When your business entails distributing heavy ceramic and porcelain tiles, payload is always going to be the single most important attribute in any new truck.
This explains why, having stood down its previous fleet of 7.5-tonne FUSO Canters, Northamptonshire-based Walls and Floors replaced them with eight new, Euro VI-engined examples of the same, range-topping model.
Founded in 1987, Walls and Floors is now one of the UK's leading tile stockists and distributors. It has a head office and UK distribution centre in Kettering, along with one of the country's biggest tiling showrooms, featuring displays from leading manufacturers, and a studio in Putney, West London.
The company's latest Canter 7C18s were supplied by Wellingborough Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van – the German manufacturer's UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular FUSO light truck range. Keeping it local, they are fitted with low-height curtainside bodies by Kurt Hobbs Coachworks, of nearby Great Addington.
The Canter 7C18 is powered by a 129 kW (175 hp) engine that offers a winning combination of economy and performance, producing high torque, even at low revs. Walls and Floors' vehicles are also equipped with fully automated DUONIC® dual clutch transmissions, which deliver smooth, fuel-efficient gear changes and incorporate an Eco Mode feature as standard.
Like their predecessors, the trucks offer impressive payload capacities. Most can carry in excess of 3,750kg, the only exceptions being the two which are additionally equipped with 1,000kg Anteo tuckaway tail-lifts weighing in at around 250kg.
Operations Director John Steel explained: "We have a roughly equal retail-trade sales split within the business. However, while these trucks will do some deliveries to building sites, where the customer wil insist ona tail-lift, they're primarily used for multi-drop domestic orders.
"The Canter's industry-leading payload is, of course, key to its appeal," he continued. "Its size is also important, though – the Canter has a relatively compact footprint for a 7.5-tonner, which allows the vehicle to access tight locations and makes it very manoeuvrable.
"This is a big advantage given that we make the majority of our deliveries to London, while other 'plus points' include the new model's uprated rear suspension and re-engineered diesel particulate filter (DPF) system."
Intercounty Truck & Van is inspecting and servicing the Canters under five-year
Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contracts. "We drop the vehicles off at the end of the day and the work is done overnight, so they're always available when we need them," added Mr Steel. "The Dealer is providing a responsive service."