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.

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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.

A Comfier Drive For Edwin Pounds With New-Style Vito Removal Vehicle

Edwin Pounds and Sons of Bradford have come to Superior UK for their fleet and family vehicles since 2004. Company Director (and fourth generation family member) Simon Broome tells us why loyalty, trust and longevity matter in ongoing supplier relationships.

“We initially went to Superior UK in 2004 because of their industry reputation,” he said. “Everything went so smoothly with that initial purchase – and with each of our three fleet purchases in the last 11 years – that we have no desire to look anywhere else for our vehicles. Like us, Superior UK are a family firm and they share our own values of communication, attention to detail, trust and integrity.”

vitoEdwin Pounds and Sons are now on their third full fleet from Superior UK, and last year took delivery of the new generation E Class hearse and limousine with their distinctive single headlamps, Sport style grille and panoramic glass roofs. Last year it became time to upgrade the existing Vito removal vehicle to a newer, more spacious model. With the help of Kevin Smith at Superior UK, they ordered a brand-new Vito 114 BlueTEC.

“We had been running the old shape Vito since 2012,” explained Simon, “but I began to think about replacing it after a long trip to Scotland on one of the hottest days of the year. The old vehicle had no air-conditioning. And the cab could feel cramped for me, since I’m pretty tall.”

The firm’s new Vito is the new 114 shape, with aluminium wheels, automatic drive, and of course air conditioning! Like its predecessor, it was custom-built to Simon’s specifications with the build overseen by Kevin Smith at Superior.

“The Superior Rise&Fall decking in Superior’s Vitos is a huge bonus,” said Simon, “making life a lot easier for us and making removals more dignified and professional. The new vehicle is a lot nicer to drive. It’s already a great replacement but I know it will really come into its own next Summer.”

Edwin Pounds and Sons was established in 1904 as a farm, coal business and carriage providers by Edwin Pound, Simon’s maternal great-grandfather, who added funeral work to the business in 1940. Edwin Pound and Sons is now run by Simon, with support from his family and the team, and occupies a large site which was rebuilt in 2009.

A Comfier Drive For Edwin Pounds With New-Style Vito Removal Vehicle is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build

Busy Welsh funeral firm Richards Funeral Services Ltd serves a large area of the Cynon Valley. So their fleet needs to be reliable, with a professional look that honours this deeply-rooted community and give the families they serve the service they deserve.
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James Richards, Director and Owner at Richards Funeral Services explains why he made a big decision when it was time to purchase a replacement removal vehicle.

“Our existing removal vehicle was getting a bit tired, so we were looking to replace this workhorse,” James explained. “The removal vehicle we were using was a van on which we’d carried out our own conversion. It was good, and had suited our purposes for many years, but I knew an upgrade would benefit our staff, our business and the families.”

The lifting system on Richard FS’s self-build van conversion was solid but basic. James had a look at some other vehicles including the Ford Transit, which had great reviews, but decided to approach Superior UK to discuss a Mercedes-Benz Vito.

“I really felt we needed something a step up from a standard van,” he said. “We already run a Mercedes-Benz fleet of a hearse and two, so the obvious starting point was to look at a Mercedes-Benz removal vehicle. I’d dealt with the Smith family at Superior regarding our cars, so I gave Kevin a call and he paid us a visit to talk about the Vito.”

James’s key requirements were: exacting Health and Safety standards, an improved lifting mechanism for the vehicle’s top deck, and a professional look which matched his existing Mercedes-Benz fleet. After Kevin Smith of Superior UK had visited Richards Funeral services in Aberdare, James made the trip to Reading to see a selection of vehicles and view the workshop.

“Kevin was able to listen to my requirements and turn them into a practical set of specifications which would work very well in everyday life,” he explained. “It was great to be able to see the workshop and workmanship in action. The Vito is not just a van. It has an executive look, and an incredible level of design and finish. It’s built specifically for the job.”

Richards Funeral Services took delivery of their new Vito removal vehicle at the beginning of October and it was put to work immediately, covering hundreds of miles in its first month. “The staff here are delighted with it,” said James. “It’s a comfortable ride, runs well, and has given us no problems. The details of the finish are great, with excellent coverage on the paintwork unlike previous Mercedes vans we’ve had. The Rise&Fall lifting mechanism Superior built and installed is a step up from anything we’ve had before, and really makes our life easier.”

