AT the UK launch for the new Vito van, we grabbed Mercedes Vans Managing Director Steve Bridge, to ask him about the new Mercedes Vito van and how it might fit in with small businesses, trades and SME van fleet operators.
“For me SME buyers are an interesting bunch, we have a lot of emphasis on big fleet and retail which is taken care of in showroom environments.
All of the things we’ve put on the new Vito are designed to help businesses understand, that whilst they might think that the van is just a tool, it’s actually an extension of the workplace
“SME people are forgotten about in many respects, so I’ve put a team together to deal with that, a team of four people that cover the country dedicated to SME business. Their job is to support the dealers and of course, the new Vito compliments the full range, including the Citan and the Sprinter.
“All of the things we’ve put on the new Vito are designed to help businesses understand, that whilst they might think that the van is just a tool, it’s actually an extension of the workplace. A lot of the large fleet probably understand that, but once SMEs get into the position where they employ another person and have to put them in a vehicle, they’re responsible for their well-being, so the new Vito is loaded with more safety kit.
“From a fuel performance perspective, the new Vito will be best-in-class. The proof is in the pudding for any operator of course, but it is certainly from what we can see. The seven-speed automatic gearbox for example, actually gives better fuel performance than the manual. Again, a lot of people in the van industry will shy away from two-pedal transmissions because they’re nervous of it, but in the car world, it’s quite commonplace.
“So why choose the Vito? Well, from a safety perspective, a service interval perspective and a fuel performance perspective, plus the choice of body length, wheelbase, engine size and for the first time ever – we’ve got front-wheel drive or rear wheel drive as an option choice, it’s a top pick for SME buyers.
“Additional to this, we have a network of dealers that specialise in Vans. We are no different there from our competitors. However we’ve introduced a new initiative called VanPro. VanPro as a product, is designed to ensure that our existing dealer partners who maybe do trucks as well as vans, are actually geared up to deal with the demands of the van operator.