Thirteen years’ reliable, low-cost service from its previous Canter meant that when B&N Brickwork finally came to replace the 3.5-tonner, its successor would also bear the three-diamond FUSO logo.
With its fuel-efficient engine, ground-breaking DUONIC automated transmission and more spacious, better-equipped cab, the latest-generation Canter has been quick to impress B&N proprietor John Benson.
The building contractor from Compton, near Guildford, Surrey, purchased his new Canter 3C15 from the Heathrow branch of Mercedes-Benz Dealer Group Rygor – the German manufacturer’s franchised network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular, Japanese FUSO light truck range in Great Britain.
The smallest Canter is built around a ladder frame chassis so unlike most of its 3.5-tonne rivals offers the sturdy characteristics of a proper truck rather than a van. B&N Brickwork’s vehicle has a tipping body by Wessex Vehicle Services, of Salisbury, which also fitted a large, lockable tool box immediately behind the cab.
“I’d had my previous Canter since 2002,” said Mr Benson. “It was a lovely little truck and certainly did me proud, covering just under 100,000 miles and never needing a new clutch. In fact, the only problem I ever had was the result of a fault on the battery terminals, which was easily and inexpensively resolved.”
He continued: “Another thing I really like about the Canter is its manoeuvrability. The lock is very good and because there’s no bonnet you can turn it on a sixpence. That’s a big help, not least because getting in and out of my yard is a bit tight – I hired a vehicle by a mainstream manufacturer while I was waiting for my new truck to arrive, and the contrast was stark; it was the clumsiest thing I’d ever driven.
“As well as being very agile, the Canter also has a fantastic driving position. You sit right over the front wheels, which means visibility is excellent.”
B&N Brickwork’s new truck has an economical 3.0-litre, four-cylinder powerplant with engine brake as standard. At 110 kW (150 hp), output is significantly improved compared to previous versions, as is torque – 370 Nm is available over a broad engine speed range.
Meanwhile, in Eco Mode the Canter’s smooth-shifting DUONIC automated dual clutch transmission contributes along with the standard Idle Start/Stop (ISS) function to significantly reduced fuel consumption, as well as enhancing safety by leaving the driver free to concentrate fully on the road.
“The auto box means it’s a lovely drive, and a lot more comfortable than my previous vehicle,” said Mr Benson. “The cab is roomier too, and the suspension on the new seat is very welcome. If my new Canter also proves anything like as durable and reliable as its predecessor, then I’ll be very happy indeed.”
B&N Brickwork was established by Mr Benson and his Partner Andy Newman in 1983; they are supported by Mr Benson’s wife Tessa. The firm undertakes everything from new builds and renovations, to loft conversions, and kitchen, bathroom, wet room and brick fireplace installations. It also offers garden services covering the construction of walls, steps, patios and driveways, as well as disabled access ramps.
Like all FUSO Canters, the new truck came with a reassuring three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty covering chassis, powertrain and other components. It is the subject of a highly competitive Mercedes-Benz Finance hire purchase agreement, arranged by Rygor Truck Sales Executive Gavin Duffy.
“The deal was superb,” said John Benson. “I spoke to my bank and they couldn’t get anywhere near it. Gavin, meanwhile is my kind of salesman – he understands the job and is very straightforward, giving you the facts you need, when you need them.”
Gavin Duffy commented: “B&N Brickwork is a great example of the army of small builders and civil engineering companies for whom the 3.5-tonne FUSO Canter represents an ideal workhorse. With Rygor’s customer-focused mantra of Setting Standards, and Zero Tolerance to Downtime commitment, we are ideally placed to supply such businesses with the vehicles and industry-leading after sales back-up they can rely on.”
Founded in 1992, Rygor is the biggest Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle dealership in the UK, with 12 sites located across, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, West London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Among its staff of more than 600 people, the company employs 180 Mercedes-Benz trained technicians, 60 parts specialists and 30 sales executives.