Universal casts 11 Mercedes-Benz Vito vans in a starring role

This year’s relentless rise in home shopping prompted Universal Courier & Logistical Services to place its first order with Mercedes-Benz Vans Dealer Ciceley Commercials.

Like those to whom the fast-growing company delivers, Director Ricky Sharma purchased the 11 Approved Used Vito models after seeing an online advertisement.

The Ciceley team pulled out all the stops to meet Universal’s tight deadline, delivering the vans on a couple of transporters in time to start work on a new courier contract.  

Mr Sharma established his business three years ago and now runs a fleet of approximately 350 vehicles that is dominated by Mercedes-Benz. In addition to those based at its Wolverhampton headquarters, others operate from customer depots nationwide – Universal works as a sub-contractor to some of the biggest names in the parcels delivery arena.   

“We’ve been incredibly busy during 2020,” reported Mr Sharma. “With lockdowns and people trying to avoid crowds, home shopping is one of the few sectors that has seen significant growth. We needed extra vehicles to cope with the increasing demand for deliveries of anything from a pen to a large American-style fridge.”

He explained: “I don’t have the time or inclination to travel the country looking at vans to buy, especially not when I can do it all from my desk. An online search of vehicles for sale threw up a nearly new Vito advertised by Ciceley Commercials. It was exactly what I was looking for, so I followed up with a call.

“Sales Executive Lee Haworth doubtless imagined initially that like most used van customers I was only interested in one, or maybe two vehicles. But I needed more, and he had five, all in the same specification. After checking their mileages, ages and condition I said I’d take the lot, as well as any others he could supply.

“Within two hours of seeing Ciceley’s advertisement I’d ordered the first five vans, and Lee confirmed shortly afterwards that he could supply a further six. Within a week the Dealer had delivered all 11 to the Nottingham depot of one of our most important customers.”

Universal appeal: The Vito is the favoured van of Ricky Sharma, right, his mother Financial Director Usha Sharma, and their team of delivery drivers

Mr Sharma continued: “I can’t praise Ciceley Commercials highly enough. Lee ensured that the whole transaction was as quick, smooth and hassle-free as I could have hoped. The vehicles arrived in perfect condition – clean, fully inspected and ready to start work – so I’m delighted with the service we’ve received.”

Universal’s latest Mercedes-Benz vans are Vito 111 CDI PURE models with long L2 bodies and 1.6-litre engines that offer outstanding 45.6 mpg (combined cycle) economy. Other Vito variants are available with rear-wheel drive, but the 111 CDI’s 114 hp output is transmitted via the front wheels.

They were all registered in 2019, so are still covered by their original three-year, unlimited mileage warranties. The manufacturer’s MobiloVan scheme, meanwhile, means Universal will also receive free, 24-hour roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. “With vans away all over the country, MobiloVan is a great safety net and gives us real peace of mind,” added Mr Sharma.

Vito vans, most of them purchased when ‘nearly-new’ from a variety of sources, account for roughly 80 per cent of the Universal fleet. “We’ve tried other makes of vehicle but my preference is always for a Mercedes-Benz,” confirmed Mr Sharma.

“The Vito is not too big, so relatively easy to pilot around residential streets, yet offers a practical load space which is easily accessed by the sliding doors on both sides. It’s also unbeatable for reliability – that’s crucial to the success of a business like ours, as we’re measured by our ability to hit delivery slots.”

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