Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors’s First Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Exceeds Expectations

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When Keith and Peter Griffiths decided to invest in a new removal vehicle, they knew they did not want anything resembling a van. After detailed talks with Superior UK Automotive, they took ownership of a stunning new Mercedes-Benz Vito which looks so good that it can operate as a multi-purpose vehicle. Keith Griffiths talks us through his high-spec Vito.

Griffiths Vito

“It was very important to us that our new vehicle didn’t look like a van,” said Keith, who represents the 4th generation of the Griffiths family. “Although the vehicle would primarily be used as a removal vehicle, we wanted something that looked good enough to be a hearse if needed.”

The company’s existing fleet vehicles are Ford Mk11s, but they had always been an admirer of Mercedes-Benz design. So Keith contacted Superior UK Automotive.

“It was the first time we had worked with the Griffiths family,” said Kevin Smith from Superior UK, “and it was a real pleasure to hear about their vision for a multi-purpose removal type vehicle. Keith wanted the appearance of a passenger vehicle, with the practicalities of a van. I was excited to introduce him to the idea of a Vito, as I knew it could surpass his expectations.”

After some weeks of talks, a detailed specification was agreed.

Griffiths Vito Decking

“We have never liked the idea of a van that states it is a Private Ambulance,” said Keith. “Kevin understood exactly what we meant, and was very helpful. The finished vehicle is spectacular, we are very impressed.”

Hywel Griffiths’s Vito has a top quality exterior design, finished with a high-quality interior, making it ideal for home and hospital collections.

“I admit that I was always wary of this kind of vehicle, but our experience with Superior UK has completely changed my view,” said Keith. “Our Vito is so beautiful inside that it could pass as a hearse. We chose a burr walnut finish interior floor to ceiling, plus roof rails, chrome fittings on the sills, side steps, and alloy wheels. The high quality fittings and accessories to the interior really compliment the Mercedes-Benz exterior design.”

Brothers Peter and Keith, together with their children Rhodri, Lowri, Rhys and Euros are a tight-knit family business that was started in 1875. As 4th generation of this family firm, Keith prefers to deal with small companies. Superior UK Automotive are also a family business, with Kevin working alongside his father Peter. 

Hywel Griffiths Delivery Vito

“I immediately felt that Kevin understood the dynamic of a family business,” said Keith. “The communication and customer service was outstanding. We were always able to deal directly with him, and never had to wait for an answer.”

Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors are a privately owned business based in Betws, near Ammanford in West Wales, and offers funeral services and monumental masonry with a bilingual service.

“My great-grandfather started this firm in 1875 and we are proud to see how it has grown,” said Keith. “My own Dad did 70 funerals a year, but we do around 400 now. Our fleet vehicles are an important part of our branding and the service levels we give. Superior UK are a great partner for us.”

Hywel Griffiths Funeral Directors’s First Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Exceeds Expectations is a post from the Superior UK blog. The main Superior UK website is here.

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UK Funeral Industry Gets First Glimpse Of New E Class From Mercedes Benz

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Superior UK’s Kevin Smith is back from a visit to Pilato in Italy and Binz in Germany. And he has some news about the next E Class.

We’ve known for some time that a new E Class design will be rolled out from Mercedes Benz. But, until now, the funeral industry hasn’t been able to take a close look at the aesthetics, technology, and drive of the new design. The Superior UK team recently spend a week in Europe, visiting their partners at Pilato and Binz.

“Our first stop was Pilato in Italy,” Kevin said, “where we were able to check on customer vehicles in build and discuss future products. We saw the first XF Grand Aurora come out of the paint shop, and briefed Pilato in on plans for four XJs customer vehicles.

“From Italy, we travelled to Stuttgart to spend time at the Binz factory. As part of this incredible visit, we were able to get a detailed look at the new E Class.”

Key figures from Superior UK and Binz met to discuss the run out of the current E Class and the merge through of production to new E Class. Kevin voiced questions on behalf of his funeral director customers, and was pleased to note just how easy it will be to merge the new E Class with existing vehicles in a fleet.

“The good news for funeral directors back in the UK is that the aesthetics of the new E Class are not so different from the outgoing model,” he noted. “Customers who want to add to their fleet without a total overhaul will be able to seamlessly blend their vehicles, and continue to complete their fleet without any cars looking out of place. Even though the cars will be from different years, the fleet will match.”

