Family-owned Alexander Windows is enjoying the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity after turning to the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz Vans retail network for a new fleet of vehicles equipped with ground-breaking PRO connect technology.
Part of the LSH Auto UK group, Mercedes-Benz Vans of Stockport has provided its near neighbour with eight smartly finished black Sprinters, which came with 4G internet connectivity as standard, as well as a pair of Vito models.
Established by proprietor Steve Wood and his wife Gaenor in 1991, Alexander Windows supplies and installs a broad range of tailor-made windows and doors for homeowners and trade customers.
The company took advantage of a Mercedes-Benz Finance funding package to acquire its first vans bearing the three-pointed star – Mercedes-Benz Vans of Stockport took back its previous fleet in part-exchange.
The Sprinters are 3.5-tonne 314 CDIs and powered by fuel-efficient 143 hp engines that drive the rear wheels – the same model is also available in front-wheel drive configuration. With the exception of a single long-bodied L3 variant used solely for deliveries, all are medium-length L2s, and allocated to Alexander Windows’ uniformed two-person installation teams.
The Sprinters have roof racks and external glass-carrying frails on one or both sides. St Helen’s-based fenestration sector specialist Supertrucks, a long-established supplier to Alexander Windows, fitted new roof racks, but removed the frails from its customer’s previous vehicles, then refurbished them prior to refitting to the Sprinters. The operator installs its own interior racking.
The two mid-sized Vito vans, a 114 CDI PROGRESSIVE and a 111 CDI PURE, are used by Alexander Windows staff responsible for undertaking surveys and service work.
The Woods’ daughter Emily and son Alexander – after whom they named the business – both also work for the family concern. Its decision to launch an innovative 360-degree interactive ‘virtual showroom’ during the lockdown has been instrumental in helping the company to maintain business levels through the pandemic.
Steve Wood commented: “The huge increase in the number of Mercedes-Benz vans you see these days has certainly helped to make the brand more attractive to me. When I started out and there were a lot fewer on the road, I always felt there was an issue in terms of perception – had you rolled up in a new Mercedes-Benz back then, prospective customers were likely to think you’d be too expensive.
“That no longer applies. It’s still a premium product, of course, and I’d like to think our new vans will only enhance our own reputation for quality and service. But no-one’s going to think you’re charging too much these days, simply because you run a fleet of Sprinters. On the contrary, it feels like the ‘go to’ vehicle now, for professional, well managed businesses like our own.”
Mr Wood continued: “I was genuinely surprised that the finance package put together by Mercedes-Benz Vans of Stockport’s Experience Partner Joe Heath was so competitive. In cost terms it was on a par with the deal we were offered by our previous supplier, but the Sprinter and Vito are far superior in terms of quality and technical specification, and have a better image too.”
He recalled: “I test drove one of the Dealer’s demonstrators and was really impressed with the comfort and quality of the cab. The engine was extremely smooth and quiet, and the whole experience was more reminiscent of a high-quality car then a van. What’s more, the in-built Mercedes PRO connect technology also allows me to manage my fleet without having to rely on a third-party system, as we’ve done previously.”
Mercedes PRO connect provides operators with a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services. As well as pinpointing its location in real time, the system monitors everything from the van’s maintenance status to the efficiency of the driver’s style at the wheel, and even the amount of fuel in the tank. It also provides high-level navigation, communication and security services, and allows fleet managers to control certain vehicle functions remotely. The Sprinter also comes as standard with the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function.
Meanwhile, the Sprinter’s reassuring armoury of market-leading safety features includes the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with another ‘first’ in the shape of pedestrian recognition technology, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
Mr Wood added: “The service we’ve received from Joe and his colleagues at Mercedes-Benz Vans of Stockport has been excellent. The Dealer arranged for the vehicles to be ply-lined, and for all of the Sprinters with the exception of the longest to be fitted with rear steps which are linked to the reversing sensors.
“The fleet looks amazing. We couldn’t be happier with our new Mercedes-Benz vans, and the same is true of the crews who use them.”