Since its launch in 1996, the Berlingo First has built a reputation for reliability, durability and low cost of operation. After 15 years, and approaching 140,000 Berlingo First vans sold in the UK, this fleetfavouritehas now been withdrawn from the UK market.
One business where the Berlingo First really made its mark is Mill Autoquip, a distributor of car and commercial vehicle parts, which has operated Berlingo Firsts for 10 years. Accountant and Fleet Manager, Tony Watson, recognisesa good thing when he sees it and with his latest order for 21 vans, snapped up virtually all of the remaining Berlingo Firsts in the UK. This last Berlingo First fleet order was supplied via Citroën dealers Hawkins Motors and PC Tonkin in Cornwall.
Mill Autoquip, a member of the Parts Alliance, is one of the largest independent motor factors in the south west. Their new batch of Berlingo First vans will join a 140-strong, predominantly Citroën fleet. Each van will make up to 50 drops each day, delivering parts to customers from Mill Autoquip’s 17 depots across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
Tony Watson commented; “Our vans have to earn their keep and in three years will clock up around 100,000 miles over some pretty tough terrain. And we still have people queuing up to buy our Citroëns when we have finished with them.”
Load-wise the Berlingo First suits Mill Autoquip’s operation as it can accommodate long exhaust systems. It can also carry bulky and heavy items, which is particularly important for vehicles based at Mill Autoquip’s dedicated commercial vehicle branch in Redruth.
However, Mr. Watson is not despondent at the Berlingo First’s passing. Citroën’s ultra fuel-efficient Nemo van and the Euro 5 Airdream version of the latest Berlingo – both with fold-flat seats – should prove ideal replacements.