Norfolk civil engineering contractor Barconn is laying firm foundations for success after commissioning its first Mercedes-Benz vans.
The 26 vehicles were delivered to the Dereham-based company by Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, the manufacturer's representative in East Anglia.
They are now hard at work on construction sites across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Barconn undertakes a variety of contracts but its core business entails providing groundwork services for housing developers. It will typically be engaged at 20 or more locations at any one time.
The highly fuel-efficient 109 CDI version of the Citan – the smallest van ever to wear a three-pointed star – accounts for 23 of the new vehicles. All Long-bodied panel vans with the sole exception of an Extra-long crew van, which has a second row of seats, the Citans are allocated to foremen and excavator drivers, who use them to travel to and from sites, and to carry personal tools and equipment.
BlueEFFICIENCY measures such as the ECO start/stop function, low rolling resistance tyres, and optimised alternator and battery management systems, contribute to this model's impressive economy figure of up to 65.7 mpg in the combined cycle.
Completing the line-up are a pair of mid-sized Vito 111 CDI vans, which are employed for occasional movements of larger loads of equipment or materials, and a larger, 3.5-tonne Sprinter 314 CDI chassis cab with beaver-tail body for carrying small plant machinery.
Exceptional value for money and the promise of top-quality back-up from Orwell Truck & Van and its fellow Mercedes-Benz Dealers were instrumental in convincing Barconn to place its order.
Plant Manager Patrick Brooks recalled: "The Dealer's sales executive Phil Hutson persuaded our Director Tony Barker that he could put together a compelling package for us, and he duly delivered on that promise."
The proposal presented to Barconn was based on competitive funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, and included fixed-cost ServiceCare plans under which all routine maintenance would be covered by a simple monthly payment.
"We were also provided with a Citan for trial, and it performed very well," said Mr Brooks. "The demonstrator was clearly built to a high standard and was very well received by colleagues who used it.
"The funding agreement represents excellent value, while we were impressed, too, by the Dealer's aftersales provision. As a commercial vehicle specialist, Orwell is geared up to meet the needs of a business like ours. For example, the fact that its workshops operate through the night means it can service the vans outside our own working hours, thereby minimising downtime."
Barconn runs a total fleet of 60 vans. Its new Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been filtering through in twos and threes since last October, and the first now has 22,000 miles on the clock.
"These are still early days, but we've already seen enough to be confident we made the right choice," continued Mr Brooks. "Our new vans are doing really well. We've not had any issues, although the fact that they're backed by three-year, unlimited mileage warranties, and came with MobiloVan 24-hour emergency breakdown cover, also gives us great peace of mind."
Barconn was founded in 2000 by Directors Tony Barker and Spencer Connett; 18 years later annual turnover has grown to £25 million and the workforce to 150 people. The company takes pride in its commitment to safety – all staff undergo training through the Construction Industry Training Board and are registered with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.