New Hybrid Vehicle Helps S. Stibbards & Sons Stay Environmentally Friendly

S. Stibbards & Sons are one of the oldest established funeral directors in Essex, with a history steeped in tradition.  However when it came time to replace one of their private transfer vehicles they were keen to embrace new technologies and felt that Superior UK Automotive’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle would help reduce costs whilst helping to improve the general environment.

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“Superior UK had been recommended to us for the quality of their decks and robustness of their hydraulic systems,” explained Stuart Stibbards-Fryer, Head of Fleet Management and fifth generation of the Stibbards family. “Jon Helm came out to see us at our head office in Hadleigh and we soon realised Superior UK offered a refreshingly different level of service. We talked to Jon about what we needed in a private transfer vehicle, and felt very confident leaving it in his hands.”

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S. Stibbards & Sons was founded in 1867 and now has six offices in the local area of Southend-on-Sea, with a coroner’s contract for the area to service as well, the vehicle had to be reliable, professional-looking, and hard working.

Superior UK Automotive welcomed the opportunity to deliver their first mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (mHEV) van.

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The new vehicle is finished in metallic Kapoor red to match Stibbards signature branding. The vehicle is a long wheel base uprated to 3.2 tonne. Custom built extra storage in front of the hydraulic decks adds to the normal under deck storage typical of a Superior Rise & Fall deck system and meets Stibbards bespoke requirements.

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Kevin Smith from Superior UK explained why this was an exciting project.

“Stuart took a very hands-on approach and knew exactly what the company needed,” he said. “The Ford Transit Custom is a first for both Superior UK and Stibbards as it is based on the latest EcoBlue diesel mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle. It’s a great-looking, very practical vehicle which helps Stibbards play their part by being environmentally friendly without compromising the practical requirements of long-distance work.”

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This is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive – our main website is here.

W S Ingham & Son New High-Spec Vito Removal Vehicle Matches Fleet

W S Ingham & Son are no strangers to upgrading their fleet with the very latest vehicles – last year, they took delivery of a Pilato Jaguar GrandAurora hearse and two XJ limousines. When the decision was made to replace a removal vehicle with brand-new vehicle, they once again turned to Superior UK.

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Tony Ingham is third generation of the Ingham family, and runs the business with his mother Pat with help from his fiancee Debbie.

“We are a modern, progressive funeral business and we like our vehicles to reflect our values,” he explained. “Our Pilato Jaguar ceremonial vehicles certainly do that – they are stunning. We wanted our newest removal vehicle to have similar wow-factor.”

Tony was happy to have another Mercedes Vito removal vehicle, but knew he wanted a bespoke, high-spec version. He asked the team at Superior UK to create a vehicle that would perfectly fit the needs of his busy funeral firm.

“We worked with Superior UK last year for those amazing Pilato Jaguar fleet vehicles, and I completely trust Kevin to handle any vehicle request,” said Tony. “Superior’s customer service and communication are second to none, and they really understand the needs of funeral directors. We have a great relationship, there is no need to look anywhere else.”

Tony had seen Superior UK’s Vito and knew the spec he wanted, including the Superior UK Rise&Fall decking and plenty of storage.

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W S Ingham’s new high-spec Vito is finished in Selenite metallic grey to match his Pilato Jaguar fleet vehicles. The result is a slick and great-looking fleet of top-end funeral vehicles, bespoke inside and out.

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“Our new Vito was created for us and really makes life easier,” said Tony. “We’ve since had our fleet vehicles fitted with Superior UK’s hygiene screens so we can offer families the best possible service even at these strange times. Superior have been a great help throughout.”

This is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive – our main website is here.

G Seller & Co Take Delivery Of New Vito Tourer Removal Vehicle

G Seller & Co are a busy family funeral firm based in Hinckley, covering a large area of Leicestershire. Joseph Barsby, Managing Director and third generation of the Barsby family to come into the company, asked Superior UK Automotive to provide a bespoke Vito Tourer to support the business.

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“I knew exactly what we needed from a new removal vehicle, and I was confident that Kevin and the team at Superior UK would be able to help,” said Joseph. “We discussed all the options, and then I purchased the Vito and sent it to Superior UK to be fitted out.”

 

When the Vito arrived at Superior UK HQ, it was basic and white – the perfect blank canvas for creating a fit-for-purpose funeral vehicle. The Superior UK team got to work creating Joseph’s vision, including installation of a bespoke storage system for permanent housing of kit. The team also built individual storage boxes allowing easy access to the stretchers from the tailgate.

 

The decking was finished in a modern smart Grey Laminate and delivered to a delighted Joseph and colleagues.

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“We are very happy with our new Vito, and highly recommend Superior UK for an excellent service, and a collaborative approach to creating truly bespoke vehicles,” said Joseph.

