When utilities contractor Nicol of Skene needs to get its engineers, their tools and equipment to sites miles from the nearest road, in all weathers, only one van is up to the job – the Sprinter 4×4.
The Aberdeenshire-based operator has just taken delivery of its fourth all-wheel drive version of the mighty Mercedes-Benz. The Medium-length 313 CDI model was supplied, like its predecessors, by the Aberdeen branch of Dealer Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles.
“There’s nothing else on the market that offers the Sprinter 4×4’s combination of load space and payload, off-road performance, reliability and comfort for our engineers,” declared Nicol of Skene CEO Derek Nicol.
“We did try a demonstrator by another manufacturer but it was an after-market conversion, and the ride height was far too low. By contrast, the Sprinter’s ground clearance is excellent, while the fact that it is a factory-built vehicle also means that it’s covered by a single, comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty.”
Based at the operator’s headquarters in Skene, to the north-west of Aberdeen, the new van is racked out to carry tools and equipment. It also has a cargo area compartment in which engineers can change out of wet or muddy protective clothing – the interior work was carried out by Nicol’s own workshop team.
The company is a contractor to Scottish Water, and an approved supplier under the Water Industry Recognition Scheme. Typically, the engineer assigned to the new vehicle spends his days testing water mains which are often in remote, inaccessible locations.
Its Sprinter 4x4s support a variety of utilities and civil engineering projects – one has recently returned from the Clyde Windfarm site in Lanarkshire, more than two hours’ drive from the nearest public road, while another has been working on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route road scheme.
“Without their Sprinter 4x4s we couldn’t guarantee that our employees would be able to get to work in places like these,” continued Mr Nicol, who founded the firm that bears his name in 1985.
“They’re extremely reliable too, which is just as important. The last thing you want when you’re miles from civilisation is a stranded van, but our Sprinter 4x4s have never let us down.”
Mr Nicol added: “The service from Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Aberdeen is also very good. Our orders are always handled smoothly and professionally and the vans are extremely well presented. We carry out most of the vehicle maintenance ourselves but rely on the Dealer for regular parts deliveries, and have built up a strong working relationship.”