The plumbing and heating, and kitchens and joinery divisions, of Travis Perkins plc are once again tapping into the benefits of Mercedes-Benz van operation.

The leading builders’ merchant and home improvement group took the strategic decision three years ago to switch to the three-pointed star, having been won over by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter’s reputation for reliability, coupled with its industry-leading safety pedigree, comfortable, user-friendly cab and competitive operating costs.

Travis Perkins bought just four Sprinters in the first 12 months of the new partnership but since then has stepped up its vehicle replacement programme dramatically.

Wellingborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van supplied 68 Long-bodied Sprinter 313CDI panel vans with low-emission 129hp Euro 5 engines during 2010.

And it has this year won orders for a further 103 units, the first of which are already in service. As previously, they are 313CDI Longs and are taking to the road in the colours of fast-growing plumbing and heating merchant City Plumbing Supplies and kitchens and joinery specialist Benchmarx.

In a new departure, though, the majority of vehicles ordered this year are chassis cabs with lightweight Luton bodies by dry freight specialist Bevan Group, which is also fitting their DEL 500kg column lifts and applying the liveries at its factory in Halesowen, West Midlands.

Travis Perkins’ Group Transport Operations Manager Liam Holland explained: “We’ve specified Lutons this time to reflect the different profiles of the products we have to carry. Some, such as oil-fuelled boilers, are very heavy, and the chassis cab allows us to fit a tail-lift while still retaining a decent payload.”

He continued: “The Sprinter is a great all-round package. It’s a quality vehicle that offers the reliability and longevity we need, as well as being popular with our drivers, economical on fuel, and backed by a very reassuring, three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty.”