Gray & Adams has launched its own purpose-designed vehicle in response to demand from the fast-growing home-delivery sector for another major supplier.

Based on a 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the company’s first demonstration unit is more aerodynamic and futuristic in appearance than competitors’ products, important in a segment where brand image is crucial.

The vehicle is fitted with a dual-temperature GAH refrigeration unit and capable of carrying 105 totes (crates) – Gray & Adams freed up the space for an extra tote by “designing out” the wheelbox intrusion.

Other innovative features include wide radius cappings to smooth the airflow and high-gloss Kemlite floor skins which are used externally as well as internally, to help prevent dirt and debris accumulating beneath the vehicle and thus reducing payload capacity.

Gray & Adams has also taken steps to protect the vehicle from costly accident damage by fitting plastic, high impact-resistant rear light plates, proximity sensors and reversing cameras.

“We’ve shown our new vehicle to a number of major retailers,” says Steve Rose, Managing Director at Gray & Adams’ Doncaster factory, where investments have been made in additional capacity in preparation for market entry. “The feedback has been resoundingly positive and we’re already in detailed negotiations regarding the first volume orders.”

Gray & Adams puts the current size of the UK home delivery fleet at around 7,500 vehicles. Based on an average five-year replacement cycle, this implies potential demand for some 1,500 new vehicles each year.

“Yet until now the home delivery sector has been dominated by a single vehicle supplier,” says Steve Rose. “Given continued growth in this segment, the market badly needs another volume-based manufacturer to guarantee future supply and ensure price competitiveness.

“That’s where we come in. Gray & Adams has a proven track record for working with its customers to develop high-quality temperature-controlled transport solutions tailored specifically to their operations. We’re also known for delivering on time and as ordered, and for supporting our products with a first class aftercare service.”