Features & Interviews

Recent dealership developments: new sites and takeovers

11 January 2024 #Features & Interviews

Over recent months there have been a number of developments in the truck and van dealer world, with announcements of several dealer sites opening and takeovers of existing businesses revealed.

For example, Alltruck Group recently put the finishing touches to an extension and upgrade project at its workshop, located between Falkirk and Grangemouth, and just yards from the M9 motorway.

It follows the firm’s appointment, in July 2023, as a member of The Mercedes-Benz Trucks Authorised Repairer Network, to provide support to heavy vehicle operators in the Central Belt of Scotland and beyond.

The new workshop sits on a secure 15-acre site and features eight full-length bays, two of which have inspection pits.

Its staff of 22 technicians, which includes three apprentices, work across round-the-clock shifts from Monday morning to Friday evening, as well as all day on Saturdays, and plans are already in place to add a dedicated ATF lane early this year.

Extra employees have also been taken on to look after the depot’s stock of Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts.

Alongside these developments, the company has recently undertaken an intensive programme of staff training and recruitment.

Alltruck is an independent all-brand service agent, including for Fassi Cranes, and as its workshop the company runs a truck rental business, with a fleet of more than 300 vehicles.

Martin Shaw, Managing Director of Alltruck Group, said: “Joining the Mercedes-Benz network as an official Authorised Repairer has taken us to the next level.

“We’ve effectively created an entire parts department from scratch. Previously most of our parts were delivered as needed, now we hold an extensive stock with a team of seven specialists to manage it.

“We’ve also taken on extra administration, reception and warranty staff, as well as increasing our roster of technicians,

“The result of all this is that while we were previously looking after around 200 operators, that number has now risen to close to 500.”

Also, in November 2023, Guest Truck and Van revealed its £4m 28,000 sq ft facility in Bushbury, Wolverhampton on the site of an abandoned bingo hall.

The new location accommodates group company Vehicle Lining Services (VLS), which carries out specialised fit-outs for vans and trucks, including compliance packages for the London FORS scheme.

Coupled with the existing Wolverhampton Guest Truck and Van branch, the facility will enable the company to better address the demand for Iveco trucks, Fiat Professional vehicles, along with used trucks at the original Wolverhampton site.

The building also incorporates solar panels and two commercial vehicle inspection pits on the remnants of a former railway maintenance yard.

Rob Spittle, Managing Director of Guest Motor Group said with the substantial rise in the use of alternative fuels in commercial vehicles over the past year, it has been designed to operate sustainably while servicing eco-friendly vehicles and fleets.

He added: “Our objective in reviving this former bingo hall site was to demonstrate our commitment to the local community as well as the progressive trends in commercial vehicles.

“By embracing emerging technologies like electric and alternative fuels, we’re ensuring our services are in lockstep with the industry’s trajectory.”

Meanwhile, North West Trucks – part of the Greenhous Group, one of the UK’s largest DAF dealer groups – has invested £2m in a new dealership in Warrington close to the M62 and M6 motorways.

The facility features a nine-bay workshop to maintain and service all makes of truck, trailer and van, and it is planned to operate 24-hours, seven-days a week, supported by round-the-clock parts through TRP.

Services include vehicle inspection, servicing, tachograph calibration, MOT preparation, dedicated bays with Davie diagnostics, air conditioning re-gassing and brake testing.

The new site joins the existing North West Trucks sites located in Huyton, Northwich, Ellesmere Port and Wigan.

Peter Brabin, depot manager at North West Trucks in Warrington, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for North West Trucks, enabling us to broaden our service offering to our existing customer base and support more vehicle operators in the local area.

“In addition to the new site, having another DAFAid support point on the map will enable us to reach our customers quicker to keep their businesses moving.”

Last summer, in another development involving the manufacturer, Motus Commercials announced the addition of Solway DAF to its portfolio,

“We remain committed to delivering the exceptional levels of service that local operators have enjoyed from Solway DAF for many, many years.”

DAF Trucks has revealed its next steps for equipping its UK dealer network to support operators in their uptake of electric vehicles.

Key among the UK-wide investment is the commitment from all 34 DAF Truck Sales Centres to become DAF certified Electric Truck Centres with specialist electric truck infrastructure, trained technicians and fully equipped workshop facilities to diagnose, service and repair DAF electric trucks.

The company will focus on helping customers transition to zero emissions.

This will be through a consultative sales process delivered by Battery Electric Truck Specialists and Battery Electric Charger Specialists.

At least one locally based DAF electric truck demonstrator will also be available for customer evaluation, supported by access to a national demonstrator fleet which includes choice of configurations and body types to suit a broad range of applications.

DAF Trucks’ participation in the recent Battery Electric Truck Trial (BETT) has been instrumental in the manufacturer’s development of its own electric truck strategy.

Each DAF Electric Truck Centre will provide fast charging capability with a minimum of a 180kW DC charger, while other DAF Service Centres will be equipped with a minimum 24kW charger in their workshops.

Parts ‘packs’ to support DAF electric trucks will be held at DAF Dealers, with additional parts available at PACCAR Parts Distribution Centres, primarily at Leyland, Lancashire, for UK operators, and also across the continent.

Adam Bennett, EV & Sustainability Manager at DAF Trucks said: “We’re right on track ready for the deployment of electric trucks into the market.

“We’ve assessed the market, gauged customer acceptance, performed cost analyses and we’re confident that we’re transitioning the DAF Dealer network at the right pace.”

With such investments in new facilities, dealer groups are continuing to demonstrate that they should be able to provide truck and van customers with high levels of customer service over the coming years.

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