JJX Logistics’ first new-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinters have tough lives ahead of them – but after two decades of operating vehicles bearing the three-pointed star, boss John Donovan has no doubt they will prove up to the task.
Supplied by Dealer Group Rygor Commercials, the two eye-catching vans are equipped with a comprehensive array of state-of-the-art safety technology, and will each cover upwards of 150,000 miles per year.
They have lined-up on the West Midlands-based operator’s all-Mercedes-Benz fleet of vans alongside 16 vans and curtainside-bodied chassis cabs from the previous Sprinter range, as well as seven mid-sized Vito models and four small Citans. Mr Donovan, meanwhile, drives an X-Class pickup, which he also acquired from Rygor.
JJX Logistics, which this year celebrated its 21st anniversary, specialises in the provision of time-critical courier services throughout Europe. The firm serves clients across the aerospace and aviation, automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical, defence and rail sectors, and operates throughout Europe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Its latest Sprinters leave the UK at 2am every Sunday, then spend all week delivering components to aircraft factories throughout Europe. Both are 316 CDI H2 L3 variants with high roofs and Long bodies. Additions to the fleet, rather than replacements for vehicles that are being stood down, they are powered by fuel-efficient 163 hp engines which drive the rear wheels – with the launch of the new model range, Sprinter versions are now also available for the first time with front-wheel drive.
Fast-growing JJX moved to its current base in Kingswinford three years ago, but faced with the need for more warehouse and office space relocates again in January to a new, 100,000 sq ft headquarters nearby. It has also just opened a Heathrow hub, and has another in Kilkenny, Ireland, and one in Paris.
JJX is highly image-conscious, and the liveries it applies to its fleet – the company also runs a number of Mercedes-Benz trucks supplied by Rygor – have won industry awards. Acquired with funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, the Sprinters are finished in its favourite Cavansite Blue. Their appearance is further enhanced by chrome grilles, alloy wheels, and personalised registration plates. Given the high mileages the vans are now clocking-up, they are also fitted with long-range, 93-litre fuel tanks, up from the standard 57 litres.
The 2018 Sprinter features a completely redesigned cab interior that offers unrivalled levels of quality, quietness and smoothness. It breaks new ground, too, thanks to its 4G Internet connectivity. This advanced manufacturer solution incorporates the Mercedes PRO connect range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services, as well as the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function that responds to “Hey Mercedes!” followed by the command, in conjunction with Navigation.
Mercedes-Benz has also introduced more innovation to the Sprinter’s industry-leading safety armoury. New features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system, which incorporates another ‘first’ in the shape of pedestrian recognition, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired. In line with his usual policy of ticking virtually every box on the safety options list, Mr Donovan has equipped his company’s new Sprinters with more driver aids, including Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Highbeam Assist.
Having started out in 1997 with a single van by another manufacturer, Mr Donovan bought his first Mercedes-Benz shortly afterwards. Since then, every new van acquired by JJX has worn a three-pointed star. They have included one of the first Euro 6 Sprinters, and an early example from the current Vito range.
“When it comes to reliability and durability, comfort and safety, or just all-round quality, Mercedes-Benz vans have always been streets ahead of the competition,” he enthused. “With this new model, though, the manufacturer has raised the bar to another level.”
Mr Donovan seized an early opportunity to drive one of the new vans down to Heathrow. “In terms of comfort and quietness it was fantastic,” he declared. “The drivers are also really enjoying the voice-controlled Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, not least because it’s so easy to use.
“We have a very strong safety ethos, which is why we’ve added a number of optional assistance systems to the comprehensive standard specification – I like to know that I’m sending my guys out in the safest vans on the road.
“Given the intensive nature of the work, the fact that the manufacturer’s three-year warranty has no mileage restriction is also very reassuring,” he continued. “So, too, is the MobiloVan cover, which includes free emergency roadside assistance on the Continent as well as here in the UK.”
Mr Donovan added: “Customer care has been the bedrock of our success over the last 21 years. I know what great service looks like, and we certainly get it from Van Sales Manager John Richards and his colleagues at Rygor’s Kidderminster branch. The relationship is based on trust, and it’s one I value very highly indeed.”
John Richards commented: “John and the rest of the JJX Logistics team are great ambassadors for the Mercedes-Benz and Rygor Commercials brands. With our commitment to Setting Standards, we now look forward to supporting them as they enter the next, exciting phase in the development of their business.”
With 11 branches throughout Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, West London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, Rygor are a multi award winning specialist Mercedes-Benz van and truck Dealership.