Truck rental giant Hill Hire has ordered a new fleet of 140 Mercedes Benz vehicles – among them its first Axor tractors – together worth £5.5 million.
The deal is a significant breakthrough for Mercedes Benz and its Bradford dealer Northside Truck Centre, which have supplied Hill Hire with vehicles in the past but never in such numbers. The first of the trucks are already in service, with the remainder due to be delivered before the end of the year.
The line-up includes 50 high-roofed Axor with 430bhp 12-litre straight six engines – half are 4x2 1843 models, the remainder are 2543s in 6x2 configuration. Built specifically for the UK fleet market, the Axor was launched at the CV Show in Birmingham last May.
Adam Fairbotham, Operations Director with fast-growing Hill Hire, explains: "We always endeavour to offer our customers the latest products so took a good look at the Axor while we were at the NEC and liked what we saw. It’s a much simpler, more straightforward truck than its Actros stablemate and, as such, better suited to our spot hire operation.
"Although we have run Actros successfully in the past, and indeed continue to do so, when your vehicles are being placed in the hands of several different drivers every week you want them to be as uncomplicated, easy to operate and easy to mend as possible. The Axor fits the bill perfectly and I’m sure it will prove to be very successful."
In addition to its new Axor, Hill Hire is taking 90 Mercedes Atego rigids with either curtainside or GRP box bodies, a proportion of which will be put to work on long-term contracts. Of these, 50 are 18-tonne 1823s with Dhollandia tuckaway or Ratcliffe column tail-lifts, the remainder being 7.5-tonne 815s with the Dhollandia units.
"We run a number of Atego already," continues Mr Fairbotham. "It’s a proven product in which we have every confidence."
Based in Bradford, and with 10 locations nationwide, Hill Hire has enjoyed a period of rapid expansion since its acquisition by the Bank of Scotland (now the Halifax Bank of Scotland) in 1999. During that time the size of its fleet has increased by more than 400 per cent, so that today the company operates more than 3,000 trucks between 7.5 and 44 tonnes gvw, and 9,000 trailers.
"We’re successful because we give the market what it wants: good quality equipment at attractive prices," adds Mr Fairbotham. "We are also committed to providing the very highest levels of customer support, which is why all of our locations have purpose-built workshops, some with MoT test lanes, and why we have our own team of 24-hour mobile service engineers."
Ian Jones, Managing Director for Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles in the UK, declares: "Hill Hire is one of the biggest and best names in truck rental so we’re naturally delighted to have won such an impressive order.
"I am particularly encouraged that yet another high-profile operator has chosen to invest so heavily in our new, no-nonsense Axor tractor. Demand for this important addition to our product range is outstripping all expectations, which only serves to confirm that we now have the right vehicle for the task."Published 1 November 2002