Operators of Mercedes-Benz and FUSO commercial vehicles in and around Birmingham can look forward to an even higher level of service when Midlands Truck & Van opens for business at a new, state-of-the-art dealership in the city.
Work on the £7-million project began late last year, and the Dealer is on schedule to welcome the first customers to its new home in Smethwick in October.
The Service department at its current base in Saltley opens at 6am each Monday and then remains so, round-the-clock, until 1pm on Saturdays. Once the new workshop is fully operational and nearing maximum throughput capacity, the business will review its shift patterns to establish the viability of a seven-day working week.
This potential extension to opening times, coupled with the fact that the new facility will be considerably bigger and better equipped than Saltley’s, means that Midlands Truck & Van is aiming to double the number of labour hours it sells each month.
As well as oversight of the final phase of construction and fitting out, the recruitment of additional technicians and parts specialists is therefore high on the agenda for Managing Director Steve Hunt and his Service Director Michael Carolan.
The dealership is taking shape on the Cornwall Road Industrial Estate. Previously the site of a steelworks, and then a plastics factory, the seven-acre plot offers plenty of room for displaying new and pre-owned vehicles available for purchase, and for customers to manoeuvre and park their own trucks and vans.
Midlands Truck & Van will also be the first member of the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle network to introduce a new customer experience concept which is already in operation at a number of Mercedes-Benz car outlets.
A far cry from the traditional truck and van dealership, the building’s open plan reception area has been designed and will be furnished in line with the latest Mercedes-Benz corporate standards. All visitors to the site will be greeted by dedicated hosts, then introduced to other members of the Midlands Truck & Van team with whom they will be able to discuss anything from a sales enquiry to a service booking in stylish, relaxed and comfortable surroundings.
The new building will also incorporate a Parts department which, at 650 square metres, represents a 25% increase on the shelf space currently available to the Dealer. As a result, Midlands Truck & Van will carry correspondingly wider and deeper stocks of the factory-approved spares it needs to keep vehicles on the road and earning for their owners.
The ‘beating heart’ of the development, though, will be the 1,580 square metre, drive-through workshop. Highlights for truck operators include an Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) at which inspectors from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will undertake annual MoT tests, an ADR bay allocated to work on fuel tankers and related specialist equipment for transporting hazardous loads, and another bay fitted with rollers for the installation and calibration of tachographs.
Meanwhile, Midlands Truck & Van’s own technicians will carry out MoT tests on light commercial vehicles in the Class 4, 5 and 7 categories, at times – night or day – best suited to customers.
In addition to these dedicated workspaces, routine maintenance and repairs will be carried out in a further 11 truck bays – each, at 24 metres, comfortably long enough to accommodate an articulated tractor unit and semi-trailer combination – and eight van bays.