Following the successful introduction of four FUSO Canter 4x4s in 2020, Leicester City Council has ordered a further 14, all fitted with bodywork by Bevan Group, current holder of the Commercial Motor Awards Bodybuilder of the Year title.
The initial four trucks are 175hp Canter 6C18 6.5-tonners for the council’s Parks and Open Spaces team, three with specialist arboriculture equipment including secure tool pods, high-sided wood chip receiver bodies and chipper towing hitches. The fourth is a split-dropside tipper with a 2,650kg battery-powered Penny Hydraulics PH380 used for maintaining playground and park furniture.
The second batch of 14 Canters are mostly a mix of 150hp 3.5- and 7.5-tonners with day cabs and automated transmissions, apart from a single crew-cab variant with manual transmission. The new batch will be supplied by the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK dealer network, eStar Truck & Van, following a tender process.
The council’s fleet services manager Steve Kerry said “Due to other commitments and the tight financial constraints under which we’ve been operating, some of our vehicles were older than we’d have liked and were becoming costly to maintain. We’ve therefore amended our replacement policy and launched a fleet modernisation initiative, with the Bevan-bodied Canters among the first new trucks to be commissioned.”
“The arboreal tippers have replaced 7.5-tonners, while the Parks job was previously being done by a 3.5-tonne vehicle that wasn’t really up to it. As well as having the 4x4 driveline that was a key requisite for these applications, the Canter is impressively robust and offers an excellent payload.
“I’d not dealt with Bevan Group previously but had a good feeling about them from the outset, and this has proved to be fully justified. We started out with drawings of a standard vehicle and then made modifications to meet our specific requirements. The process was both consultative and reassuringly professional, and I’ve felt entirely comfortable in all my dealings with Bevan Group. The finished vehicles look great, very neat.
“Bevan Group’s bodies, meanwhile, are fit for purpose and clearly built to a very high standard, so much so that I’ve every confidence they will stand up to arduous use over the 12-year service lives we envisage.
eStar national fleet sales manager Jon Roche added “We chose to partner with Bevan Group as it has an excellent reputation and backs its products with an industry-leading five-year warranty, which says all you need to know about the company’s confidence in its build quality. The Bevan team are also great to work with, and we look forward to doing so again on other projects of this kind.”