British Gas has ordered 520 Ford Transit vans for its central heating installation engineers.
As the UK's largest central heating installer, British Gas chose the Ford Transit primarily for its class-leading economy and low emissions, provided by its Dagenham-built 125PS 2.2-litre TDCi diesel engine.
The Ford Transit also enabled British Gas operators to achieve significant cost savings by recycling the bespoke racking systems fitted to their existing Transit models.
Another advantage was the superior security offered by the Transit's large load capacity, which enables awkward loads to be accommodated inside the van, rather than on external racking.
Colin Marriott, fleet general manager, British Gas, said: "It was a no-brainer really, the vans used by our central heating installation engineers are a vital resource for them and they love the Transit. When we asked, they said: ‘Give us the same again, please'.
“On top of that, by sticking with the same body shape, we have been able to take fantastic advantage of being able to recycle all the racking systems, saving tons of steel, energy and a lot of money."
The vans also meet the company's sophisticated vehicle whole life cost model, which also determines the replacement timing for its vehicles.
All the Ford Transit vans being supplied are 330 medium wheelbase, medium roof models, equipped with air-conditioning, speed limiter and winter tyres, enabling the engineers to carry out their work in the toughest of environments. Thirty-two of the vans will be four-wheel-drive versions, which will be located strategically around the country by British Gas, for use in the most severe weather.
Stephen Gafson, Ford's direct sales manager, said: "It is with good reason that the Ford Transit is known as Britain's favourite van, and this new order from British Gas underlines the affection in which the vehicle is held, not only by the end user, but also by fleets looking for versatility and value."