally reliable and well received by our drivers,” he continues.
“Our tractors deliver to some very tight locations which is why, as well as standard 13.6m trailers, they also pull shorter, urban versions with 10.6m and even 8.1m lengths.
“The fact that drivers who used it also found the Actros to be highly manoeuvrable was therefore another big plus point.”
Blakemore Logistics’ new Actros tractor units are plated for operation at 34 tonnes gcw. They will be inspected and serviced under seven-year Mercedes-Benz R&M contracts at Mercedes-Benz dealer Rossetts Commercials’ Eastbourne workshops.
The 18-tonne rigids – bodies under construction at Truck Engineering, of Wednesbury, West Midlands – will be on cash and carry duties and work out of Cardiff and Swansea, where they will be maintained by dealer Euro Commercials (South Wales).
“This order was all about the total package. We conducted an extensive whole-life cost analysis, factoring in the level of back-up to which Mercedes-Benz has committed, the R&M rates and the convenience of the dealer locations,” says Higgs.