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Sandown reveals first expansion into Mercedes vans franchise

Long-serving Mercedes car retailer Sandown Group has opened its first venture with the Mercedes-Benz Vans franchise.

It has converted a site, which was formerly home to a luxury yacht business, into its first Sandown Van Centre, dedicated to the maintenance and repair of the German premium brand's light commercial vehicles.

With six ramps installed and space for more, plus an alignment bay and MOT lane for Class 4 and Class 7 category vehicles, Sandown Van Centre in Poole can tackle customers' maintenance requirements while they wait or it can offer drop and go plus collection and delivery services.

The workshop fills a gap left after Marshall Motor Holdings closed its Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van Poole business in late 2020 to concentrate business at its Mercedes-Benz of Southampton dealership.

Sandown Group's managing director Gavin McAllister said: “Our new van centre demonstrates Sandown’s sincere commitment to growth and investment in the powerful Mercedes-Benz brands.

"This is an exciting opportunity, and we are determined to exceed the expectations of the customers we are privileged to be serving.”

It serves a territory spanning from Amesbury to Yeovil and Southampton.

Able to service Mercedes' electric vans, Sandown Van Centre is equipped with four AC charging stations and has plans to add more chargers in the future, including a rapid charging point.

In line with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ ‘Keeping businesses moving’ pledge, the retailer’s team also provide free MobiloVan emergency roadside assistance to drivers encountering issues with their vehicles while travelling in the region.

Sandown has already recruited half a dozen technicians and its van workshop is open from 8am until 6.30pm on weekdays, and until 1pm Saturdays.

However, the company plans at the earliest opportunity to extend hours of operation into the evenings by introducing a split-shift system with up to 16 technicians.

Ultimately, the new centre could create up to 30 jobs, said the company.

Charlie Charman (pictured), head of aftersales at Sandown, said: “There was huge demand for a Mercedes-Benz aftersales provider in Poole, and we were perfectly placed to deliver a convenient and high-quality service built on dedication and professionalism.

“The new team are relishing the opportunities they now have to welcome van customers to our exemplary facilities and treat them to experiences they might have expected to receive from a Mercedes-Benz Passenger Car retailer.”

In November Sandown revealed it would acquire the Epsom dealership of Mercedes-Benz Retail Group, the carmaker's own dealer group which has been steadily downsized in recent years.

Mercedes-Benz has now reached an agency model agreement with its franchisees which will lead to the new retail framework's introduction in the UK from 2023.

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