Impressive Mercedes-Benz Atego 917 covers one million kilometres of mountain driving

  • Truck built in 2001 has already covered more than 1.33 million kilometres on steep mountain roads
  • Engine continues to prove its quality on a daily basis – regular service and maintenance sufficient; no repairs ever necessary
  • Atego 917 sets the benchmark for economy

Mercedes-Benz Trucks 2012

Stuttgart/Lienz (East Tyrol, Austria) – A million kilometres, accumulated in short-radius distribution work on Austria’s Alpine roads – no problem at all for the Mercedes-Benz Atego 917, as our example from the company BS Transport in the Austrian village of Tristach shows. Still with its original engine and never having needed repairs other than as required during regular servicing and maintenance, this truck offers a fine example of the model’s economy and longevity.

Its journeys have taken BS Transport’s Atego over mountain passes at an altitude of 1800 metres above sea level and along narrow and very steep country roads into the valleys. The company uses the Atego 917 on two daily shifts, five days a week, to deliver goods and parcels for the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). Two shifts means 16 hours of driving on high mountain and pass roads and rough gravel tracks to reach sometimes remote communities, covering distances of up to 600 kilometres a day.

The OM 904 LA has proved its mettle in the mountains

The never less than perfectly functioning OM 904 LA engine, with charge air cooling, 4.2-litre displacement and an output of 125 kW (170 hp), has proved its worth over the years. “To this day, it has never suffered an engine failure or needed any major repairs at all”, company proprietor Hannes Bundschuh tells us, while his wife Christa, who as managing director looks after the company’s finances, confirms this.

She is extremely satisfied with the low lifecycle costs of the Atego. “Regular engine oil and air filter changes every 60,000 kilometres – and I’m a real stickler about seeing that these are done – are our very simple secret” confirms company boss Bundschuh.

Over the course of his not inconsiderable experience with many different makes of vehicle, Hannes Bundschuh, who himself trained as a motor vehicle technician at the authorised Mercedes-Benz workshop of Dipl.-Ing. Hans Teissl & Sohn in Lienz, has developed a firm preference for the Atego. He and his brother have been running their freight forwarding company for 25 years now. In his expert opinion: “I can’t imagine using any other truck than the Atego for this sort of work.

For a comparatively small forwarding agent like us, with just 11 vehicles in total, a vehicle breakdown involving major engine damage could decide over the company’s continuing existence.” This no-nonsense attitude derives from the fact that the previous vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz LN 817, similarly covered well over a million kilometres, while an Atego 815 from 2004, which is also in daily operation, is already approaching the one million kilometre milestone as well.

Economically speaking, especially in terms of transit traffic through Austria, the East Tyrol region is not exactly blessed with locational advantages. The Felbertauern route, which takes less than one percent of the total goods traffic in the Alpine region, plays only a marginal role and can in no way be compared with major routes such as the Brenner (22 % of total goods traffic), Fréjus (15 %) and Gotthard (14 %).

This makes the collaboration with the Austrian Federal Railways all the more important for Hannes Bundschuh. Any general goods arriving at Lienz railway station will be taken over for delivery throughout the surrounding area by BS Transport.

Two other major customers who contract out their long-distance transport requirements to BS Transport are Liebherr, which produces its range of cooling appliances in Lienz, and the Karlsruhe-based electrical appliance manufacturer E.G.O., which has a subsidiary at Sillian, a village located in the upper reaches of the River Drau, close to the border with Italy.