Datum breaks the mould with first Mercedes-Benz vans
So attractive was the deal on offer from Mercedes-Benz Dealer Mertrux Truck & Van that instead of buying one new Citan as he'd originally intended, Datum Managing Director Paul Nelson took two.
It has proved a wise decision because not only have the smartly-liveried vans been well received by the company's drivers and customers, but they are also consuming half as much diesel as the vehicles it used previously to undertake the same work.
Operating from a purpose-built 25,000 sq ft production facility in Derby, Datum employs the latest CAD/CAM software and high-tech machinery to provide clients with a range of specialised manufacturing solutions.
The firm's roots lie in the foundry and associated engineering industries, to which it supplies patterns and models - vehicle concepts and prototypes in scale or full size, for example - as well as tooling. In recent years it has also developed a market-leading composites capability, and now specialises in the supply of a wide range of phenolic GRP products to train and rail infrastructure manufacturers throughout the world.
Given Datum's focus on precision engineering, the Mercedes-Benz Citan was the obvious contender for the new, more economical vans, which are now delivering pallet-sized items to customer locations as far afield as Tyneside and Kent.
It may be the smallest commercial vehicle ever to wear a three-pointed star, but the Citan is a big winner at the pumps. Fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures include the ECO start/stop function, low rolling resistance tyres, and optimised alternator and battery management systems. The result, in the case of the 90 hp Citan 109 CDI model chosen by Datum, is outstanding economy of up to 65.7 mpg in the combined cycle.
The Long-bodied Citans have lined-up alongside two dropsiders by another manufacturer. Mr Nelson explained: "Our older vehicles are getting tired and we realised, given the nature of the work, that a smaller, more fuel-efficient van would be more appropriate.
"The intention, initially, was to buy just one. However, business is good, and the package put together by Mertrux sales executive Tim Gough was so attractive that we decided to take two."
Datum has signed-up to a four-year Service Plan, which allows it to budget with confidence. "This agreement was reasonably priced and gives us the peace of mind which comes from knowing that our new vans are being maintained by factory-trained technicians fitting only Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts," said Mr Nelson.
"The Dealer can also service our Citans outside normal working hours, so they're always available when we need them, while the manufacturer's free MobiloVan cover, which includes round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance, was another important plus point."
He continued: "Tim initially approached us last year, then stayed in regular contact without ever being overly persistent and annoying. He's a nice chap, very attentive, and it was evident that he believes wholeheartedly in the product he's selling.
"Our Mercedes-Benz vans are proving every bit as fuel-efficient as we'd hoped," added Mr Nelson. "In fact, they're twice as economical as our old vehicles. The drivers are very pleased with them, too, while their smart liveries mean the Citans also double as effective mobile advertisements for our business.
"Ultimately, though, it's all about having the reassurance which comes from knowing we're running premium quality vehicles, and that we can rely on Mercedes-Benz and Mertrux to keep our business moving."
Pattern of progress: Managing Director Paul Nelson, with Datum's new Mercedes-Benz Citans