Aldens Specialist Catering Butchers takes pride from employing traditional methods of butchery that would have been used 200 years ago – but when it comes to its refrigerated vans the family-owned firm is at the cutting-edge.
Oxford-based Aldens is running its first four new-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, and will take delivery of a further five from the city branch of award-winning Dealer group Rygor Commercials before the end of the year.
The new vans are all medium-length Sprinter 314 CDI L2 H2 models with fuel-efficient 2,143cc engines which transmit their 143 hp outputs to the road via the rear wheels – the popular 314 CDI model is now also available with front-wheel drive. The subject of Mercedes-Benz Finance lease agreements, the vans were insulated and fitted with their GAH single-temperature refrigeration systems by Polar Truck & Van, of Westbury.
Launched last year, the latest Sprinter is a technological tour-de-force and, thanks to its 4G wi-fi connectivity, a genuine game-changer. Mercedes PRO connect offers a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services, while the Mercedes MBUX system adds cutting-edge infotainment.
Fast-growing Aldens Specialist Catering Butchers relies on its fleet of Sprinters to provide a six days-a-week delivery service to restaurants, hotels, conference centres, educational establishments – including both Oxford and Cambridge Universities – and other corporate customers.
Established in 1793 by Isaac Alden, the company traded from its shops in Oxford’s historic market until 1999. “We’ve been operating Sprinters for many years, primarily because they’re so reliable and robust,” commented Transport Manager Mike Nottage.
“We work them hard. Our vans typically cover 1,200 miles per week, but experience has shown that provided they’re properly serviced we can depend on them to withstand the rigours of the job.”
The latest Sprinter’s cab interior has been completely redesigned to provide a class-leading working environment offering unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and smoothness. Mercedes-Benz has also upgraded the vehicle’s market-leading standard safety specification, adding the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology – another industry ‘first’ – and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
Like all new Mercedes-Benz vans, Aldens’ Sprinters are backed by three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturers’ warranties, and come with Mobilo Van cover, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance.
“Breakdowns are rare but on the odd occasion that we’ve had a problem the response has been reassuringly efficient,” confirmed Mr Nottage. “Most recently, our driver used the app on his phone to contact Mercedes-Benz, and the local Dealer’s technician was on the scene within the hour.
“He’d already diagnosed the issue and collected the parts he would need, so within 90 minutes our vehicle was back on the road again. That was pretty good going, we felt. Having a van off the road costs us money, so the excellent MobiloVan back-up is key to the appeal of the Sprinter.”
Aldens’ Sprinters are serviced at Rygor’s Oxford workshop, while the Dealer also manages servicing of the vans’ refrigeration systems by Droitwich-based specialist Vanfridge.
Mr Nottage added: “The lease arrangement is competitive in terms of cost and means our vans are regularly updated – customers like to receive deliveries from smart, modern vehicles.”
Rygor Commercials Van Sales Executive Duncan Kelly said: “Aldens is a fantastic local company with a reputation for delivering the highest levels of customer service. I am delighted that Mike Nottage and his colleagues have chosen new Sprinter vans from Rygor Oxford to help them drive their business forward.”