Specialist, palletised Hazchem finished goods and Hazchem waste haulier, D&A Rhead,has taken delivery of No.44 in the limited edition run of 90th Anniversary New XFs from DAF Trucks. Based in Stoke, the operator runs nine trucks, the majority DAF tractors, on the demanding work that sees it cover the country.
Andrew Rhead, MD of the firm, explained the choice of the big DAF, saying, "We have bought DAFs for many years. We used to be all Foden, but back in the day when they disappeared, we looked around and DAF seemed a great choice. A lot of the local Foden team as found work with the DAF dealership, so that helped us choose as well."
The reason for selecting No.44 from the numbered limited-edition range was also a relatively simple one. Andrew's father, Derrick, founded the business 44 years ago, and was born in 1944. "We wanted a real flagship for the fleet," says Andrew Rhead, "and when we were told we could select a number for our truck, 44 ticked those two history boxes perfectly for us. My father still takes a very keen interest in the business, so this was a way of marking everything he has done." So important is this aspect to the family firm, Andrew has had an air brushed picture of Derrick Rhead painted across the back of the new cab.
Andrew had done his share of the driving in his early days with the business and takes a particular interest in the trucks he now buys and the reactions of the company's drivers to them. The new flagship XF 530 FTG 6x2 twin-steer, with its leather seats and cab trim, air-con, microwave, alloy wheels and a host of other DAF accessories, all standard on this metallic black 90th Anniversary model, will be the ride for one of his long service drivers. Andrew reflects, "The DAF has always been a great truck both for gaffers and drivers. The business benefits from the marque's engineering reliability and performance, while drivers get cabs they all seem to love. I know the DAF cab from personal experience, but they are happy to tell me, even today, that these are great to drive and really comfortable to spend nights away in as well."
Though the latest arrival on the fleet is still very new, Andrew has noticed its fuel economy is already looking very good, even alongside the company's year old XF 510. "I'm not sure how they've done it," he said, "but even though it's virtually brand new, we are seeing clear improvements in fuel consumption. So, when it's really bedded in, we are very confident it will set a new standard for us." Though the company normally turns vehicles round every six years, Andrew still has a DAF 95 on the fleet. "I can't bring myself to get rid of it," he smiles, "it still does a good day's work if we need it, and after all these years it costs us nothing except fuel and servicing. What's not to like?"
When mentioning servicing, Andrew Rhead notes that Imperial Commercials in Stoke care for his DAF fleet. "They really do try to do anything and everything they can for us," he says. Adding, "Every truck dealer up here seems to be on the lookout for qualified fitters these days, and I don't think Imperial are any different, but when we need their support they are always there for us. You can't really ask for more."
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