This is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive. Our main website is here.

Second Vito Makes Matching Pair for F Cobbett & Sons

F Cobbett & Sons Funeral Directors, who operate six funeral homes in South London as Evershed Brothers, have taken delivery of a brand-new custom Vito removal vehicle. Warwick Cobbett explains why he decided to order a second Vito to match his existing 17-plate vehicle.

Cobbett new Vito

“In addition to having six branches in London, our vehicles make long trips in the UK and even outside of the country,” says Warwick. “We need removal vehicles that are exceptionally reliable and spacious, but also look the part.”

Warwick had previously ordered a customised Vito from Superior UK Automotive, and has been so pleased with the vehicle that he knew he wanted a second identical van to standardise his private ambulances.

Cobbett Vito side

“Our 17-plate Vito was the first vehicle we had from Superior, and since then we have developed a good relationship with Kevin and his team. In 2018, we ordered a Pilato hearse and have been very happy with the service from Superior.

“When the time came to replace our second removal vehicle, I knew I wanted a matching Vito from Superior. It is great to have a standardised look and performance across our vehicles.”

Cobbett Vito rear interior

Kevin Smith from Superior UK was delighted to assist Warwick with his second Vito.

“Warwick asked us to replicate his 17-plate Vito, so we customised the decks to accommodate a repatriation casket on the top and bottom decks, installed an Auden wheeled bier and finished the Vito off with a fully lined VIP kit, air-conditioning, navigation and automatic transmission. The only extra is the reversing cameras, which weren’t available when Warwick ordered his first Vito.”

Cobbett VIto side interior

With a pair of matching removal vehicles, each with a custom height deck and personalised spec, F Cobbett and Sons fleet is looking even more slick and professional.

“We are pleased to help Warwick with this quality vehicle which will keep up with the needs of his busy London funeral firm for many years to come,” says Kevin Smith of Superior UK.

F Cobbett & Sons operate under Evershed Brothers. The family firm has been operating since 1924 and Warwick is third generation of the Cobbett family.

Second Vito Makes Matching Pair for F Cobbett & Sons is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive – our main website is here.

JG Fielder Upgrade to Vito With the Help of Superior UK Automotive

JG Fielder & Son are a large independent funeral director, with six branches across North Yorkshire. Their vehicles go a lot of miles: not only does the business have six locations, but regularly does hospital runs across the entire country.

When the time came to update one of the removal vehicles, partners Victor and Chris Fielder knew it was important to invest in a reliable and purpose-built vehicle. Chris tells us why JG Fielder & Son decided on a bespoke Vito from Superior UK Automotive.

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“We like to run a relatively new fleet,” explains Chris, who represents the fifth generation at JG Fielder & Son. “Our removal vehicles tend to last two or three years because we run so many miles. Just this week we have been to Bedford, London, and Lancaster from our base here in North Yorkshire.

“We’ve previously had MPV type removal vehicles, but decided to upgrade to a van with purpose-built interior as we knew it would last longer.”

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Chris had seen Superior UK Automotive’s vehicles – including their Vito – at the National Funeral Exhibition some years ago. It evidently made a good impression, as he remembered the vehicle and got straight on the phone to Superior.

“We did look around too,” he says, “but no other company was offering the option of putting together our own specification at the level of finish we wanted, and there was nothing on the market to rival the Superior UK Vito.”

Greg Platt, Superior UK’s Northern Area Sales Executive, visited JG Fielder & Son to demonstrate some of the choices of interior to their new Vito, including the famous Rise&Fall lift system.

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“We already knew what we wanted in our Vito,” says Chris, “so it was great to see the layout in a real vehicle. Greg helped us decide on every detail and was happy to provide options on the interior – again, Superior UK were the only vehicle company we found willing to do this.”

Superior UK helped JG Fielder & Son decide on a spec for their Vito, creating a bespoke vehicle which was professional and functional with a really high-level finish.

Between order and delivery day, Superior UK kept in touch, giving Chris regular updates. The Vito was on the road within 20 minutes of delivery, and instantly became a key part of the fleet.

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“We do about 800 funerals a year over a large area,” Chris says. “Add hospital runs to that and you can imagine how busy our new Vito has been.

“It has made a huge difference, helping us save time and fuel. The extra space and the design of the interior means we can take 4 bodies at a time (instead of 2). The higher spec means it is comfortable to drive, which is important when we cover so many miles.

“The Rise&Fall decking is so easy to use, we would never go back to anything else. Not only is it easier for our drivers to operate, but the deck can be raised up to window level so people can see floral tribes more easily.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK says it was a pleasure to help Chris Fielder and family with their first Vito removal vehicle.

“JG Fielder’s Vito was a first for us, too,” he says. “It was the first Superior UK Vito removal vehicle in the latest dark graphite grey metallic – a great colour for this vehicle, especially in its covert ‘MPV’ guise.

