Three bespoke-bodied 8.55-tonne FUSO Canters are oiling the wheels of success for a West London-based business which ascribes every bit as much importance to its social and environmental credentials as it does to profitability.
As well as supplying vegetable oil to restaurants, takeaways, caterers and the like, Proper Oils collects their used and waste oil then recycles it at the headquarters in Southall to which it moved recently. The oil is then sent on for refining into high-quality biodiesel, which is used as low-carbon fuel.
Managing Director Stephen Hurton, who celebrates the 10th anniversary of his company in 2017, purchased his first two Euro VI-engined Canter 9C18s last spring. They arrived via the Heathrow branch of Mercedes-Benz Dealer Group Rygor – the German manufacturer's franchised network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular FUSO light truck range in Britain.
So impressed has Mr Hurton been with the chassis' exceptionally high, 6.0-tonne body and payload allowance, coupled with its compact 'footprint' – the 8.55-tonne variant is similar in size to its modestly-proportioned 7.5-tonne sibling – that he has now returned for a third.
All three trucks wear a new, eye-catching livery, by design studio CEMYK, of Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. They are powered by economical 3.0-litre engines which transmit their range-topping 129 kW (175 hp) outputs via fully automated DUONIC dual clutch transmissions.
Their purpose-designed box bodies, meanwhile, are by TLC Auto-Refinishing, of Feltham. They feature roller shutter doors on the nearside as well as the rear, perforated false floors with bunded areas beneath to capture spilt oil, 1,000 kg DEL column tail-lifts and storage under the vehicles for Proper Oils' delivery trollies so the wheels stay clean of oil.
The company's 8.55-tonners carry up to four tonnes of oil in containers of varying sizes. The Canter's cab-over-engine design and compact dimensions mean the trucks are also extremely agile, a big advantage given the high-street locations of many of Proper Oils' customers.
For optimum safety, the company has also specified each vehicle with a lane departure warning system which alerts the driver should it drift out of its motorway lane without the indicator being used, a reversing camera, and warnings to aid cyclists and the driver when turning left.
Hurton explained: "We take pride in providing our customers with a top-quality service at a fair price, adding value by quantifying the economic, social and environmental benefits of our work."
Proper Oils has previously operated a pre-owned 7.5-tonne Canter. "So we know all about the vehicle's inherent strength and reliability," he continued.
"These new trucks have enabled us to increase efficiency within our cooking oil delivery and waste oil collection service, by adding more 'drops' to each route. They are superbly manoeuvrable and very easy to drive, while the DUONIC gearboxes also help to improve safety by leaving our staff free to concentrate fully on traffic conditions, rather than worrying about which gear they're in.
"What's more," he added, "the Canters look fantastic in our new colours and are already helping to raise our profile – customers can certainly see them coming!"
Hurton was quick to praise Rygor's Gavin Duffy, a past winner of the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Truck Sales Master of the Year award. "Rygor are clearly ahead of the game compared to their competitors when it comes to customer service," observed Hurton. "Gavin has looked after us fantastically well throughout; he recommended the bodybuilder and has liaised diligently with the various parties involved."
Said Duffy: "Rygor's commitment to Setting Standards meant we were able to provide Proper Oils with vehicles which are perfectly tailored to their unusual role, and which complement the operator's ethical, sustainable ethos. Stephen and his team run a great business and we wish them all the best as they prepare to mark their 10th anniversary."