Three and a half years after investing in its first Mercedes-Benz tractors, Bristol-based DB International has switched its entire truck line-up to the three-pointed star.
The UK and European haulier initially acquired three Actros from City West Commercials, which represents Mercedes-Benz Trucks in the South West. Now the same Dealer has delivered three more, which have replaced units by two other manufacturers.
Smartly finished in white with red highlights, the new arrivals are all 2545 models with range-topping, flat-floored GigaSpace cabs. Colour-coded bumpers and door mirror covers, alloy wheels, light bars and beacons ensure they are turning plenty of heads, while Style-Line interiors which employ chrome-effect trim and other enhancements give the cabs an up-to-the-minute ambience.
The trucks’ fuel-efficient, 12.8-litre, OM471 straight-six engines produce 330 kW (450 hp) and drive through smooth Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmissions.
While his first Actros certainly impressed DB International proprietor David Bryans with their economy, it was their bullet-proof reliability that ultimately convinced him to return to City West Commercials with a follow-up order.
“They sold themselves,” he asserted. “We’ve been running our original Actros since November 2013 and haven’t suffered a single breakdown. The Mercedes-Benz emergency roadside assistance system and manufacturer’s warranty provide comprehensive cover, but we’ve never had to call on them.
“Apart from planned maintenance, we’ve had one warning light come on. I called City West and they took the truck straight in, rectified the fault and had it back on the road within a couple of hours. That quality of service is priceless.”
He continued: “The vehicles are well liked by our drivers, while their fuel performance is great too. Our work varies a lot, so averages go up and down. However, I recently sent two drivers on a run to East London. On the return journey I challenged them to see how high they could push their fuel economy figure. The winner managed 14.1 mpg. He was hauling polystyrene, so was very lightly loaded, but that’s still a remarkable return. We don’t have figures for the new tractors yet, but with their updated engines I have every reason to expect they’ll be even better.”
Like their predecessors, the latest Actros are equipped with optional Predictive Powertrain Control systems. PPC is an innovative cruise control that employs 3D mapping and GPS data to scan the road ahead. Armed with this topographical information it manages gear changes and vehicles speed, making full use of the truck’s momentum and of the transmission’s EcoRoll function.
DB International’s trucks undertake a variety of tasks, frequently working with the operator’s Euroliner, curtainside and platform trailers. These are equipped with tail-lifts and underslung Palfinger Crayler remote-controlled, four-wheel drive forklifts, which are housed between the landing legs and the first axle. During the summer months the trucks’ duties will include delivering large marquees and power, sound and lighting equipment to concerts and music festivals.
The operator acquired its latest units with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Like all new Actros, they came with two years’ free Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance cover. “The finance rates are very competitive, and I have the option of extending the R&M when the first two years are up,” said Mr Bryans. “I’ve already done so with the contracts on the first three trucks, because they are so cost-effective.”