Vehicle distribution specialist QVD Fleet Services has marked a 10-year association with Mercedes-Benz by investing in a new car transporter bearing the three-pointed star.
The Actros 2444LS is operating from QVDs base in Tring, Hertfordshire, and is capable of carrying up to 11 Mercedes-Benz saloons.
The truck arrived via Hatfield dealer S&B Commercials as a 6x2 tractor unit with small-wheeled mid-lift axle. It was then sent to leading bodybuilder Transporter Engineering, of Halstead, Essex, which fitted a drawbar coupling and its latest Evo 4 car-carrying bodywork; Transporter Engineering also supplied the new trailer with which the Actros works.
Its low cab height and a mid-lift axle with 17.5in wheels that free up useful extra space for bodywork and ancillaries, make the Actros ideally suited to car transporter operation.
Introduced last year, the new axle is some 250kg lighter than that fitted to standard 6x2 Mercedes-Benz tractors, which have 22.5in wheels; it also has a lower weight rating (4.3 tonnes, compared to the standard 7.1 tonnes) but can still be specified on vehicles operating at 44 tonnes gcw.
Transport Engineering, meanwhile, has incorporated additional hydraulic controls for safer loading of vehicles, ABS anti-lock braking on the trailer, a roll stability system (RSS) and the first Wabco smartboard to be fitted to a UK car transporter this provides quick and easy access to a mass of valuable data on driver and trailer activity, including axle weights and potentially critical fault codes, information that could only previously be obtained by plugging in a laptop computer.
QVD distributes some 40,000 Mercedes-Benz cars a year. It works for the manufacturers wholly-owned used car retail sales operation Mercedes-Benz Retail Used Cars, which has a network of showrooms across the UK; it also delivers pre-owned vehicles to the franchised Mercedes-Benz retail network, and collects vehicles for return to Mercedes-Benz from leading fleet customers Avis and Enterprise.
QVDs fleet includes a dozen Actros transporters, all of which are equipped with microwave ovens and fridges, CB radios and upgraded stereo systems. Our drivers are invariably out in their trucks for a few nights each week so we like to make life as comfortable as possible for them, says QVD Managing Director Vic Cole, whose latest truck also came like all BlueTec Euro 5 Actros with a Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission.
Like QVDs other Actros, the new vehicle will be serviced by S&B Commercials under a five-year Mercedes-Benz repair and maintenance contract. I have a great deal of faith in the three-pointed star and in its dealer, Mr Cole continues.
Im convinced Mercedes-Benz trucks offer the best overall package in terms of whole-life costs theyre reliable, fuel-efficient, and popular with our drivers, while I was also very pleasantly surprised by the values they commanded at auction when I recently stood down 10 Actros after five and six years of operation.