The Big Reveal: New E Class Model

Mercedes Benz say the new E Class is a “tour de force of technology”, and although the front end of the vehicles shares synergy with the outgoing model, anyone with a keen eye for cars will spot subtle changes.

But it’s on the inside that the differences really stack up. Interior space, ride quality, quietness, fit and finish have all been addressed by Mercedes Benz.

Standard specification includes LED headlights and taillights, satellite navigation, Active Brake Assist and PRE-Safe Sound.

All new E Class saloons will have the new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox as standard, which delivers a high 72.4 mpg economy and lovely smooth shifts. Standard specification on the SE includes new sat nav, parking sensor and self-parking technology, impressive safety systems, and incredible 64-colour selectable LED interior lighting. The cars are luxurious to drive, with leather upholstery, heated front seats and an improved sense of space. But the car has a familiar look which will put it at home with your existing fleet.

This is all good news for any funeral director looking to add a new E Class to their fleet in 2017. The styling is the same, so old and new will merge into one classy looking fleet. But the quality of technology, the driver experience, and every detail of the fit and finish has been upgraded.

Continuity Of Design And Aesthetics

“On behalf of our customers, I am pleased to see the continuity in design language and ergonomics of the vehicle,” said Kevin. “This is great news for any customer who wants to mix their fleet or update just one limo or hearse. They’ll be able to do so without it being immediately obvious that they are running two models. “

The new E Class Estate will arrive in the UK market during October 2016, and Superior UK are gearing up to deliver the first of these stunning new vehicles in Spring 2017 with the limousine rolling out first and the hearse shortly after. The cars are already at Binz in Germany, and Superior UK are in touch every week to keep track of development work.

For more information about the new E Class, please contact Kevin Smith (for the South) Kevin.Smith@superioruk.com or Greg Platt (for the North) Greg.Platt@superioruk.com.

E Class News is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

Superior UK Hosts FC Douch At Binz Factory in Germany

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It’s not often that you get to see how the vehicles you drive every day are built. But that’s exactly what happened when Jonathan Stretch from FC Douch & Sons (Funerals) Ltd in Dorset was invited to the Binz factory in Stuttgart, Germany.

The trip was part of Superior UK’s planned visit to Binz. Kevin Smith of Superior was travelling to Pilato in Italy and Binz in Germany to discuss customer requirements and get involved in the development of future products.

The Douch Family Funeral Directors have been customers of Superior for more than 10 years. In that time, Kevin has sourced and delivered all their funeral vehicles. With 8 branches across Dorset, Douch Family Funeral Directors run a large fleet of Binz and Mercedes Benz funeral vehicles and personal vehicles.
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As part of this very special customer visit, Jonathan Stretch from Douch Family Funeral Directors received a personal tour of the Binz factory. “It was a wonderful trip,” he said. “From the minute I landed, I had an informative, entertaining and amusing time. Everyone at Binz was welcoming and obviously very proud of everything they are doing at the factory.

“Having purchased many Mercedes Benz vehicles over the past 10 years, I was keen to see the actual build process. When Kevin at Superior said he could help facilitate this, I jumped at the chance! We are long serving customers of Superior and this just demonstrates Kevin’s genuine commitment to customer relationships.”

Jonathan was particularly keen to see the new E Class. “It was fascinating to see how the cars are built from the ground up,” he said. “We are already considering the new E Class as future hearses and limousines. Getting to see the vehicle in the factory gave us a new level of insight into the build quality.”
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During the visit, Kevin and Jonathan also enjoyed visiting the historic Mercedes-Benz museum at Stuttgart.

Kevin was delighted to have a role in hosting Douch Family Funeral Director at Binz. “We have enjoyed working with the Douch family over the past decade and it was a pleasure to host them,” he said. “We really enjoyed Jonathan’s company and appreciate him taking the time out to visit Binz.”

Superior UK Hosts FC Douch At Binz Factory in Germany is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

The Latest Mercedes-Benz Vito Joins Heart of England Co-operative’s Fleet

The Heart of England Co-operative runs a large fleet of more than 20 vehicles across thirteen funeral homes across Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Darryl Smith, Heart of England Co-operative Society’s General Manager of Funerals, explains why he choose to renew with another Mercedes Benz Vito.

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“We have used the Vito as our choice of first-call vehicle for years,” said Darryl, “so when it was time to update the oldest vehicle in the fleet, the latest model of Vito was the obvious choice. The Vito has always been a hard working and high performing fleet vehicle, but the latest model has an upgraded shape and interior which suits our modern, forward-thinking business style.”

