The Vitos are being supplied by Birmingham dealer Gerard Mann Commercials and will be maintained on Center Parcs' behalf by its independent, Newport Pagnell-based partner, CLM Fleet Management PLC.
As Mike Henderson, UK projects manager for Center Parcs, explains, environmental factors were at the top of the agenda when he and his colleagues first sat down with CLM.
"The overriding objective was to reduce our carbon footprint," he said. "So we were keen to introduce electric vehicles, as well as those with the most efficient diesel engines."
CLM evaluated a variety of vehicles from several manufacturers against a set of criteria that included environmental impact, operational suitability, whole-life costs and compatibility with the Center Parcs’ brand image.
"We eventually came down firmly in favour of the Mercedes Vito 111CDI," said CLM’s Chris Allgood.
“As well as having an advanced, low-emission Euro IV powerplant, it was also the vehicle best suited to the various roles Center Parcs had in mind."
Center Parcs had previously leased its vans but, because the company now wanted to include its fleet as an 'on balance sheet' item, the decision was taken to purchase the new vehicles outright.
Because they will never go onto a public road, most of the new Vitos are running on reduced-duty 'red diesel', more commonly used in the agricultural sector. Despite this Mercedes-Benz will stand by its three-year manufacturer's warranty.