From humble beginnings...
Sparshatts of Kent was synonymous with Mercedes-Benz in Kent for nearly 45 years. Today the group operates under the new name of Sparshatt Truck & Van, with four well-established sales and service sites across the county - but the road to success has not been without the odd twist and turn!
The story began at the 1974 International Motor Show at Earls Court, London, where the founders met the then Commercial Vehicle Manager of Mercedes-Benz UK, Peter Yates. A second meeting soon followed, which resulted in the company being awarded the franchise for Kent - and told to find some premises as soon as possible.
Early in November of 1974 a site was located on the Eurolink Industrial Estate, in Sittingbourne. On a dark, rain-swept evening Hans Taucher, Mercedes-Benz's Director of Operations, Commercial Vehicles, drove down to Sittingbourne and after driving through the building, using his headlights to illuminate the interior, he declared it perfect for the job.
The lease was secured and business started during early December 1974 - the first vehicle customer was CRG Plant of Whitstable, which purchased a 206D Chassis cab and a 2419 six-wheeled tipper.
As the business grew, the company soon had to borrow a 30,000sq ft warehouse just to store vehicles awaiting August 1st delivery. Acknowledgement of this success came when, in 1984, Daimler-Benz asked the company to speak with a group of South African dealers regarding used vehicles.
Meanwhile back in Sittingbourne business was continuing to grow. More space was added to the building but even this soon proved inadequate, so in 1988 a new, purpose-built dealership was constructed.
Other developments soon followed - including a new computer system and the launch of one of Britain's first 24-hour workshops, meaning vehicles could be serviced while their drivers slept.
Further expansion came with the opening of a second depot at Ashford, and then a third at Dartford; With the acquisition of Kent and Sussex Trucks in 2006 and their name changing to Sparshatts of Kent. Sparshatts secured its representation across Kent. Later moving to a new site in Tonbridge.
2018 A new era dawns, Sparshatts of Kent has new owners. Major shareholders in the new business are Paul Rooney our long-serving former Truck Sales Manager, his brother Steve Rooney and Financial Director Peter Davies, who has worked closely with Steve and Paul for the last ten years and Chairman Sid Sadique who is the Group MD of NRG Fleet Services and Riverside Truck Rental, and a high-profile figure in the transport industry as well.
Steve Rooney has a sales, marketing and engineering background, and an impressive track record of achievement in businesses associated with heavy machinery. He was previously MD of a group of companies, during which time he led a series of mergers and acquisitions and over the 15 years that followed, built a highly successful packaging company for its Swiss owner.
In March 2019 Sparshatts of Kent changes its name to Sparshatt Truck & Van. With fresh new branding and new owners, the business is growing in success. A good number of original staff remain and today and we now employ more than 230 people.
Sparshatt Truck & Van will continue to build for a successful future, holding original values of personal service and commitment to our customers.