As a specialist consulting contractor to the construction industry, St Astier is renowned for devising lasting solutions to the most challenging of problems.
But it was Mercedes-Benz Dealer Bell Truck and Van which came up with all the answers when the County Durham-based firm was told by the rental specialist from which it had previously sourced its vans, that its weekly payments were about to be dramatically increased.
Director Carol Og, who founded St Astier in 2003 with husband Ranson, recalled: “The news came as something of a shock and prompted me to look again at the figures. I decided to contact Bell’s Stockton branch to see what they could offer and am so glad I did, because the Dealer’s Van Sales Executive Mandy Orr has since provided the best customer service we’ve ever received, in all the years we’ve been in business.”
The company is now running five new Medium-length Sprinter 314 CDIs, which are used as site vehicles by its foremen and operatives, who work alongside other contractors’ staff. The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services funding package, they are powered by fuel-efficient 143 hp engines that meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standard, and are fitted with rear steps with integrated towbars.
St Astier operates from its headquarters in Seaham and the company name is inspired by the French town where a historic type of lime is mined, which is used in conservation and renovation projects. The firm is best known for undertaking structural and external refurbishment commissions on historic buildings, but also works on office developments, social housing, road bridges, marine structures and industrial facilities.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, St Astier’s vehicles are backed by three-year, unlimited mileage warranties and came with MobiloVan cover, which includes free roadside assistance for up to 30 years, provided they continue to be maintained with the manufacturer’s official Dealer Network.
Ranson Og said: “We’ve run Sprinters on long-term hire over the last three years and have had no issues whatsoever. They offer competitive running costs and excellent reliability, which is crucial because if one of our vehicles is off the road it can cause a real headache.
“Our work takes us over rough terrain and we have found that other makes of van can have some major issues after only three to four years. We are confident that these will not arise with the Sprinters, while the added benefit of MobiloVan gives us additional peace of mind.”
He continued: “Our operatives like the Sprinter, not least because it’s so car-like to drive. We’re also very conscious of our Duty of Care obligations, so it’s reassuring to know that we’re sending our people out in what is widely recognised as the safest van on the market.”
Mrs Og added: “The deal we’ve done with Bell Truck and Van includes a three-year Mercedes-Benz Service Plan and means that at the end of the finance term we will be left with an asset, whereas under our previous arrangement the vehicles just went back to the rental provider.
“It’s a very cost-effective package and we look forward to building on our new partnership with the Dealer over the months and years to come.”