Tyrefix UK is reverting back to a fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters after experiencing problems when it switched to Ford Transits.

The Leicester-based plant tyre supplier said it had abandoned its established policy of using pre-owned Sprinters a little over a year ago to improve its image with a fleet of new vans.

Tyrefix UK operations director Tony Etheridge said: “We previously bought second-hand Mercedes-Benz vans and ran them into the ground. They always served us well but we decided it was time to smarten up our image by moving to a fleet of new vehicles.

“We were offered a very cheap deal by another manufacturer so we took the plunge – then endured a torrid year as up to seven vans a day broke down with a whole range of problems.”

Etheridge claimed Tyrefix could not get warranty cover for the new vans beyond 100,000 miles and described the standard of roadside assistance as “woeful”.

The firm is now gradually replacing the Transits and purchasing 75 new Sprinters from Leicester dealer Mertrux.

“The build quality is streets ahead of the vans they’re replacing,” Etheridge said.

Ford said it had conquested the Tyrefix contract from Mercedes in 2012 and sold 45 Transit panel vans to the firm between February 2012 and September 2013.

Ford also said it had registered Tyrefix with its Fleet Service Centre, which it generally only did for fleets of more than 100 vehicles. It said a misunderstanding over the lack of an extended warranty occurred and that it had increased the cover from four years/100,000 miles to four years/120,000 miles in August last year, but that subsequently just two more vans were registered.

Ford said an appointment was scheduled with Tyrefix, for whom Etheridge was the contact, for 27 November 2013, but that the customer had cancelled.

A Ford spokesman said: “We’ve tried to communicate with them more than they have with us.”