Unbeatable whole life costs, ease of use and driver appeal are among the benefits that persuaded secure parcel delivery specialist Nightspeed Services to invest in a £6-million fleet of 300 Mercedes Sprinters.
The vans, all long-wheelbase 311CDI models, are being supplied by dealer North Manchester Commercials and serviced within the Mercedes Benz network.
The latest phase of the order was for 94 vehicles, all of which are the subject of two-year contract hire deals with DaimlerChrysler’s in-house commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management arm, Mercedes Benz CharterWay.
They are joining the first 102 Sprinters, which were purchased outright by Nightspeed last year. The third and final tranche of vehicles will be on the road by the end of 2002.
Nightspeed drivers typically make up to 60 collection and delivery ‘drops’ a day, so having an easy to use, manoeuvrable vehicle is of paramount importance.
"The Sprinter’s whole-life costs cannot be beaten," declares Nightspeed Managing Director Ian Pickford. "Its maintenance needs are minimal and we are currently getting 30mpg. It is particularly impressive and safe in town, with good visibility and an excellent turning circle, as well as being easy to get in and out of, with the dash-mounted gear shift allowing effortless cross-cab access."
He continues: "The kudos for the drivers is also tremendous – give a driver a Sprinter CDI and they are delighted!"
Nightspeed’s Sprinters have an upgraded specification to the company’s own design, with a host of specialised options. All are fitted with speed limiters, set at 75mph, which contribute to lower fuel costs and a reduction in speed-related accidents. In addition, the limiters assist with the planning of delivery routes, since consistent speeds can be achieved by all drivers.
The vans are also fitted with safety rear bumpers and reverse sensors, which have reduced rear damage accidents. Other features include high-strength anti-burst slam locks, bulkheads and no rear windows, on-board communication, and real time POD equipment for tracking delivery schedules and updating head office with details of the load remaining on the vehicle after each delivery. Vans now entering service are also equipped with immobilisers.
Nightspeed Services Ltd is an independently owned express parcel distribution network and was the subject of a management buyout last July, securing 1,100 jobs. The company also runs four Mercedes Actros 1840 tractor units plated at 31 tonnes, for long haul trunking. It has been voted ‘UK Secure Parcel Carrier of the Year’ by the Institute of Transport Management for the last two years. The company, which has 22 depots nationwide, is fully accredited to ISO 9002 and its entire operation is managed via a state-of-the-art IT system.
Keith O’Connor, Nightspeed’s UK Fleet Manager, recently won Fleet News magazine’s prestigious Fleet Manager of the Year for operators with more than 250 vehicles.
Peter Lambert, Sales & Marketing Director for Mercedes Benz Vans, declares: "In the highly competitive world of parcels delivery, Nightspeed are right up there with the very best. And when it comes to the cut and thrust of multi-drop distribution operations, there’s no better vehicle than the Mercedes Sprinter."Published 11 October 2002