The highly sought-after Van Dealer of the Year award for 2021 goes to Rygor Commercials. Established as a family business in 1960, the company became a service dealer for Mercedes-Benz in 1986. Now claiming to be the largest dedicated dealer group for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles in the UK, the company has 11 branches throughout southern England, with outlets in Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, west London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Covid-19 has been a major challenge to all commercial dealers, but Rygor quickly adapted to the new normal, allowing customers to continue to buy vehicles at a time when demand has been at its highest. A spokesperson says: “We appreciate that purchasing a new van is a big decision and many customers want to try before they buy, but may currently feel uncomfortable doing so, which is why we launched contactless test drives. After booking online, our team confirms the demo date and time pick-up (or we’ll deliver). Our demonstrator is thoroughly cleaned and prepared in PPE before the customer drives the vehicle. To limit contact even further, if desired our team follows up via phone/video call post-test drive to discuss how it went and help secure the right vehicle for the customer.”
One customer testimonial praises the firm for offering “a fantastic experience”.
“I bought with confidence,” the testimonial continues. “The Citan was prepped and thoroughly cleaned down, ready for me to do a contactless test drive. I have never been out on a test drive on my own, but I found it great. The team were so friendly at Rygor and I could see the site being cleaned regularly (and between each customer visit) whilst I was there, which gave me real confidence that they were taking the safety of their customers and their team seriously.”
Citing customers who need to accurately specify a vehicle for their particular requirements, the Rygor spokesperson explains its sales process: “Right now, many customers want to secure their next van from the comfort of their own home and are utilising our online chat function and booking system. Customers can also browse our new and Approved-Used Mercedes-Benz stock, and reserve immediately with just a £250 deposit. If nothing in stock matches their requirements, our online configurator allows customers to build a van exactly to their specification, before sending it over to a member of our expert LCV sales team to add any finishing touches and finalise. We understand that, especially right now, a quick turnaround is essential for our customers.”
After investing £462,000 on training in 2019, the company reaped the rewards in an unprecedented 2020. “[This year] has hit businesses dramatically,” says the spokesperson “and although we’ve faced challenges we could never have imagined, throughout it all our team’s been incredible and has delivered first-class customer service. In addition to strong vehicle sales, our parts sales are 94% pre-Covid levels, and labour hours 98% pre-Covid levels. It’s our team which makes us strong, successful and makes us a van dealer who sets standards for our customers.”
The Highly Commended Van Dealer of the Year award goes to HTC Van Centre. Established in 1970 in Watford under the Vales Group of companies, the firm now trades across southern England in Croydon, Belvedere, Heathrow, Reading, Oxford and Hemel Hempstead, and in the north at the Trafford Van Centre. HTC is a Fiat Professional dealer, offering the full range of new and used vans.
The pandemic has seen the company deliver over 400 vans to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, supporting the NHS at a critical time.
Aftersales has also been a vital element in keeping key workers and services operational, and HTC has been instrumental in ensuring that delivery vehicles are kept on the road at a time when many people have been reliant on goods and services being brought to them. Also, 24-hour servicing has been available when required, reducing downtime during the working day.