30 August 2019 22:10
02 September 2019 09:19
Russell’s deal with some of the biggest names in the motoring industry and are trusted to transport glamorous super cars, beautiful classic vehicles and exciting race cars throughout the UK and Europe. A lot of care, good-quality equipment and premium trucks are required to get the job done safely and that’s why they rely on Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Initially, Russell’s work involved a fleet of light goods vehicles, with the first being a 4x4 towing vehicle which was used to haul event trailers and toilet block showers. From there they crossed into the exhibition industry, which eventually lead to car transportation.
The business planned to purchase some HGVs and was introduced to the Actros. Sleek, robust and reliable it was the perfect fit for prestigious vehicles, so much so that Russell’s has continued to use only Mercedes-Benz HGVs to this day.
They now own five Actros trucks, one Atego and three Sprinter vans.
The jobs take them throughout the UK and Europe. “We go wherever the demand is. We probably spend 60% of our time in the UK and 40% in Europe,” explains John. They sometimes go even further, arranging air freight to countries including the USA, South America, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Russia.
The transportation of race cars is a big part of their business, with contracts ranging from Formula 1 to the World Touring Car Championship and Le Mans Car Grid plus many other different classes of Motorsport.
The company provides professional services to customers in both the corporate and private sectors. “We work with a mixture of manufacturers, often organising their press fleets for events with journalists and dealerships,” says John. Russell’s also delivers a lot of show cars, many of which do not contain engines, or other vital parts as they are simply models.
John recalls a recent launch tour they completed for Rolls Royce, “We collected two new cars from the depot in Chichester and kept them in our care before transporting them to Russia through most of Europe, including Monaco, Munich, Geneva and Moscow. It took eight weeks in total.”
The work can be very glamorous – they receive requests from private owners to deliver their super cars and vintage vehicles throughout the UK and to luxurious locations such as the French Riviera and Spanish coasts.
“Actros trucks are always leading with technology, be it safety features or driver comfort. It’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought into the on-board systems, it works continuously!
– Luke Ratcliffe, Actros Driver, Russell’s Vehicle Management Ltd
Dealing with such precious cargo, takes a lot of care and attention to detail. Some might even call it stressful, but not Russell’s. “The majority are extremely low so loading them can be difficult – it’s not an issue as we have the correct equipment which is all-purpose built to suit these types of cars.”
In addition, they offer multiple covered car transport, using drawbar transporters that can carry from one to four cars in a single move and an artic transporter which can hold up to six cars – that’s surely nerve-wracking? “It doesn’t really cause an issue – it’s more time consuming than loading one car but we have the right equipment so it’s the norm to us,” enthuses John.
All drivers receive special training when they first join the company to ensure they are protecting the cars and themselves, “We provide 1-2 weeks training in-house and teach them our way of doing things. It’s important they take extra care to make sure the vehicles are strapped down correctly and loaded properly.”
The trucks are the backbone of the business, ensuring a smooth and stress-free operation. Driver Luke Ratcliffe describes the reasons why he loves his truck, “Actros trucks are always leading with technology, be it safety features or driver comfort. It’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought into the on-board systems, the truck works continuously! You can really tell the Actros is one of the ‘premium’ brand trucks, it’s superb to drive and looks great. I’m sure plenty of other people agree from the amount of people I notice taking a good look or double take when driving down the road!”
Russell’s understands the importance of quality. Their customers want specialist, professional services. “Presentation is key and looking the part with new trailers and equipment is really important. You can’t be seen to put incredibly valuable vehicles in something which is either rusty, rotten, or anything other than top-notch,” explains John.
For this reason the business operates a continuous replacement scheme (every three years for light haulage vehicles and every five years for the heavy haulage trucks). All of the vehicles in their modern, state-of-the-art fleet also have Euro VI engines, for maximum efficiency, “We have good fuel returns.”
They hope to grow their fleet of 12 vehicles to 17 in the next few years.
However much it grows, Russell’s will always continue to be a family business at heart. Started in 1996 by John’s parents, Jack and Anita, it remains a family affair with John growing up around it before taking the position of Director eight years ago. His partner Amy works for the company and he hopes their three young sons will also join them one day.
John touches on why he thinks the formula works. “We’re a family-run business and we really care about what we do. We put a lot of work in to keeping the vehicles clean and presenting them and the drivers in the right way. As the company is growing, it can be difficult to keep that level of presentation and care, but we’ve definitely still got it. This is what really sets us apart from the other companies in the sector.”
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