Halfords has embarked on a programme that will lead, ultimately, to the roll out of a new fleet of up to 150 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters for use by Mobile Expert technicians who provide convenient, easy-to-arrange car maintenance services at customers’ homes or workplaces.
Motorists in London are the latest to benefit from the retailer’s new service, following successful trials in Manchester, Surrey and the West Midlands. The introduction of five new vans in the capital, means Mobile Expert is now available to cover nearly a third of all UK households.
The new Sprinters will be delivered by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, as the concept is introduced nationwide. Like those already in service, all will be 314 CDI H2 L2 models and fully kitted out as ‘workshops on wheels’, with diagnostic technology, tyre-changing equipment, powerful compressors, storage for batteries, and other tools and spares.
Convenience is at the heart of the Halfords Mobile Expert offer (www.halfordsmobileexpert.co.uk/). The customer can book online one or more of 11 different motoring services. A highly trained technician will then arrive at their home or workplace within hours, to carry out the work.
Mobile Expert Director Karl Baker explained: “Drivers have always had to go to their local garage to get these jobs done. But people are leading increasingly busy lives, so now we’re taking our expertise directly to them.
“Whether their battery goes flat or windscreen wipers stop working, they need an interim service or a tyre change, or a paint chip needs repairing or a dash cam fitted, these and many other tasks can all be undertaken by one of our Mobile Expert technicians.”
Mobile Expert’s Sprinters are powered by fuel-efficient 143 hp engines that drive the rear wheels – following the launch of the third-generation Sprinter range last year, the 314 CDI is also now available with front-wheel drive.
Its latest vans are operating from a depot in Greenford, west London. Working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, each is expected to cover in the region of 500 miles a week. The performance of those vehicles which took part in the previous Mobile Expert trials was key to Halfords’ decision to entrust Mercedes-Benz once again, with this vital role in the development of its new venture.
“They have lived up fully to the Sprinter’s reputation for reliability and highly competitive running costs,” confirmed Mr Baker. “Given the nature of our business, uptime is crucial. The Sprinter is not the cheapest vehicle ‘up front’, but we believe its capable of staying on the road longer than any other van model, and therefore represents the best value on the market.”
Equally important, was the suitability for the job of the medium-length, high-roofed Sprinter variant. “It’s the perfect size for our equipment, and allows out technicians to stand up in the back while they’re working,” he said.
Mr Baker added: “Intercounty Truck & Van’s National Business Development Manager Michelle Fairclough provides a first-class service. When we’ve had the odd issue, as you’ll always get from time to time, she’s jumped on it straight away and ensured a satisfactory resolution. That, for me, is the measure of a good and trusted supplier.”
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has always been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and once again the latest model leads the way. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with ground-breaking pedestrian recognition technology, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
External revisions are relatively modest, but the cab interior has also been completely redesigned to provide a class-leading working environment offering unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and smoothness.
New Sprinter is also a technological tour-de-force, with 4G Internet connectivity delivering the most advanced manufacturer solution yet seen in a van. It comes as standard with the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function. Mercedes PRO connect, meanwhile, offers a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services.