Independent truck and trailer technician Dom Coia is endeavouring to rearrange a crucial meeting with a potential customer that was postponed when lockdown restrictions were introduced – he is convinced his comprehensively equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinter can help him to win the business and secure his future.
The Coventry-based Scot, who trades as Alpha Truck Services, has been running vehicles bearing the three-pointed star for 35 years, and a loyal customer of Midlands Truck & Van for more than a decade. Dom’s latest van, the fourth he has purchased from the Dealer, is based on a Sprinter 519 CDI L3 H2 designed for operation at a gross weight of 5.0 tonnes. As with his previous vans, though, it has been downrated to 3.5 tonnes GVW.
Dom chose this model for its heavier-duty componentry, including the twin rear wheels through which the 3.0-litre V6 engine’s 190 hp output is transmitted to the road. He also had the front axle uprated, to reflect the particularly arduous nature of his work, which takes him out in all weathers and at all times of the day and night.
Dom has remained busy throughout the coronavirus lockdown, helping to keep his principal customer’s parcels distribution fleet on the road. Working night shifts, he helps to maintain and repair up to 200 trucks and trailers at the company’s hub in North Warwickshire, while also attending roadside breakdowns at other times. Like so many others, though, his customer is now facing tough times, so Dom is keen to secure additional work during days and at weekends, including from the breakdown agency with which his planned meeting fell through.
Smartly finished in metallic silver with flashing LED lights in the grille and a roof-mounted beacon bar at the rear, his new vehicle carries a full complement of tools and spare parts, all of which are stored efficiently in new cabinets, as well as water and diesel in drums. It is also equipped with a 24V electrical system with separate battery and inverter.
Dom’s first van from the third-generation Sprinter range launched in 2018 offers a class-leading working environment with unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and comfort. Ground-breaking safety features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
To the vehicle’s extensive standard specification Dom has added a list of optional enhancements, including safety aids such as Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and fog lamps with cornering function, and others like Comfort seats with armrests for himself and a passenger.
Dom is also taking advantage of the Sprinter’s ground-breaking 4G Internet connectivity. The MBUX multimedia system with optionally upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen provides fully integrated navigation with Live Traffic, VAN-to-X Communication and 3D map display, plus “Hey Mercedes” voice command operation and full smartphone integration.
Cutting-edge Mercedes PRO connect vehicle management technology, meanwhile, includes security functions – including keyless coded entry – which appeal particularly to Dom, given that without the vehicle he cannot do his job.
“The cab of my new van is just beautiful, and the driving position, with lumbar support and arm rest, amazingly comfortable,” he enthused. “I choose Mercedes-Benz for the build quality and reliability of the vehicles, of course, but its leadership in the field of safety is also key to their appeal. I’m particularly impressed with Blind Spot Assist, which is a fantastic system, while as someone who works permanent nights shifts I also appreciate the reassurance that Active Lane Keeping Assist provides.”
Blind Spot Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert provides visual and audible alerts to help prevent accidents when changing lanes, or reversing. Active Lane Keep Assist alerts drivers when they unintentionally drift or leave their lane, intervening by braking if necessary.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, Dom’s Sprinter came with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and MobiloVan cover, which includes free round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance. “In my experience the manufacturer can always be relied upon to stand by its warranty, which provides complete bumper-to-bumper cover, with no grey areas,” he said.
Equally important, though, is the well-established relationship he enjoys with Midlands Truck & Van. “I wouldn’t dream of going to another Dealer,” Dom vowed. “Coventry Van Sales Manager Gez O’Reilly has devoted so much time to me over the years, and his colleague David McKay was every bit as helpful this time, going to great lengths to ensure that my new Sprinter is perfectly specified.
“They’re just as good when it comes to aftersales,” he continued. “You’ll get slight issues with even the best vehicles, but whenever one does crop up I know I can rely on the Service team at Midlands Truck & Van to resolve it and get my Sprinter back on the road as quickly as possible.”