Mercedes-Benz’s UK van boss Steve Bridge has welcomed the return of a healthy van market, but warned that the firm is now seeing lead times begin to rise on certain models for the first time since 2007.
“We’ve been selling from stock, but in 2007 we were selling to customer order,” he said, revealing that chassis cabs are currently in a sell-to-order situation. “It’s brilliant because it’s a warm feeling in terms of a buoyant market with pent-up demand being released,” he continued. “Chassis cabs and Sprinter vans are currently a nice problem to have, we’ve been asking for extra production, which is something we have not done for five years.”
Bridge also extolled the virtues of Mercedes’s service approach with regard to roadside assistance. “Other manufacturers use third party breakdown service and we don’t, we use our own network for a particular reason,” he said. “Attendance time is one thing, but repair at roadside is the most important.”
“I’d want my van fixed, not picked up and shipped to a dealer that is closed or can’t work on it for three days,” he concluded.