Time is money for plant operators so when one calls to raise the alarm over a broken down digger or excavator, specialist repairer TD Bowles needs to know its engineer’s van will get him to the scene as quickly as possible.
The family firm has been relying exclusively on Mercedes-Benz vehicles since 2000 and today runs one example from each of the three model lines that together make up the manufacturer’s award-winning range. All were supplied and are maintained by Hampshire and Dorset Dealer Pentagon Commercials.
Based in the Hampshire village of Cowplain, near Waterlooville, TD Bowles serves civil engineering companies and other users of heavy site equipment throughout southern England.
Its Mercedes-Benz Citan, Vito and Sprinter are smartly liveried with matching chrome grilles, and offer the all-important reliability the company needs, as well as being practical, cost-effective to operate, comfortable and safe.
Latest to arrive was the mid-sized Vito. An Extra-long 119 BlueTEC model, it is used by Managing Director Tony Bowles, who runs the company in partnership with his wife Julie. Specified with Comfort seats, the Vito has a range-topping 2.1-litre engine which delivers a sprightly 190 hp yet consumes significantly less fuel than its equivalent predecessor – economy is up by around 14 mpg. This advanced powerplant complies with stringent Euro 6 emissions regulations and is paired as standard with a smooth-shifting 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission.
The couple’s 19-year-old son Sam joined the business earlier this year and his ‘daily driver’ is a dynamic Citan Sport 111 CDI. The Citan is the smallest van ever to wear a three-pointed star and the Long-bodied Sport variant features a number of visual enhancements, including colour-coded bumpers and door mirrors, daytime driving lights, chrome sidebars and tailgate trim in addition to the grille, and 16-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels. Inside, meanwhile, Citan Sport customers ride in air-conditioned comfort and get a leather-trimmed steering wheel, Sports mats and badging.
Sam’s van also has an impressively fuel-efficient engine, which produces 110 hp – the Citan Sport is also available as a 109 CDI with 90 hp output, and both are capable of returning an outstanding 61.4 mpg on the combined cycle.
“Sam’s just starting out so handles the smaller jobs, which means he doesn’t need to carry a huge collection of tools and spares,” explained Mr Bowles. “He loves his Citan. It’s the perfect size, and very economical, so we don’t have to worry about him racking up a big fuel bill.”
Completing the line-up, long-serving engineer Richard McClemens drives the company’s biggest van, a 3.5-tonne Sprinter 316 CDI Medium. This was supplied in 2015 with a Premium Pack, which comprises air conditioning, a satellite navigation module and a Comfort seat with armrest, as well as stylish wheel trims and the chrome grille.
Tony Bowles, who founded his business 20 years ago, said: “We bought our first Mercedes-Benz van from Pentagon in 2000 and have remained loyal to both the brand and the Dealer ever since.
“Given the nature of our business we recognise and appreciate high-quality engineering, and Mercedes-Benz vans are as well-built as battleships. We’ve had a series of Sprinters down the years and despite the fact that we often have to venture onto rough sites they’ve proved outstanding reliable.
“Mercedes-Benz also leads the market in terms of safety features and its vans are very enjoyable to drive, as well as helping us present an image of quality to our customers.”
TD Bowles took advantage of competitive funding from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services to acquire its latest vans, while both are the subject of Mercedes-Benz Service Plans under which labour parts costs of routine maintenance are fixed, allowing the operator to budget with confidence.
“Pentagon’s Van Sales Executive James Walters provides a first-class service, as do the team at its Fareham workshop – Assistant Service Manager Bob Steele is a diamond; he’s very helpful and will always give you a straight answer.”
Family values: Tony and Julie Bowles, with son Sam and engineer Richard McClemens, left