“Chris and Vic chose a great specification, opting for a Vito Premium with 7-speed automatic transmission, alloy wheels, air-conditioning and navigation. They asked us to fit the rear compartment with full VIP kit, all beautifully finished in burnt strand grey laminate. The result is a beautiful vehicle that is purpose built to make the job easier.”

This is a blog post from Superior Automotive UK – the main website is here.

First UK Polaris Hearse Is Hand-Signed During Build By Southern Co-op

When Southern Co-op made the decision to order a brand-new Polaris hearse, the team already knew it was a first for the UK funeral industry. What co-operative funeral colleagues didn’t know is quite how unique the process would become – from flying out to the Pilato factory to see their car in build, to signing the inside of the vehicle and installing a personalised plaque inside the bonnet. 

Southern Co-op Polaris Delivery Jarrod Turner Kevin Smith Matt Turner

Southern Co-op is a regional, independent co-operative with more than 50 funeral branches across the south of England. Matt Turner from Southern Co-op told us about the process of becoming a Polaris owner.

“Some of our existing fleet were coming to the end of their life cycle with us,” he said, “and we were looking at the various options available in the market. We operate across a large and busy region, and our vehicles need to be reliable. But we also like our ceremonial vehicles to look the part – stylish and different, without losing any of the tradition and etiquette.”

Wow-Factor Hearse With Design Style

“We really needed a high end hearse that would wow our clients, and be in keeping with the high end service we are known for. Once I saw the Polaris, I knew it was exactly what we wanted. The latest Mercedes, with the design style of Pilato, created the perfect match for our company.”

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After contacting Superior UK (official partners and distributors of Pilato to the UK), Matt felt even more certain that the Polaris was the right decision.

“We were captivated by the Pilato Polaris. It has such a modern and stunning design that we knew we wanted it as an eye-catching part of our fleet.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK visited Southern Co-op to talk to Matt and his colleague Claire McGinty about the Polaris hearse, helping Matt and Claire design their perfect spec and finish.

“We have a very close working relationship with Pilato,” explained Kevin. “I visit the Pilato factory several times a year, and I know these cars inside out. That level of knowledge means I can help our customers make decisions almost as if their vehicle was in front of us.”

Before long, the vehicle would in fact be in front of them, when Matt and Claire received a surprise invitation to see their Polaris being built at the Pilato factory in Italy.

Co-op and Superior at Pilato factory

Seeing Their Vehicle During The Build Process

“We have never had the opportunity to see one of our hearses mid production,” said Matt, “so we jumped at the opportunity to head out to the factory. Being able to see the hearse – plus others that were further down the line – helped us visualise the end result far better than a picture ever could. We spent time talking with the Pilato team working on our hearse to explain our vision. It was an amazing experience.”

Matt and Claire were even able to personalise some of the design, as Kevin from Superior UK explained.

“During their visit to the Pilato factory, Claire and Matt secretly signed the inside of the hearse during the build process,” he said, “and we installed a little plaque under the bonnet dedicating the vehicle to its new owner.” 

Matt Turner Claire McGinty Southern Co-op signing car at Pilato factory

Adding A Personal Touch

“It was so nice to be able to add a personal touch to the hearse by writing a little message inside,” said Matt. “We knew our team would find and read it when we took delivery – a really special touch.”

The finished vehicle was finished in Mercedes Tenorite grey metallic. The interior has lots of LED lighting, grey laminate decking, a black leather interior trim and white quilted stitching. Pilato installed some custom perspex window trims which allow for the discrete display of illuminated name plates. 

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Southern Co-op was the first to order a Polaris hearse, and the first to take delivery in the South of England.

“It’s great to get our hands on this amazing car,” said Matt. “It is everything that we had hoped it would be. Working with Superior and Pilato has been great. We really value the close relationship we have built up with Superior over the years, and look forward to continuing this for many years to come.”

Southern Co-op is a regional, independent co-operative owned by its 140,000+ members. As well as food and funeral branches, it also runs two crematoria and a natural burial ground which reaffirm the co-operative’s sustainable business approach and commitment to providing a fair, fresh approach for all.

First UK Polaris Hearse Is Hand-Signed During Build By Southern Co-op is a blog from Superior UK. The main Superior UK website is here.

William T Fraser & Son First In Highlands To Take Delivery Of PilatoMercedes Polaris 

William T Fraser & Son took delivery of their Polaris Mercedes hearse in July, they became one of the first funeral directors in the UK to run this stunning new design concept from Pilato.

Director Martin Fraser, who represents the third generation of this family business, explains why the Polaris gets a resounding thumbs-up from him and all his team.

