City Plumbing has taken delivery of 51 bespoke Luton bodies from Bevan Group, based on 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van.
The same model accounts for the overwhelming majority of its 500-plus Lutons and panel vans.
Part of the Travis Perkins Group, City Plumbing operates from headquarters in Northampton and a network of more than 350 branches throughout the UK, which serve the trade and DIY markets.
The new vehicles are working from locations nationwide and make the majority of deliveries directly to residential locations at which plumbers, heating engineers, bathroom fitters and other tradespeople are working.
Fleet operations interface manager at City Plumbing, Craig Kenyon, said: “We depreciate our vehicles over seven years, so we need a body that can withstand rigorous use over that entire lifespan. We still have Lutons on the fleet that left the Bevan Group factory 10 years ago and look great to this day.”
He continued: “Bevan’s five year-warranty represents a commitment that we value highly. It's reassuring to know that the manufacturer is prepared to stand by its products and processes to such an extent.”
City Plumbing also relies on Bevan Group’s Aftercare Response division to provide planned and round-the-clock emergency back-up for all of its vehicle bodies, as well as ancillary equipment such as tail-lifts – the new Lutons are equipped with 500kg Dhollandia column lifts, with integral safety rails.
A consultative design process between customer, bodybuilder and dealer ensured that the latest vehicles are perfectly specified for their role.
Bevan’s relatively high bodies have low floors and, crucially, the 2.4-metre rear apertures needed for loading and unloading pre-plumbed hot water cylinders, which cannot be laid down or tilted during transportation.
Wellingborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van supplied heavy-duty Sprinter chassis cabs that meet Euro VI emissions regulations, rather than Euro 6 versions on which the requisite height would not have been permissible.
City Plumbing’s first full vinyl wrap liveries were applied by Elliott Signs, of Castle Donington, while the Sprinter 314 CDIs are powered by fuel-efficient 2.1-litre engines that produce 143hp and 330 Nm of torque.
All are rear-wheel drive long L3 variants, with the sole exception of a medium-length L2 with front-wheel drive, which is now working from City Plumbing’s depot in Oban, on Scotland’s west coast.
As this vehicle is less than 6 metres long deliveries to the islands of The Hebrides are economically viable, because the ferry operator charges for crossings at the light goods vehicle rate; if it exceeded this length the much higher commercial vehicle rate would apply.
Kenyon said: “Sales director Roy Shelton and his colleagues were confident they would get our builds so they saved us some production slots, and the vehicles were ready when we needed them.
“The fact that this was achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic reflects the quality of the relationships between our two companies.”