Mercedes-Benz Actros impresses again at new home

A Melbourne-based fleet and long established buyer of North American trucks has taken delivery of four new Mercedes-Benz Actros 2653s.

These are the second lot of Actros commercial vehicles introduced into F Vitale and Sons Transport following four units it purchased from Daimler Trucks Somerton mid last year.

The freight carrier, which is now 40 trucks strong, had, up until 2020, been dominated by North American-style trucks until General Manager Frank Vitale decided to purchase the first four 2653 Actros 13-litre commercial vehicles last year.

So impressed was he by the fuel economy and servicing support he doubled down recently with another four trucks.

“Those first four trucks, which have done 120,000km each, are getting around 2.4km per litre running as B-doubles between Melbourne and Sydney,” said Vitale.

“That represents a significant saving,” he said.

Ease of operation highlighted by a 12-speed automated transmission and ergonomic cabin design with a range of comfort features, has proven beneficial for Vitale’s drivers.

F Vitale and Sons uses fatigue-monitoring cameras that alert the driver and the operations team of any fatigue events in order to reduce risk in all its trucks.

This system often registered fatigue warnings in the American-style trucks, but not one has been detected in the Actros models operated by the same drivers on the same routes.

F Vitale and Sons Transport also delivers for the family’s bespoke plaster component manufacturing business.

“We had not expected this when we ordered the Actros, but given our focus on safety at F Vitale and Sons, it is invaluable,” Vitale said.

“It is clear evidence that the Actros is way ahead in terms of reducing fatigue.”

His drivers, some of whom were hesitant to start with given the smaller displacement of the Actros, now agree.

“None of them want to get out of the ‘Benzes, even the guys who were initially reluctant understand how much less taxing they are to drive,” he said.

The standard safety features of the Actros, including the radar-based Advanced Emergency Braking System called Active Brake Assist and adaptive cruise control, provide peace of mind for the business.

“Safety is number one in our business, so an integrated safety solution like the system in the Actros is a big plus for us,” he said.

As the transport business covers a wide range of local, intrastate and interstate freight tasks, free Best Basic servicing for five years or 500,000km standard on road-going Actros models below 110,000kg GCM is also an attractive proposition.

“The free servicing offer and servicing intervals are excellent as is the warranty support,” Vitale said.

General Manager Frank Vitale.