The Heart of England Co-operative Society is one of the most successful co-operative businesses in the country, with two new funeral homes opened already this year. The business runs a fleet of more than 20 hearses, limousines, and first-call ambulances. “Superior UK helped us put together an eye-catching fleet of Mercedes Benz hearses and matching limousines in our bespoke colour choice – Tenorite Grey,” explained Darryl, “and it’s important that our Vitos match the ceremonial vehicles as closely as possible. Kevin has been great at helping us customise our Vitos to fit in with our distinctive look.”

Darryl’s first-call Vitos are all finished in Flint Grey dark metallic paintwork, with colour-coded bumpers, alloy wheels and tinted glass. “The Vito looks more like an executive vehicle than a removal vehicle,” said Darryl. “This newest Vito has an improved driving position and automatic gear box, which makes it drive more like a car than a van. It’s had positive responses from our clients, and from our drivers. The bespoke hydraulic Rise & Fall decking designed and installed by Superior makes every transfer safer and easier for my team.”

Superior UK have supplied Heart of England Co-operative Society with more than 10 vehicles in the past four years, and have built a close working relationship with Darryl and his team.

“I can always rely on Superior UK to provide us with the right advice,” said Darryl, “ and then help us choose and customise vehicles when we are ready.”

Darryl discovered one surprising benefit of running Mercedes-Benz Vitos: the resale price. “This new Vito replaces one that was three years old,” he explained. “We got a very good price for it, partly because it’s a Mercedes-Benz but also because it was a Superior UK vehicle. People know that means a quality vehicle that has always been looked after properly. Every vehicle we have had from Superior has been great quality.”

Superior UK are delighted to be the chosen supplier of  Heart of England Co-operative Society. “We are always happy to advise Darryl, and help him choose vehicles which support the vision and values of the business,” said Kevin Smith at Superior UK.

The Latest Mercedes-Benz Vito Joins Heart of England Co-operative’s Fleet is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

It’s A Superior Surprise For Thomas Grieve & Son

When Anthony Grieve arrived at work on 18th November, he was presented with a huge surprise from his father Bill Grieve: a brand-new Binz hearse and limousine to mark the handover of business from father to son.

WP_20151117_15_16_04_ProUnknown to him, his father Bill had been working away behind the scenes with the help of Kevin Smith at Superior UK to arrange purchase and delivery of two bespoke vehicles. After 28 years running Thomas Grieve & Son, Bill plans to retire next year. What better way to begin the handover than with two shiny new cars, custom-built to the Grieve family’s exact specifications.

The Mercedes hearse and limousine vehicles were manufactured at Binz in Germany and delivered to Thomas Grieve & Son’s West Lothian offices by Superior UK, Binz’s UK partner.

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Like the rest of the firm’s fleet, the two new vehicles are stunning Palladium Grey which demonstrates Grieve’s modern, forward-thinking mindset. “We are in the process of upgrading our entire fleet to matching Palladium Grey Binz Mercedes vehicles,” said Bill Grieve. “As far as we are aware, we are the only funeral directors in the area that use this colour.”

Bill Grieve and his own father, Thomas, started the business in 1987 in Blackburn, West Lothian. The company is still based in Blackburn but has now grown, employing 15 members of staff across four locations, and offering chauffeur hire services. The happy recipient of the vehicles, Anthony Grieve, represents the third generation of this thriving and hard-working funeral firm.

“As soon as I saw the new cars in the yard, I realised what Dad had arranged,” said Anthony. “I was blown away by the surprise. The cars were put to work straight away and have been a huge asset to our fleet. My Dad and I have run the business tougher for the past eight years, and I’ll use the solid work-ethic he’s taught me to take the business forward when he retires.

“My own sons – the fourth generation – will join the business before too long. I hope these cars will still be in our fleet then, so I can in turn pass them down to my sons.”

The new hearse and limousine join Grieve’s existing fleet of two Binz hearses and limousines, and four Mercedes Binz family cars, all in the eye-catching Palladium Silver.

“This was a very special delivery of a hearse and limousine,” says Kevin Smith at Superior UK. “It was all arranged as a top secret gift from Bill Grieves to his son, and we were honoured to be a trusted part of the arrangements. The handover was very special!”

