Soaring smart sales in Britain have spelled good news for Preston-based Grayston Automotive – it has just won a prestigious contract to distribute the innovative two-seater city car throughout the UK.
The decision of smart brand owner DaimlerChrysler to award the business to Grayston Automotive represents the beginning of another new chapter in a remarkable success story.
It was in 1988 that farmer Andy Grayston, frustrated by the limited opportunities in agriculture, launched his new venture with a single rig. "I’d always been interested in trucks and when I saw a trailer advertised I decided to give it a go," he recalls.
Today, just 14 years later, Grayston Automotive runs a fleet of 80 car transporters, the majority of them DAFs and Volvos. The company also has 15 operating centres nationwide, and contracts with the likes of Mannheim Car Auctions, Isuzu and Vauxhall.
Latest additions to the fleet – and purchased from Bolton dealer Ciceley Commercials before the new smart distribution contract was confirmed – were eight 4x2 Mercedes Actros low roof height tractors. All 400bhp 1840 models, they are working with the latest generation EuroLohr trailers, which are capable of carrying 11 standard cars, but no fewer than 13 smart!
Running out of DaimlerChrysler UK’s import centres at Purfleet and Immingham, the Actros are expected to deliver some 14,000 smart in their first year to Mercedes-Benz passenger car retail outlets throughout Britain.
Managing Director Andy Grayston continues: "The first new truck I ever bought was a Mercedes SK but it was quite heavy and not particularly fuel-efficient. The Actros is a different vehicle altogether; it’s a modern, well proven product and initial driver reaction has been very positive.
"Although these new trucks are the first Actros that Grayston Automotive has owned, we have managed some on behalf of a client. Those trucks have proved very reliable and cost-effective to operate, which explains in part why we chose to place our latest order with Ciceley Commercials and Mercedes-Benz."
John Baker, Truck Sales & Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz, adds: "Andy Grayston has built a thriving car distribution business in a remarkably short period of time. With his striking livery, and up to 13 smart on board, his new Actros transporters are sure to turn heads wherever they go."Published 17 March 2003