Van thieves thwarted by Mercedes PRO connect

Van rental specialist Eastgate Commercial Ltd has recovered a stolen Mercedes-Benz Sprinter thanks to the vehicle’s cutting-edge connectivity and a quick-thinking Dealer.

Ciceley Commercials traced the Sprinter by using the Mercedes PRO connect software, which is fitted as standard in the third-generation model range that hit the market last year.

Fast-growing Eastgate Commercial Ltd, which operates from headquarters in Wolverhampton, has acquired 20 Sprinter 314 CDIs. Following its usual practice, it fitted them with aftermarket tracking devices and security cameras. These were intended to protect the vehicles against theft, but criminals who stole one were a step ahead – having smashed their way in, they quickly found and ripped out the tracking equipment, rendering it useless.

“We feared we’d never see that van again,” recalled Buta Singh, who runs the business with his sister Baljit Johal. “We contacted Ciceley Commercials to let them know, but didn’t imagine there was anything they could actually do. The Dealer’s team were really on the ball, though, because they realised immediately that Mercedes PRO connect should be able to help.”

A stand-out feature of the new Sprinter range, Mercedes PRO connect relies on the vehicle’s 4G Internet connectivity to provide customers with access to a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services.

Ciceley’s Bolton branch Sales Manager Gary Bridge, with Service department colleagues, used the system to trace the stolen vehicle’s movements and tracked it down to a yard in Leeds. They informed Police officers who recovered the vehicle just 20 minutes later, virtually intact, save for the missing tracker.

“What a fantastic result!” declared Buta Singh. “The vehicle was clearly going to be shipped abroad or stripped down for parts. If it hadn’t been found so quickly, I’m sure we’d never have seen it again.

“It’s only thanks to Mercedes PRO connect and Ciceley Commercials that were able to recover our van and avoid what would have been a substantial loss. Once again, I have been left hugely impressed by Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the back-up services that come with them.”

By connecting companies with their vehicles, Mercedes PRO connect enables fleet managers to increase efficiency and productivity. As well as pinpointing its location in real time, the system monitors everything from the van’s maintenance status to the efficiency of the driver’s style at the wheel, and even the amount of fuel in the tank. It also provides high-level navigation and communication services, and allows fleet managers to control certain vehicle functions remotely.

New Sprinter’s completely redesigned cab interior also comes as standard with the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function as standard.

The Sprinter has always been recognised as the benchmark for safety in the van segment, and here, too, the latest version leads the way. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology – another industry ‘first’ – and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.

Ciceley Commercials is the newly-crowned Mercedes-Benz Vans Retailer of the Year. Steve Bridge, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, praised the quick actions of its team. “This is another great example of how, with class-leading vehicles and a willingness always to go the extra mile for our customers, we are striving to keep Britain’s van operators moving,” he said.

Eastgate Commercial Ltd was established just over a year ago. The company is committed to offering rental customers competitive rates coupled with first-class service and the finest vehicles on the market. This explains why it is an exclusively Mercedes-Benz operation. The fleet now numbers more than 200 Vito and Sprinter models, with a further 100 to be added soon.