In it’s 14th year of action, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK’s Van Experience Live event has welcomed 2,867 guests across nine days, taking the entire total to 21,722 participants since 2003 – the very first Van Experience.
This year aimed to bring the many aspects of owning and operating a van to life, as well a look into the future of transportation with the UK premiere of Vision Van, as well as the upcoming Mercedes PRO connect connectivity solution and adVANce, the future transportation strategy at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Open to all van owners and operators, the event featured a mix of driving and exhibition displays, resulting in 49,387 miles covered by 258 vehicles at the famous Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire.
A large fleet of diverse vehicles were also on display with 98 bodybuilder and conversion partners exhibiting, highlighting the flexibilty of Mercedes-Benz Vans depending on the needs and requirements of diverse businesses.
In addition, the importance of Visual Health Checks were highlighted to van owners and operator, alongside top tips from the Freight Transport Association, as well as the benefits of using Mercedes-Benz GenunineParts and MobiloVan free roadside assistance.
Throughout the nine day event, 5,112 bacon and sausage sandwiches; 4,004 litres of tea, coffee and milk; 14,300 bottles of water, 674 ice lollies; 12,479 strawberries; and 4,236 slices of cake at afternoon tea were all consumed, as the guests experience both some of the hottest, and wettest June days, with Millbrook Proving Ground ranging in temperature from 35˚C down to just 14 ˚C”.
Plant Manager from Viridor Resource Management in Lancashire, Fenwick Carr commented on his and his wife’s first visit to the event: “I was particularly struck by the openness and honesty of the whole event – such is the confidence of Mercedes-Benz in its own products that it was perfectly happy to let you drive its competitors’ vans too.
“We bought a Sprinter 314 CDI last year, which we’re converting into a motorcycle race camper for carrying bikes ridden by myself, and by our sons Fenwick Junior, aged 15, and Harrison, 12. Having seen the various presentations made at Millbrook, the next time someone tells me Mercedes-Benz vans are expensive I’ll be well placed to argue back and assure them that it’s just not true.
“This was our first visit to VanExperience Live and my wife and I had a brilliant day.”
Alan Mills, Managing Director of Rooney & Mills Print Engineers, added: “Van Experience Live was an excellent day out, superbly organised and a very good use of my time. There was a lot of information coming in, with the presentation on the MobiloVan emergency roadside assistance programme particularly effective.
“We bought our first Mercedes-Benz van 10 years ago and now run six Vito models and a single Citan. Although we spend most of our time in the south-west and Wales, work can take us all over Europe, so it was very reassuring to learn more about the 24-hour support that’s available. Unlike its competitors, Mercedes-Benz treats a van as a business vehicle, not as a car.”
Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, Steve Bridge, concluded: “Over the past 14 years of Van Experience Live, our event has grown from just a few guests testing six vehicles on a small strip of land just outside of Loughborough, to 3,000 customers driving nearly 260 vehicles across Millbrook: we’ve always strived to set the bar higher and higher.
“With more guests, vans and food than ever before, Van Experience Live enables van owners and operators to engage with the people, products and processes from the Mercedes-Benz Vans business, to see how we all work together towards the same thing: to keep businesses moving. With Van Experience Live being, to my knowledge, the only event of its kind, we look forward to what’s to come in 2018.”