Mercedes takes the biscuit

Ashby-de-la-Zouch, UK: United Biscuits, a leading European manufacturer of biscuits and snacks has ordered 15 Mercedes-Benz Axor tractor units after a trial to assess new vehicles. United now runs 27 Axors from its main depot in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, .

“We tested 6×2 tractors by five manufacturers,” says Bill Hooton, national transport controller. “The Axor was one of two vehicles to deliver the best fuel return of 9.5mpg, so we were delighted when Mercedes-Benz also came back with a very attractive finance package.” The vehicles are supplied on a five-year operating lease with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

The new tractors pulling new Cartwright temperature-controlled trailers – United Biscuits has recently acquired 58 of these – delivering to regional distribution centres of major supermarkets and other retailers.

The new tractors are 430hp Axor 2543LS models with high-roof sleeper cabs but the latest arrivals have 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift automated transmissions, now standard on all Axor tractor units. United earlier Axors has the nine-speed manual gearbox that is now an option.

“If it hadn’t already been made standard by Mercedes-Benz we’d have specified the automated ‘box anyway this time,” says Hooton. “As with every fleet, some of our drivers are more fuel-efficient at the wheel than others. By allowing the truck to optimise its own gear changes, we’re hoping the Mercedes PowerShift system will help to lift the rest much closer to the best in terms of mpg performance, while also reducing drivetrain wear and tear.”

United Biscuits recently put three of its most experienced drivers through a ‘Train The Trainer’ programme at Mercedes-Benz UK’s Wentworth Park Driver Training Centre in Barnsley.