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Bond’s drivers are neither shaken nor stirred by Mercedes Actros

8th July 2011 Print
Mercedes-Benz Actros

Transport Manager Ian Addis was a dyed-in-the-wool manual gearbox man – until he tried the 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated system fitted to his company’s five new Actros tractor units.

“I always thought a ‘stick’ was best,” he admitted. “But occasionally I take a truck out myself and I have to concede that Mercedes-Benz have that auto ’box just right – it makes for a very smooth ride indeed. No wonder our drivers are smiling these days!”

Mr Addis works for Bond Group, the UK’s leading manufacturer and refurbisher of refrigerated display cabinets and vending machines, with headquarters in Sheerness, Kent, and regional operations in Falkirk, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon and Telford. The company’s impressive customer portfolio includes the likes of ASDA, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury and Tesco.

Its new tractor units are all 4x2 Actros 1846 models with flat-floored MegaSpace cabs. Fitted with Daimler FleetBoard telematics systems, they are the subject of a three-year contract hire deal with supplying dealer Sparshatts of Kent.

The trucks are plated for operation at 32 tonnes gcw and pull curtainside trailers with Moffett Mounty fork-lifts. They are used to transport refrigerated cabinets, some of which Bond Group supplies on a rental basis for use during peak periods.

The company decided to switch to the three-pointed star after trialling an Actros demonstration unit.

“We don’t have a big staff turnover and as our lads can be away from home all week we were keen to reward them for their loyalty by providing them with decent equipment,” explained Mr Addis.

“So we ensured that all of our artic drivers had the opportunity to try different vehicles and while others fell by the wayside without exception they all liked the Actros.

“The drivers have personalised their Actros by naming them after their wives, girlfriends and daughters. It’s a bit of fun and as they take pride in the appearance of their trucks it means the company benefits too.” 

While Sparshatts is maintaining three of the Actros, the two others are based at Falkirk and Stoke and serviced by the local Mercedes-Benz dealers.   

Mr Addis continued: “The contract hire package on offer from Sparshatts was certainly competitive and although these are still early days I like what I’ve seen of the dealer so far – the service from sales executive Martin Kemsley and his workshop colleagues has been very good.”

In addition to its Actros tractor units Bond Group also runs nine rigid trucks of various sizes, among them a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego. Established in 1976 and privately-owned by its management team, Bond Group provides a comprehensive service that includes installations, project management and parts manufacturing and supply.

The company has invested heavily over the last decade in new, environmentally-friendly technologies such as energy efficient fans and coils that have reduced its customers’ operating costs by up to 50 per cent.

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Mercedes-Benz Actros