It’s A Superior Surprise For Thomas Grieve & Son is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

First Formal Hearse Purchase in 20 Years For FH Halliday & Son

When FH Halliday of Portishead decided to add a second hearse to their fleet, they went searching for a vehicle supplier who welcomed single vehicle orders.

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FH Halliday and Son is run on a day-to-day basis by Funeral Director Matthew Aldridge and his wife Tracey, the busy firm serves a large area of Somerset and Bristol from its base in Portishead and second office, Abbey Funeral Services in Worle, Weston-super-Mare.

Matthew Aldridge tells us why it was important to find exactly the right vehicle supplier.

“We already run an bespoke Mercedes Vito hearse, but had been hiring in vehicles to cover demand,” he said. “The time had come to purchase another hearse. We decided a formal hearse would give our clients even greater choice. As this would be our first formal hearse purchase for 20 years I knew I had to find a vehicle supplier who could advise us every step of the way. We searched high and low to find a supplier who shared our excitement for the project.”

Matthew did a lot of industry research but found some carriage masters seemed unenthusiastic about a single vehicle order from a smaller funeral firm.

“That changed when I spoke to Kevin Smith at Superior UK,” he said. “He was excited about our order from the first conversation and no detail was too small for him. He was really good throughout the entire process. I told him exactly what we wanted, and that’s exactly what he found.”

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FH Halliday & Son took delivery of their Binz hearse which came with modern styling, glass roof and lights in the coffin chamber. It joins the firm’s Mercedes V class fleet. “We believe it’s important to offer families choice,” said Matthew. “We recently signed up to the Quakers Fair Funeral Pledge, to give people with lower incomes a simpler funeral option if they choose.”

The business has been in the Halliday family since the 1880s and is owned by Helen and Glyn Lawrence who now live overseas. Glyn flew back for the delivery of the hearse and was delighted to be present at the official handover.

“The new hearse was delivered by Kevin in perfect order with our personal plates, and was out on the road the day after Kevin delivered it,” said Matthew. “It looks great and we’ve had fantastic feedback about it from families. Our V Class following cars compliment it perfectly. We have a beautiful fleet now thanks to Kevin’s help and advice.”

As well as extending their fleet, FH Halliday & Son are developing their existing site to include new Chapels of Rest and Service Rooms to give families the opportunity of having services on site. “We have a solid history behind us,” said Matthew, “but we are always looking to the future.”

“I’m grateful to Kevin Smith and the team at Superior UK for the professional handling of this hearse purchase,” he said. “We love the vehicle and the personal way we were all looked after. I hope we can do more business in the future.

First Formal Hearse Purchase in 20 Years For FH Halliday & Son is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

New Binz limousine helps Heart of England Co-operative maintain modern branding

The Heart of England Co-operative have always been a forward-thinking business. Their fleet are a key part of their brand’s modern image, so when it was time to purchase a new limousine, they asked Superior UK to help source a brand new Binz.
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Darryl Smith is the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s General Manager of Funerals. He told us why they continue to choose Binz vehicles to update their fleet. “Our fleet of 4 first-call vehicles is really eye-catching,” he explained, “with Flint Grey dark metallic paintwork, with colour-coded bumpers, alloy wheels and tinted glass. We love the look of the vehicles and we get lots of positive comments from our client families. We have always been impressed by the quality of the Binz vehicles, with great coachwork and detailed finish, and of course the fuel economy of the BlueEFFICIENCY models helps us stay competitive.”

Kevin Smith, from Superior UK, told us why he is always delighted to assist Darryl and the Heart of England Co-operative. “Darryl has many years experience in the funeral industry and understands how the right choice of vehicle can make a significant impact on a funeral firm’s image,” he said. “Limousines need to be safe, comfortable and reliable but it’s the finish and details which help build awareness and trust with families. It is a pleasure to help Heart of England expand their fleet. Darryl’s choice of the Tenorite Grey paintwork, with bespoke details on the cars, really makes their fleet stand out.”
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The latest limousine to be delivered to Darryl is part of a continual programme which keeps the Heart of England Co-operative moving forward.

Superior UK looks forward to being of service to Darryl and his colleagues in the future as they expand their fleet and keep their company image fresh and distinctive.

You can find us at Superior Automotive UK on Twitter and Superior Automotive UK on Facebook. For more about us please go to our main website – Superior Automotive UK.

New Binz limousine helps Heart of England Co-operative maintain modern branding is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here.