As the third-generation of this established family business, James knows that reputation and trust are key to longevity.

“The new Vito, and its lifting system, also looks a lot more professional when families see us doing a removal. And that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We are here to serve the public as best we can, and the families are paramount to the success of our firm.

“Ultimately, the Vito is a better-equipped and more professional looking vehicle than anything we could have achieved ourselves, and I’m glad we went to Superior UK for their help.”

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build
is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here

Third Vito For A J Wakely & Sons Hard-Working Fleet

With 10 offices serving a swathe of rural Devon, Somerset and Dorset, A J Wakely & Sons need a fleet which is totally reliable. Director Clive Wakely, fourth generation of this privately-owned funeral firm, explains why he chooses Superior UK for his removal vehicles.

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“Our 10 offices cover a really wide area – from Dorset and East Devon across the Somerset border. Our removal vehicles need to be totally reliable in the face of a high daily workload and plenty of mileage. We recently secured two coroners’ contracts for Dorset, which meant we needed to add a third removal vehicle to our fleet.”

Company Directors Clive and Simon Wakely first got in touch with Kevin Smith at Superior UK eight years ago, to purchase two new Mercedes Benz Vito removal vehicles. When recent developments in the business meant a third removal vehicle was needed, they knew who to contact.

“We have been completely happy with our existing Vitos,” said Clive, “and Kevin and his team at Superior always give excellent customer service. We have no reason to look elsewhere. We are pleased to be associated with Superior UK.”

“The Mercedes Vito is a really reliable vehicle and an essential workhorse in our fleet,” Clive explained. “But our removal vehicles have to look good, too, particularly when we are working on coroners’ contracts. We like the quality design and finish of the Rise and Fall mechanism, which makes the removal process easier and more dignified for everyone involved. These vehicles really are in a class of their own, as you would expect from Mercedes Benz. I can’t imagine us ever using anything else.”

This new Vito from Superior UK is the latest vehicle in A J Wakely & Sons distinctive silver fleet. “A J Wakely & Sons need dependable, quality vehicles which reflect the levels of service that this large and established family firm offer,” said Kevin Smith of Superior UK. “We are delighted to offer continued support.”

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Third Vito For A J Wakely & Sons Hard-Working Fleet is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here.

First fleet for Goodridge Milford Funeral Directors comes from Superior UK

Handover Goodridge Milford FD LoResSharon Goodridge-Milford and her family formed Goodridge Milford Funeral Directors in March 2011 but the company’s history stretches back through generations of funeral directors. Their heritage lies in the Goodridge Milford Funeral Home, and – like their predecessors – they serve the West Midlands. Sharon and her brother-in-law Winston explained how important the selection of their very first fleet was to the company’s future.

“Although we all have a great deal of experience in the industry, Goodridge Milford is only a few years old,” said Sharon, “and every business decision is close to our hearts. Earlier this year, it was time for us to purchase our first ever fleet of vehicles.

“We already knew we wanted Mercedes Benz vehicles, but hadn’t chosen a supplier, nor had we decided on the exact model of vehicles. We were very fortunate to connect with Kevin Smith and family at Superior UK, who guided us all the way.

“We’d seen the Binz hearse, and preferred it over the traditional Mercedes Benz shape for a funeral vehicle. We actually discovered Superior UK through an internet search. Shortly after sending our first enquiry, Kevin got it touch. The speed and personal nature of his contact set the tone for the relationship.

“From that very first phone call, Kevin was very helpful and accommodating, He told us history of the company and explained all the differences between the Binz and trade Mercedes Benz hearse. We were confident that we’d made the right decision for Goodridge Milford.”

The decision may have been made, but there was a lot more that Superior UK wanted to do to ensure Goodridge Milford were confident in their decision to purchase a Binz fleet.

“Kevin invited us to Superior’s HQ and workshop near Reading,” said Winston, Sharon’s brother-in-law, and the partner who oversees operations and fleet. “We were able to view all of the cars and look around them at our leisure.

“After that first visit, Kevin kept in regular contact. We were given first refusal when a suitable fleet became available, and I visited Superior UK with Sharon’s two sons, Marquell and Kyle, to be shown the exact vehicles. The cars were pristine, and we felt very reassured.”

Kevin at Superior assisted further by handling Goodridge Milford’s exact specifications, pairing the vehicles, transferring number plates, and even assisting the funeral firm with obtaining vehicle finance.

