GAP Vehicle Hire ‘stress tested’ the speed and efficiency of the emergency after sales back-up from Mercedes-Benz before ordering a new fleet of 78 Citan small vans.
“It was just good business practice,” explained Operations Director Jim Forrester. “People promise a lot in life, but we were about to make a substantial investment in these vehicles so it made sense to test the breakdown service before committing ourselves.
“We did so three times in different parts of the country, and I’m delighted to say that I couldn’t fault the response from any of the Dealers. This exercise, coupled with my previous experience in the industry, confirmed that when it comes to after sales support Mercedes-Benz is second to none.”
A division of the Glasgow-based GAP Hire Solutions plant and tool rental group, GAP Vehicle Hire was formed a year ago in response to demand from established customers, most of which operate within the utilities and construction sectors.
Targeting fleet rentals and long-term contracts, the new venture has embarked on an ambitious growth strategy and is about to open a second, vehicle hire ‘mega depot’ on a four-acre site in Manchester, with a third earmarked for London in 2017. These ‘hubs’ support a national network of 121 local branches.
The latest additions to GAP Vehicle Hire’s 1,000-strong van fleet, which already included a number of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and Citans, were 48 Citan 109 CDI Longs. They arrived via North-East Dealer Bell Truck and Van, which is currently processing orders for a further 30 examples of the same, highly fuel-efficient model.
“The rationale in forming the new division was to provide GAP Group customers with a ‘one-stop shop’ solution,” said Mr Forrester. “So now, as well as their plant, equipment and tools, they can also rent their vans from us.”
The company’s vehicles operate in the liveries of its customers. Mr Forrester continued: “Given the volumes involved and the duration of the contracts it is crucial that we have full confidence in the vans we supply to our customers, and that we keep them on the road.
“You only get one chance when you’re competing against the big PLCs so our service levels have to be better, and our products fit for purpose and exceptionally reliable. All of the feedback we’ve received from operators confirms that Mercedes-Benz vans tick both boxes, while they also command strong residual values – we’ve tested these too, and they were in line with expectations.”
Mr Forrester added: “We’re a very demanding business but Bell Truck and Van’s support has been first class. The Dealer has delivered on all of its promises – in one case, for example, we placed an urgent order for a van on the Friday and it arrived on the Monday, which was exactly what we needed.
“One of our key service differentiators is the speed and flexibility with which we can respond to customer demand; the Bell team have already proved their ability to support us in this respect, and we look to developing our partnership with the Dealer as GAP Vehicle Hire continues to grow.”
The family-owned GAP Group began trading as a plant hire company in 1969. In addition to GAP Vehicle Hire it also operates Plant & Tools, Lifting, Non-Mechanical Plant, Survey & Safety, Welfare, Tools & Access (London) and Event divisions.