Mercedes provides Tesco with additional Sprinters for driver assessments

Mercedes-Benz Vans has loaned 15 Sprinters to Tesco so the supermarket can to continue carrying out driver assessments.

Demand for online grocery shopping has grown significantly since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, pushing resources to their limits.

Tesco has recruited 12,000 extra pickers and more than 4,000 new drivers in the last 12 weeks.

Usually, Tesco temporarily reassigns vans from its home delivery fleet to assess new drivers. However, given the unprecedented volume of online orders now requiring fulfilment, all of these vehicles are needed to serve customers.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has therefore provided 15 Sprinters on a loan basis for a minimum of three months, and longer if needed. Allocated to assessment hubs nationwide, nine of these vehicles are new, the other six being pre-owned examples.

As standard panel vans, they cannot be used to make home deliveries. But they are perfectly suitable for driver evaluation purposes. Crucially, this frees-up front-line units for the home delivery work that is’s priority.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinters account for approximately half of the 5,000-plus vehicles on the delivery fleet. This year alone the manufacturer will supply 1,105 new 314 CDI chassis cabs, which are being fitted with insulated bodies by Solomon Commercials and Thermo King refrigeration systems.

Tesco has taken various other steps to manage the enormous surge in demand, including increasing its order for new Mercedes-Benz vehicles and retaining others that would normally have been stood down after five years’ service.

It is not essential, though, to use a vehicle for driver evaluations. The company’s focus is on assessing the ability of each candidate to handle a 3.5-tonne van safely and responsibly. It is therefore irrelevant as to whether or not that van is refrigerated.

Mercedes-Benz Vans managing director Steve Bridge said: “Our commitment is always to do whatever it takes to keep our customers’ businesses moving. This is particularly important during the pandemic, though, when those businesses are providing essential services and their own customers include some of the most vulnerable in society.

“ is a perfect case in point, so we were delighted to work with its team to ensure they are able to evaluate new drivers who will go on to serve even more people through this most challenging of times.”

Fleet News May 28 2020 issue

In the May issue

Working on the frontline in the Covid-19 pandemic

The experience of fleet managers and key workers who have stepped up during the height of the pandemic to save lives and keep the country running / p28

The 'forgotten' lockdown 'knights

Freight needs overlooked as authorities prioritise measures to promote cycling and walking / p75

Daf Trucks makes plans for post-Covid-19 future

Market leader expects an impact on parent company's results. But stresses it has strength to ride out storm / p78

In-cab cameras

Putting the blame where it belongs / p80

FTA advice

Protect home workers. Out of sight cannot mean out of mind / p85

Tomorrow's fleet

Target 2050: Delivering net zero emissions / p16

Electric fleet

ULEV project: Results of the Nottingham experiment / p22

Post Covid-19: Getting the post lockdown right / p27

In the spotlight

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service/Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service: Working as one is better than two / p52

Today's fleet: Post Covid-19

Coronavirus webinar: Expert panel answers all your 'what happens next?' questions / p60

Negotiating: The 'why' not just the 'what' / p62

Finance and loans: Coronavirus cash options for business / p64

Fleet News debates: Roundtable talk focuses on EVs / p66


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