Award-winning Spartan Motor Factors has added the first Sprinter models to its fleet of more than 40 Mercedes-Benz Citan and Vito vans.
Established in 2012, the fast-growing firm operates from a network of 12 branches throughout South Wales and the South West, the latest of which opened in Bristol in July. It plans to launch a further three before the end of this year.
Its Mercedes-Benz vans have all arrived via the Cardiff branch of Dealer Euro Commercials. The majority are small Citans. Between three and eight Long-bodied 109 CDIs are based at each of Spartan Motor Factors’ branches, and used to deliver a comprehensive range of products including friction, filtration and other parts, lubricants, paints, welding gas, and tools, to trade and private customers within 45 minutes of the order being received.
The Vito Sport 116 CDI and 119 CDI crew vans are assigned to branch managers. Fitted with second rows of seats, and dynamically styled – features include chrome highlights and 17in alloy wheels – they have proved highly effective in helping the company to attract the best candidates.
The Sprinters, meanwhile, are both 3.5-tonne H2 L2 314 CDI variants with high roofs and long bodies. They are based at the distribution hub in Newport which the company also opened this year, from where they are used to replenish its network of branches.
Established in 2012, Spartan Motor Factors won its fourth – and second consecutive – Fast Growth 50 Award for Sustainable Growth in February. These prestigious accolades celebrate the entrepreneurial achievements of Welsh businesses.
Judges highlighted the company’s investments in staff, technology and processes to ensure accuracy and minimise errors, as well as its commitment to the development of personal relationships with customers, which means that any issues are openly discussed and invariably quickly resolved.
Spartan Motor Factors was the brainchild of former RAF officer Jason Farrugia and his co-Directors, former schoolfriend Lee Gratton, and Daniel Webb, both of whom already had experience of working within the automotive parts sector.
Their decision to name the new business after the legendary warriors of ancient Greece – and specifically the 2006 action film 300, in which King Leonidas leads 300 Spartans into battle against an invading Persian army of 300,000 – reflected the ‘barriers to entry’ which they came up against.
“Just getting the company up and running was a monumental task,” recalled Mr Farrugia. “It felt as though we were up against all the ‘big players’ in the industry, who were doing their utmost to prevent us from opening or gaining suppliers.”
Spartan Motor Factors was running a ‘mixed bag’ of vans by 2015, when Jason Farrugia and Lee Gratton acquired a pair of pre-owned Vito crew vans from Euro Commercials, for personal as well as business use. That transaction marked the beginning of a relationship which has gone from strength-to-strength.
Mr Farrugia replaced his Vito with a new version in 2017, and the following year – taking advantage of attractively priced and flexible Agility funding packages from Mercedes-Benz Finance – Spartan Motor Factors commissioned 23 Citans and a further seven Vito crew vans.
Now firmly wedded to Mercedes-Benz, it has taken delivery of another 10 Citans and a couple more Vito models this year, as well as the two Sprinters, and will add more as it extends its reach by opening further branches.
“We’d tried vans by a couple of other manufacturers previously and suffered reliability issues with both of them,” reported Mr Farrugia. “By contrast, we’ve never had a problem with a Mercedes-Benz. They’re fit for purpose, cost-effective to operate, and lead the field in terms of safety. Our drivers confirm they’re also a lot nicer to drive than the vehicles they were in previously.
“Business success for Spartan is all about providing customers with a fast, reliable ‘one-stop shop’ service. If a customer has a car stripped and up on a ramp, and he needs a part to get the job finished, he wants it as soon as possible. We have to live up to our delivery promise, and in order to do that we need vans which won’t let us down.”
It may be the smallest commercial vehicle ever to wear a three-pointed star, but the Citan is a big winner at the pumps. Fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures fitted as standard include the ECO start/stop function, low rolling resistance tyres, and optimised alternator and battery management systems. The result, in the case of the 90 hp Citan 109 CDI model which now constitutes the backbone of the Spartan Motor Factors fleet, is outstanding economy of up to 65.7 mpg in the combined cycle.
Mr Farrugia continued: “The Citans are in and out of garages all day and they’re fantastic workhorses, while I can vouch personally for the outstanding comfort and versatility off my Vito crew van. I’m a father-of-three and it’s perfect for use in the evenings and at weekends, as well as at work.”
He added: “Our Mercedes-Benz vehicles are brilliant, but so, too, is the Dealer. We’ve worked increasingly closely over the last four years with Euro Commercials’ Van Sales Executive Scott Williams, sharing our development plans and timescales with him so the vehicles are always in stock when we need them.
“Scott is constantly in touch and the Dealer has provided us with courtesy and even loan vehicles whenever we’ve needed one to tide us over. It’s reassuring to know that we can always rely on Euro to bend over backwards to help keep our business moving.”
As to the future, he observed: “It’s not about the money or the turnover anymore, but I am competitive and I do want to be the biggest and the best. It’s a journey we look forward to making with Mercedes-Benz Vans.”
Source: Uk Haulier