Goodridge Milford vehicle

“When it came to delivery, we gave Superior a very small window of time,” recalled Winston. “We actually needed the vehicles here with just 24 hours notice. Kevin was able to meet our deadline and delivered the vehicles to our door well within the 24 hours. In fact, I was a bit embarrassed, because he was there waiting for me when I turned up to work at 8:30am. And I live locally! That really impressed me.”

As always, Superior UK delivered the customer vehicles by specialist covered transporter. “The handover went like clockwork,” said Winston. “Kevin and his team were brilliant, went through every detail of the cars and showed us around them. We are all delighted with them; we couldn’t ask for better vehicles.”

“It’s Winston and my sons who are driving the vehicles,” said Sharon, “but I can tell they are beautiful to drive. It’s difficult to think that they’re not brand new, because they drive like new and the condition is excellent. We’ve received very positive feedback from families: they love the look of the cars from a distance, and then once inside they comment on the quality and how smooth the journey is.”

“The condition of the cars was always important to us,” explained Winston. “Appearance, safety and visual appeal is key for us and for our families. We haven’t had any issues with the cars, but we know any after-care from Superior will be great, and it’s reassuring to know that the post-sale support is there.”

Goodridge Milford are now looking for additional fleet vehicles and have once again turned to Superior UK for assistance. “It certainly strikes a cord with us that Superior UK are a family business too,” said Sharon. “The close working relationship between Kevin and Peter is noticeable and it’s something we can understand and appreciate.”

First fleet for Goodridge Milford Funeral Directors comes from Superior UK
is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here.

More than 25 vehicles over 10 years from Superior UK to F C Douch of Dorset

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When Dorset funeral directors F C Douch updated their fleet early in 2014, they asked Kevin Smith at Superior UK to provide their preferred Binz vehicles. The three new hearses and three new limousines mark the latest in a long list of vehicles sourced for the Douch family by Superior UK.

F C Douch is an independent funeral director, with seven offices throughout Dorset and on the Isle of Purbeck. Founded by Frederick “FC” Douch in 1910, the business remains owned and run by the family. Managing Director Nick Douch represents the fourth generation. Along with his father, Peter, he oversees the day-to-day running of the business including the management of its funeral fleet. They explain why Superior UK have been their vehicle supplier of choice for over 10 years.

“We have used Superior UK for our new funeral vehicles for 10 years,” said Nick. “Kevin, and his father Peter, have sourced us over 25 vehicles in that time. We have a large fleet and keep it updated in order to maintain safety standards, appearances, and the expectations of the families we serve.”

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In 2013, Nick felt it was time to update the existing fleet, and approached Kevin at Superior to discuss the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class range of funeral vehicles from Binz. The result of that conversation was three new hearses and three new limousines.

“There are certainly plenty of other vehicle specialists out there,” said Nick, “and we have looked at other manufacturers and suppliers. To be perfectly honest, some other makes of vehicle do score more highly on single aspects. But the all-round design, safety, build and finish of Binz vehicles wins us over every time. And the service we receive from Kevin and Peter at Superior UK makes us reluctant to go anywhere else. We are extremely happy with the relationship.”

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F C Douch’s entire fleet is now Binz and Mercedes Benz, including removal vehicles and company vehicles. “This latest delivery concludes our third fleet renewal,” said Nick, “and all 25 or so vehicles across the three fleets have been supplied by Superior.”

Kevin Smith at Superior UK said he has thoroughly enjoyed serving FC Douch over the past 10 years and looks forward to helping the family in the future. “Working with the Douch family is always a delight,” he said. “They are clear with their requirements and have a strong vision of how funeral vehicles can strengthen and support their business. I always enjoy time with them discussing options and solutions.”

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Nick agreed that the quality, finish and look of Binz funeral vehicles is a good fit for his own company’s image. “We are known for attention to detail and reliability,” he said, “and Mercedes Benz displays those same key qualities. I am always looking at the long term aspects of the business, and when we purchase vehicles I consider running costs, maintenance and second hand value. We really like the overall reliability of these vehicles, being manufactured on an uprated chassis and designed from the ground up as a hearse and limousine is a major bonus for us. And the low emissions of the eco models really contribute to lower running costs.”

More than 25 vehicles over 10 years from Superior UK to F C Douch of Dorset
is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here.