The company operates from a base in Whiteley, Hampshire, and its latest vehicles arrived, like their predecessors, via the Fareham branch of South Coast Dealer Pentagon Commercials.
The new line-up comprises four 20th Anniversary Special Edition Sprinter 316 CDIs, a Vito 114 BlueTEC crew van and a Citan 109 CDI. All are Long-bodied variants and the subject of flexible, low-cost Agility hire purchase agreements from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
Founded by Managing Director Lee Devitt in 2001, Innovate Signs offers design, manufacturing and installation services, and works throughout the UK and most of Europe. Its impressive customer base includes the likes of JD Sports, One Stop, Schuh, Bensons for Beds and Harveys.
The firm acquired its first Mercedes-Benz Vans in 2009 and replaced them three years later with a second set, which have just been bought back by Pentagon. The new vans have lined up alongside a 63-registered Vito which is ‘out of sync’ with the rest.
It is the first time that Innovate Signs has operated a vehicle from the small Citan range introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. Mr Devitt explained: “Because of its size we’re using the Citan for local jobs, and those where access and parking are issues. It’s proving to be a valuable addition to the fleet.
“The Sprinters, meanwhile, are allocated to two-man installation teams and carry retail fascias and graphics, scaffolding and tools, and the Vito, with its second row of seats, gives us the flexibility to transport additional personnel to sites.”
The Special Edition Sprinter was introduced to mark the two decades that have passed since the all-conquering model’s launch. Just 1,200 vans benefited from ‘Sprinter 20’ badging on the front wing and a unique option bundle including air conditioning, sat nav, a driver’s Comfort seat with arm rest, wheel trims and a chrome grille – this package was worth over £2,000, but put just £750 on the retail cost of the vehicle.
Mr Devitt said: “We were getting horrendous fuel economy from the vans we were running prior to 2009, but since making the switch to Mercedes-Benz we’ve never looked back.
“Its vehicles are built to an exceptionally high standard, reliable, fuel-efficient and comfortable, as well as leading the field in terms of safety. Features such as Brake Assist and Crosswind Assist are very reassuring to operators like me, who are conscious of their Duty of Care responsibilities both to employees and to other road users.
“We also rely on Pentagon for maintenance support,” he continued. “The work is carried out overnight, so we incur no downtime and the vans are always available for work when we need them.”
Innovate Signs’ Sprinters will each clock-up some 200,000 miles over the next three years. The company has once again taken advantage of competitive funding from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The popular Mercedes-Benz Agility contract offers all the benefits of conventional hire purchase with a balloon payment – including low monthly repayments – but gives operators extra options at the end of the term.
Key to the Agility concept is the agreement of a Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) for the vehicle. At the end of the contract the customer can choose whether to pay off the final lump sum and keep the vehicle, extend the agreement by spreading the balloon payment over a further term, or return it free of any further obligations, apart from an excess mileage charge if the initially agreed limit has been exceeded, and damage charges over and above fair wear and tear.