Strong business growth has seen operator RD Avery double its turnover in the last three years, whilst investing around £250,000 in a DAF New XF 530 FAS recovery unit. The Super Space cab of the rear lift 6×2 includes a host of driver safety and comfort features, while its Boniface body and the latest Mk.6 ‘K-Boom’ lifting equipment make it one of the most sophisticated recovery units in the UK.
RD Avery specified the 16-speed TraXon automated gearbox and hub-reduction drive axle allowing the vehicle to run at up to 90 tonnes trainweight. “A lot of the spec in cab terms, and even the TraXon box, was aimed at driver comfort and safety,” said Stewart Lee, RD Avery’s Head of Recovery, “while the TraXon box also offered great fuel economy potential alongside the latest MX-13 530bhp engine. We are extremely busy and, even though we are currently based between Southampton and Salisbury, we get work that takes us all over the UK and abroad.”
The New XF was specified with heated leather seats for both driver and co-driver, LED headlights, a leather finished steering wheel and door trims, driver’s airbag and a fridge, among other options from the manufacturer’s Exclusive Line package.
Based so close to the south coast with its major petrochemical operations, RD Avery has fully trained ADR technicians and also had the New XF fitted with a master switch that allows instant isolation of the vehicle’s electrical system.
Stewart Lee attended the CV Show in 2017 at the invitation of local DAF Dealer Adams Morey to look at the New XF cab and talk with his preferred bodybuilder, Boniface. “I went along with Ray Avery, who founded the original business with his wife Sue back in 1983, and we were impressed by the look and quality of the New XF. The Boniface team told us it was one of the best chassis on the road for what we wanted to do, and, as they are probably the premier recovery system builders in the business, we placed the order there and then. A key part of this investment in the latest truck technology was the growing amount of work we are asked to undertake in London, and now even Southampton is planning its own clean air zone.”
Though buying new trucks for the lighter end of operations, over the years the operator had a strategy of investing in high-quality used chassis to get the heavy recovery specs it wanted, including ex-MOD vehicles, with each addition to the fleet then fitted with new bodies and recovery equipment. The New DAF XF is the first all-new heavy recovery truck on the fleet, which today numbers some 20 vehicles, among them four units with under-lifts, three with cranes and a number of lighter trucks for recovery of such things as ambulances and other authority vehicles.
Cassie Salisbury, daughter of founders Ray and Sue Avery, and now the company’s managing director, said, “We have a terrific team in place on our recovery business, and ongoing investment and active promotion of our services has seen us go from strength to strength in recent years. Part of our expansion plans now include looking at options to our current operating base, to give us greater space and put us even closer to the main road infrastructure from out of the Southampton area.” The operator already runs a full workshop facility to maintain its own fleet and offer repair and maintenance to vehicles being brought in from recovery, as well as general services for local transport operator.
Local dealer support was singled out as being important in the decision-making process. Said Stewart Lee, “Over the years we have had a good relationship with Adams Morey, often working on their behalf to recover vehicles. We get top levels of support and that is vital in our business. Right now, for instance, while we have the standard two-year R&M package on the New XF, we are talking through the cost and benefits of significantly extending that, and Adams Morey is working closely with us to ensure we get the maths right. We worked the same way together on the acquisition itself; it’s a relationship that helps us get accurate answers to the important questions.”