Dorset-based businesses have welcomed the opening of an impressive new facility dedicated to the maintenance and repair of vans from the award-winning Mercedes-Benz range.
Sandown Van Centre is located just off the main A3049 on Vantage Way, Mannings Heath, Poole. It represents a first venture into the light commercial vehicle arena by the Sandown Group, which has been serving Mercedes-Benz Passenger car customers for more than 40 years and does so today from nine retail outlets across Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire.
Managing Director Gavin McAllister said of the latest addition to the Group’s portfolio: “Our new van centre demonstrates Sandown’s sincere commitment to growth and investment in the powerful Mercedes-Benz brands. This is an exciting opportunity, and we are determined to exceed the expectations of the customers we are privileged to be serving.”
Developed on a site used previously by a luxury yacht business, the 12,000 sq ft building has been finished and comprehensively equipped to a level that exceeds even Mercedes-Benz Vans’ industry-leading standards.
At its heart is a state-of-the-art workshop with six ramps and space for another couple, should they be required. There is an alignment bay for specialist work on suspension geometry, and an MoT lane in which tests on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Vito and Citan models in the Class 4 and 7 categories are undertaken.
With battery-powered eSprinter and eVito variants already proving popular, and the new eCitan due to reach the UK next year, Sandown has addressed the inevitable growth in demand for zero-emissions transportation. As a Mercedes-Benz Electric Van (EV) Centre, the Poole facility is equipped with four AC charging stations, while pre-wiring has been installed for another three, one of which will be a rapid DC point.
As their vehicles are being worked on visitors can relax in a comfortable and contemporary reception area, complete with wi-fi access, LED screens, and ‘bean-to-cup’ coffee and other refreshments. For those who are unable to wait, or even to get to the site, the Sandown team also offers Drop & Go and Collection & Delivery services.
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ decision to appoint Sandown Group as its latest Authorised Repairer follows the closure by another franchisee of its own premises in Poole, and focus on a new Dealership in Southampton, some 30 miles away. The Sandown Van Centre is now serving an area that extends northwards to Amesbury, and as far as Yeovil in the west and Southampton in the east.
In line with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ ‘Keeping businesses moving’ pledge, the Retailer’s team also provide free MobiloVan emergency roadside assistance to drivers encountering issues with their vehicles while travelling in the region.
Sandown has already recruited half a dozen technicians and its van workshop is open from 8am until 6.30pm on weekdays, and until 1pm Saturdays. However, the company plans at the earliest opportunity to extend hours of operation into the evenings by introducing a split-shift system with up to 16 technicians. Ultimately, the new centre could create up to 30 jobs.
Charlie Charman, Head of Aftersales at Sandown, confirmed: “There was huge demand for a Mercedes-Benz aftersales provider in Poole, and we were perfectly placed to deliver a convenient and high-quality service built on dedication and professionalism.
“The new team are relishing the opportunities they now have to welcome van customers to our exemplary facilities and treat them to experiences they might have expected to receive from a Mercedes-Benz Passenger Car Retailer.”
Sam Hancock, Transport Supervisor at Ringwood-based wholesaler Comax, oversees a fleet of 21 Sprinters and is highly positive about the Sandown Van Centre. “Mercedes-Benz Vans issued a product recall very recently, which meant that a number of our vehicles had to go in for a software update,” he recalled.
“The Dealer managed the process efficiently and flexibly around our needs, so that we swapped a vehicle each day until it was complete. It’s a very smart, professional set-up, but they’re really nice people too, so we couldn’t be happier with the service.”
Windows, doors and conservatories specialist Polar Glaze, of Wareham, runs five Sprinters and a single Vito, which it chooses for their image of prestige and quality, as well as more practical attributes such as reliability, fuel-efficiency and safety.
Director Peter Rogers reported: “We’ve had vehicles in the new centre already for some basic work and, in one case, more in-depth attention. The service was fantastic – Sandown kept us fully informed all the way through, while the facility itself is very welcoming and customer-friendly.”
Derek Clelland, Head of Network Operations at Mercedes-Benz Vans, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Sandown as our newest franchise partner. The Poole Van Centre has restored brand representation to an important area, and aligns perfectly with our Future Network Strategy, under which the Mercedes-Benz Vans business is adapting to meet the demands of an evolving market.
“Sandown’s investment in this outstanding facility underlines its long-term commitment to providing Mercedes-Benz van customers with the timely, efficient aftercare they are entitled to expect.”