Fleet News

British firm has high hopes for 'no frills' four-wheel-drive pickup

A BRITISH company plans to break into the utility fleet sector with a new 'no frills' four-wheel-drive pickup based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Making its debut at the British International Motor Show, the Healey Sprite Workhorse has its running gear, chassis and engine sourced from India and bodywork and trim assembled in the UK.

The Maidenhead, Berks, manufacturer intends to peg prices at £9,500, plus VAT. Company chairman Brian Rayward said: 'No other manufacturer seems to have bothered to ask the utility market in Britain - and in particular the agricultural sector - what it wants. Our research has shown that there is significant demand for an inexpensive workhorse meant for off-road work - not for the motorway, not for driving the kids to school, just a reliable, rugged vehicle with no fancy frills.'

Sourcing major components from established manufacturers was designed to keep costs to a minimum and speed up type approval for the vehicle - most parts already have the relevant type approval. The GRP bodyshell is designed in-house by Healey Sprite, which also produces the Healey Sprite sports car. There are no 'luxuries' such as a cab heater or radio, but it does have a heated front windscreen. The power plant is the Mercedes-Benz normally-aspirated four-cylinder indirect injection 2.4-litre diesel, which produces 72bhp at 4,200rpm. A turbodiesel will be offered. In pickup form, the Workhorse has a payload of 1.8 tonnes, a towing capacity of 2.0 tonnes and winch capacity of 3.0 tonnes.

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