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“We wanted to add a new hearse to our existing fleet of a vintage Daimler and E Class Mercedes,” said Martin. “I started looking around and realised most modern hearses are quite unattractive. Why should we have to buy ugly hearses? Superior UK and Pilato offer something very different and exciting. Kevin came all the way from Berkshire to Inverness to talk to us about the Polaris.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK was delighted to tell Martin and his family about the PilatoMercedes E-Class Polaris hearse, which is still new to the UK. It’s a modern take on traditional hearse design, with sleek lines and distinctive Polaris aesthetics. Large side glasses, a glass tailgate, and LED illumination give an incredible sense of space, with the high-tech specification taking this hearse to a new level.

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“Since that first long-distance visit to talk us through the options, Superior have continued to be a great help,” says Martin. “The ordering process was very smooth and we were able to personalise the specification, interior, and exterior. Greg from Superior was on hand right through to delivery day. I couldn’t be happier with the build quality, fit, and finish. It’s an absolutely stunning vehicle.”

Martin isn’t the only one who thinks the Polaris is the most eye-catching hearse around. Luckily, his whole team agree.

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“I did a blind test of all the hearses on the market,” Martin says. “I showed every member of staff a photo of all the cars we could have chosen, making sure to remove the vehicle names first. They all picked the Polaris, without knowing it was the car I was considering.”

Martin likes to keep ahead of the game, and he has the first Obsidian black Polaris in Scotland. It has already become the show stopper of the William T Fraser fleet.

William T Fraser Fleet

“People are coming up especially to see it,” says Martin, “and it’s received incredible feedback from families. The Polaris is one way of showing our dedication to bringing the best possible service to families.

“We are over the moon with the vehicle, and with the service from Superior UK. We are very proud to be one of the first funeral directors in the UK to take ownership of a Pilato hearse.”

William T Fraser & Son First In Highlands To Take Delivery Of PilatoMercedes Polaris is a blog post from Superior UK – the main Superior UK website is here.

High-Spec Vito On Display At NFE Finds New Home With Alan Greenwood & Sons 

An independent funeral director business with 31 funeral homes and chapels of rest needs a large fleet. But when Alan Greenwood attended this year’s NFE, he didn’t plan to leave with a new vehicle. He tells us why this new Vito caught his eye.

Greenwood new Vito

“We’re one of the largest true independents remaining in the UK,” says Alan, who runs Alan Greenwood & Sons. “We currently have more than 25 funeral homes across Surrey and South London, as you can imagine this means the business is always expanding and adapting. One of our greatest needs is having enough good quality, reliable fleet vehicles.”

Alan has come to Superior UK for ceremonial vehicles and private ambulances for over 15 years, and some of his first Superior vehicles are still in service.

“I’ve always done business with Kevin at Superior because his vehicles have always been great quality, and he looks after us very well,” says Alan. “We’ve had new vehicles from him, and he’s done repair and service work for us too. He’s a good man to deal with, and in this business that means a lot.”

Alan Greenwood with Kevin Smith Vito handover

Superior UK always have a large stand at the NFE, and this year was no different. Alan attended the show keen to see Superior’s vehicles, but had no intention of actually buying anything. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

“I may have had a G&T!” jokes Alan. “I wasn’t expecting to buy a vehicle at the NFE, but when the best in the business are there and you can physically look around the cars, it makes sense. I spotted the new Vito on Superior’s stand and knew it would be our next removal vehicle. It is a very high-spec vehicle, beautifully kitted out, and can double up as a hearse – which makes it even more of an attractive prospect.”

Alan’s new Mercedes Vito removal vehicle has a high level of specification, complete with air-conditioning, a reversing camera, and automatic transmission.”

Alan Greenwood with new Vito

“It’s everything you could need in a removal vehicle, and more,” explains Kevin Smith from Superior UK. “The specification is designed to accommodate the specific needs of a funeral director, making it a truly multi-purpose vehicle.

“The attention to detail and quality of finish, combined with its MPV-like appearance, means it is real for nursing homes and residential removals, replacing the need to operate both a removal van and an estate car or people carrier.

“Our Vito is ideal as a hearse for the morbidly obese or for low-cost funerals. We have also supplied our Vitos for repatriation use. It really is a great reliable all-rounder.”

Alan Greenwood & Sons took delivery of their new Vito in July and immediately put the vehicle to work across a busy region.

“We have chosen to go to Superior UK for our vehicles since buying our first limousine from Kevin in 2004,” says Alan. “We enjoy a friendly relationship and I know Kevin is only ever a phone call away. This latest vehicle is another example of the quality vehicles and great service we have always had. That’s why I stay with Superior.”

High-Spec Vito On Display At NFE Finds New Home With Alan Greenwood & Sons is a blog post from Superior UK Automotive – their main website is here – Superior UK website.

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

Hywel Griffiths Delivery Vito 2

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.

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.