Replacements for vans it has now stood down, all are long L3 316 CDI models with fuel-efficient 163 hp engines which drive the rear wheels – in addition to well-established 4x4 variants, Sprinter customers can now specify front-wheel drive versions too.
Priority Transport operates from Exeter Airport Business Park and offers a comprehensive portfolio of general distribution, logistics, haulage and storage services, as well as time-critical sameday courier shipments. The company works throughout the UK and Europe while also undertaking local deliveries within Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.
Every one of Priority Transport’s 14 vans, and all but two of its nine trucks, wear three-pointed stars. Managing Director Steve Brown established the business in 1995, and recalled: “We ran Sprinters from day one, but committed exclusively to Mercedes-Benz vans a couple of years later and have not looked back since.”
Priority Transport acquired its previous light commercial vehicles from the former
Mercedes-Benz Vans sales franchisee for the South-West. Following its appointment by the manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter, which is part of the Snows Motor Group, began trading in January 2018.
The new Sprinters wear ‘personalised’ PTL registration plates. First to enter service were a quartet of high-roofed H2 panel vans. Having been insulated and fitted with GAH fridge units by Somers Refrigeration, of Norwich, three of these vehicles are assigned to the operator’s Priority Chilled division, which specialises in the distribution of ambient, chilled and frozen goods, including temperate pharmaceuticals.
Completing the consignment were a pair of chassis cabs, which have curtainsided Luton bodies by JC Payne (UK), of Walsall, West Midlands – one has ‘barn’ doors, the other a full-closure tail-lift.
“We like to run vehicles with a good cross-section of specifications, so we’re well placed to meet varying customer demands,” observed Steve Brown. ‘Standard’ vans remain on the fleet for three years, refrigerated ones for up to five.
With the exception of a single small Citan, Priority Transport’s vans are all Sprinters. Mr Brown continued: “The Sprinter has always led the market in terms of its reliability and durability, but we also value highly the Mercedes-Benz back-up and warranty.
“Our vehicles can easily cover in excess of half a million miles over three years, so the fact that they’re covered throughout this period by a warranty which has no mileage limit is very reassuring.
“Likewise, the MobiloVan package, which includes free emergency roadside assistance. We work our vans hard and given the distances they’re covering even the best product is going to suffer a breakdown at some stage. It’s good to know that when this happens, wherever we are, and whatever the time of day and night, Mercedes-Benz will send out a factory-trained technician in a fully-equipped van.”
While external revisions are relatively modest, the latest Sprinter features a completely reworked cab interior which combines class-leading style, practicality and quality. The result is the most car-like driving experience yet seen in a van, one that offers unrivalled levels of comfort, quietness and smoothness.
The Sprinter breaks new ground, too, thanks to its 4G Internet connectivity. Mercedes PRO connect offers a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services, while the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system incorporates a user-friendly voice control function that responds to “Hey Mercedes!” followed by the command, in conjunction with Navigation.
Mercedes-Benz has also introduced more innovation to the Sprinter’s industry-leading safety armoury. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system, which incorporates ground-breaking pedestrian recognition, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
“The new model is great to drive and some of the technology is fantastic,” said Steve Brown. “Looking to the future, I’m certainly interested in the connectivity angle, and in seeing how the data provided by the PRO connect system can help us to run our vehicles more efficiently and safely.”
Although it had not previously purchased vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter, Priority Transport has been relying on the workshop team at the Dealer’s base in Marsh Barton to maintain its Sprinters and Citan.
“I can’t fault the service,” added Mr Brown. “They collect and return our vehicles, and have provided us with loan vans when we were particularly busy, which was much appreciated. Corporate Sales Manager Nicola Townsend was also very helpful when we came to order our new Sprinters, while the Mercedes-Benz Van Centre’s smart new showroom is highly impressive.”