Dennis Foods loyal to bomb-proof Atego rigids

Commercial Motor
August 5, 2019

Dennis Food services has bought six new Mercedes-Benz Ategos because of their “bomb-proof reliability” and improved economy figures.

Four 15-tonne 1524 and two 13-tonne 1324s all have ClassicSpace S-cabs and are powered by 7.7-litre 238hp straight-six engines coupled to 6-speed PowerShift transmissions.

Jason Palmer, transport manager at Dennis Food, said: “This company bought its first Mercedes Atego more than 20 years ago, and has sworn by them ever since. Uptime is key to the product’s appeal – in terms of reliability, they’re pretty well bomb-proof.”

One of its Ategos has been operating since 2002, while six others were registered in 2004, two in 2005, and another four in 2006. In 2018, the company decommissioned a W-plate Atego which had been on the road since 2000.

Kitted out with Frigoblock multi-temperature refrigeration units, they join a fleet of 75 trucks consisting of mainly 13 to 15-tonne Ategos, alongside two Actros tractor units.

“We bought our first six Atego with PowerShift transmissions last year. All 15-tonners, they’re noticeably more economical – returns are up from the 11mpg we’re getting from trucks with the previous manual ‘box, to between 12.5 and 13mpg”, claimed Palmer.

Dennis Food Services has found that the refrigeration bodies fail before the trucks do, and for the last couple of years, the company has mounted new refrigerated bodies onto existing Atego chassis – one from 2009 and another from 2008.

Palmer added: “We run some of these trucks until the ends of their lives, at which point we’ll continue to take spares from them to help keep others on the road. Replacement parts for the Atego are certainly competitively priced.”

Running 11 trucks from another manufacturer, Palmer stated that door mirrors are “four times the price of the equivalent Mercedes item”, making hanging on to the Ategos more worthwhile.

The drivers prefer the autos he added, despite one or two “old-school exceptions”, because it is a smooth drive and makes life at the wheel easier.

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