Mercedes-Benz Vans has officially closed the doors on its’ nine-day VanExperience LIVE event for 2015, which was this year held at a new venue – Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire.
The event, now in its 12th year, lived up to the claim of being the biggest and best ever, with 1,906 invited guests through the exclusive doors at Millbrook to test the latest Mercedes-Benz Vans models, including the first public drive of the New Vito.
Guests covered an impressive 25,894 miles across a total of 86 Citan, New Vito and Sprinter vehicles and were treated to three hands-on demonstrations so that they could experience first-hand how Mercedes-Benz vans perform in all areas:
Drive It – A full range drive to experience the entire product line-up from Mercedes-Benz Vans on the High-Speed Bowl and Hill Route at Millbrook, with guests driving the Citan, New Vito and Sprinter back-to-back
Test It – A challenging off-road course to show the skills of the Sprinter 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles, with 60 degree inclines and declines, as well as a competition element for guests to test their skills off-road and compete against each other
Trust It – A safety-focused activity which comprised of a ‘city’ driving course with Citan, New Vito and Sprinter to demonstrate safety systems such as Collision Prevention Assist and Blind Spot Assist, as well as a self-park demonstration with the Active Parking Assist feature on New Vito – a first in the sector.
There were 248 vans on display, including a range of bodied Sprinters from a wide selection of bodybuilders, and an all-important ice-cream van!
Inside the venue, there were displays and talks focused on MobiloVan – Mercedes-Benz Vans’ free roadside assistance package, Mercedes-Benz Approved Used Vans, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Mercedes-Benz Insurance – while on site, a customer with eight vans was able to save £3,000 per year on their premium thanks to a quick discussion with the team onsite.
There was also a fully-accessorised New Vito to highlight the range of accessories available, including details of full leather trim available aftermarket, details of Genuine Oil and its benefits, and a GenuineParts display.
Richie Kenny, Operations Director of Belfast-based Montgomery Refrigeration, is a buyer responsible for approximately 100 vans and his fleet is already dominated by Mercedes-Benz. “My agenda for the day was to get a good look at the new Vito and I’ve certainly achieved that,” he said. “I was very impressed with the ride comfort and assured handling, while the interior looked both classy and hard-wearing. The automatic gearbox was so slick I’m now thinking about a Vito with 7G-Tronic for my next company car!”
Michael Crymble, Commercial Facilities Manager at Geoff Castle Boiler Services, of Carrickfergus, looks after a fleet of 18 vans, none of which wears a three-pointed star. He revealed: “Our vehicles are all from another manufacturer but several will be coming up for replacement soon so I was keen to assess the new Vito as a possible contender. On the strength of what I’ve seen, there’s every chance that we might soon be running our first Mercedes-Benz vans.”
New Vito was a big draw for Chris Sharpe, but he wanted to get a closer look at Sprinter and Citan models too – as an account manager with vehicle broker Autorama, his objective was to gain a deeper understanding of the entire Mercedes-Benz range to help him make more informed recommendations to his customers about what vehicles might suit their needs best. “I really wasn’t expecting the Sprinter to be so versatile, both on and off road, or the Vito to be so refined and car-like to drive, while the scale and professionalism of the whole event was truly outstanding,” he added.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans, summed up the event, by saying: “VanExperience LIVE has proved once again it is an unbeatable format for helping customers and potential customers make their minds up about our products.
“We welcomed around 70% of guests as first-time visitors, keen to experience all that we offer as a brand, not just the physical vehicles. That said, the feedback received on New Vito, which was a first drive for virtually every guest, also highlights that we are firmly on the list for people looking to buy a mid-size van.
“I am massively proud of the team at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK for creating such an outstanding event, and we are all looking forward to 2016’s show already!”