Mercedes-Benz Dealer Bell Truck and Van is poised to embark on a major programme of investment in new and improved facilities, following its acquisition by a leading environmental, renewable energy and recycling company.
The manufacturer’s long-serving representative in the North-East has been bought by Leo Group, which also has extensive interests in the meat industry and runs operations in the UK, Ireland, Europe and South Africa.
The change of ownership, which was sealed last week for an undisclosed sum, marks the beginning of an exciting new phase in the history of Bell Truck and Van, a founder member in 1974 of the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Network.
Although this is Leo Group’s first experience of owning and managing a commercial vehicle dealership, the Halifax-based company brings a customer’s perspective to its latest venture through its operation of a fleet of more than 100 Mercedes-Benz trucks, the majority of them tractor units.
Meanwhile, new Managing Director Ben Sowersby, who also becomes a co-owner of Bell Truck and Van, can look back on a 17-year track record of award-winning achievement with the Mercedes-Benz brand. In his previous role, Ben was Managing Director of the reigning Dealer of the Year for both Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Leo Group has the financial muscle to deliver the improvements in Bell Truck and Van’s branch infrastructure which are considered essential if it is to meet the manufacturer’s ambitious growth targets.
A top priority will be delivery of a long-running plan to develop a van sales and service centre on the Dealer’s established site in Stockton-on-Tees, where staff have been working from temporary facilities. Completion of this scheme will relieve pressure on Bell’s workshop in nearby Billingham, which can then be used solely for trucks. Bell is also actively considering a handful of potential locations in and around Washington, where it intends to open a new, purpose-built truck centre as soon as possible.
“The excellent reputation that Bell Truck and Van enjoys here in the North-East, and indeed beyond, owes much to the enthusiastic and dedicated company team I am now privileged to be leading,” said Ben. “As a great believer in the benefits to be gained from staff training and development, I am committed to ensuring that as well as investing in our facilities, we also invest in our people to help them fulfil their potential.”
He added: “This acquisition represents a tremendous opportunity, not only for Leo Group, but also for me personally. I now look forward to building on my established relationships with our partners at Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Vans, and to meeting as many of our customers as possible over the weeks and months to come.”