Mercedes-Benz Vans has appointed Joanna East as its new national rental manager, as the brand aims to strengthen its foothold in the fleet market.

East has spent 20 years in the automotive industry and has worked for manufacturers, including Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Prior to joining Mercedes-Benz Vans East was head of bids and fleet business development at What Van? Award-winning converter, Bott, and will report into Ricky McFarland, head of strategic accounts for the brand.

McFarland welcomed the addition to his team at a time when the company has just posted its eighth consecutive year of growth, while the firm also has a number of new models due in the next few years, including Mercedes’ first-ever pick-up, the X-Class, which is based on the Nissan Navara.

“Mercedes-Benz Vans has an impressive offering – not just with its existing vehicles, but with the new technology that it is introducing, as well as the dedication and commitment of both head office and dealer colleagues,” East said. “I am therefore looking forward to working with them all, building upon existing customers relationships while creating new ones and ensuring Mercedes-Benz Vans remains the ‘go-to’ brand.”

Her appointment comes as the brand has launched its first-ever national television advert in order to support its message that it is championing van drivers and keeping the country moving.

The 30-second clip includes a woman in labour in a Sprinter ambulance, a Citan-driving engineer and a couple in a Vito Taxi.

Due to air for three months from 13 March on Sky AdSmart and on social media, the advert can be seen below.

“Our brand advert highlights that vans and their drivers are an intrinsic part of our everyday lives, delivering food, goods, services and people. I am very proud that at Mercedes-Benz, we are leading the way in championing this vital part of our nation.

“Keeping businesses moving benefits everyone, so to be part of that process, alongside our Dealer Network, our customers, and our customers’ customers, makes me extremely proud,” said Steve Bridge, MD of Mercedes-Benz Vans.