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Service to Industry Award – Lee Smith

lee-smith-industry-award.jpgIt was a Double celebration for Hanbury Riverside at the 2019 Commercial Motor Awards. We managed to pick up the independent Dealer of the Year Award and the prestigious Service to Industry Award went to our Sales Director Lee Smith reflecting his successful almost 40 years to the industry. 

Hanbury Riverside has endured a massive year of transition joining the Asset Alliance group, relocating from our well known site in Thurrock to Ipswich and evolving into the Asset Alliance Group culture and systems, to receive the award for Independent Dealer of the year was a true testament to both Lee and the Team.

Hanbury Riverside (Formally known as Riverside Commercials) began its time in the early 1980s trading as a family run business, specialising in selling premium tractor units. Lee worked alongside His father Ron Smith growing the business until 1997 when Glyn Davies brought the company and formed the well-known “Hanbury Riverside” Glyn and Lee continued to grow the company from strength to strength building a well-earned reputation we all know and trust. Today now part of the Asset Alliance Group Lee continues to deliver the same trusted service to his customers with over 90% of our customers buying our vehicles without even seeing them beforehand.

A true testament to the Hanbury brand and of course to Lee Smith himself. To be presented the award from his long time mentor and personal friend was an overwhelming and proud moment for Lee and was certainly well received by the 400 industry attendees at the Vox Centre Birmingham.

With the onset of a new year we look forward to carrying on our success.

Service to Industry Award - Glyn Davies

This special award is made by a panel of previous winners, the editor of Motor Transport and the sponsor Ryder to the individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the road transport industry


Glyn Davies, director of Hanbury Riverside, second left, collects the Service to Industry Award from Ryder Europe MD David Hunt, second right

To sell one company that you built from scratch for £50m is a remarkable achievement in itself. To build another after that and sell it for £25m is incredible. Throw into that a career running one of the most successful independent truck dealerships in the country, and a list of former employees that have gone on to create businesses that have shaped the modern face of UK road transport and you have a career that superlatives can no longer do justice. Glyn Davies left school in 1966, and by 1974 he had launched Russell Davies. The pioneer of container haulage and contract logistics was sold to Securicor in 1995 for £50m in a deal that shocked the industry. Thirteen years later he repeated the trick. Hanbury Davies was formed after Davies bought two struggling transport operations — Loadwell

and Goodway — in 1999. In 2002 it took on the Felixstowe business of Newell & Wright and in 2003 it took over the third-party maritime business for DFDS. At its peak it had 480 trucks. Wincanton came along in November 2006, and 13 months later he agreed on the sale of Hanbury Holdings. Part of that deal saw Davies buy back Hanbury Riverside out of Hanbury Holdings. Davies had bought Riverside Commercials from owner Ron Smith in 1997. Today he runs the business with Ron’s son Lee. Last year Lee told sister magazine Commercial Motor: “You can’t have a better person in your back room than Glyn, with his industry knowledge.” Davies became a non-executive director at one of the fastest-growing chilled and ambient operators in the UK, Culina Logistics, in 2011.

Its not just his development of businesses that marks his contribution to industry. The list of those who served under his tutelage, and the businesses they have gone on to work for is extraordinary: John Williams (Maritime Transport); Peter Brown (Jack Richards); Harvey MacIntyre (MacIntyre Transport); Matthew Ashworth and Simon Day (Goldstar Transport) to name but five. Harvey MacIntyre, who retired earlier this year, said back in 2010: “A lot goes back to the apprenticeship we all served at Russell Davies. There’s a subliminal voice in the back of your head saying: ‘Would Glyn approve of this?’” Matthew Ashworth, MD of Goldstar, said: “I have to remind myself he’s not my boss anymore. He’s held in enormously high regard in the industry.”

“I’m delighted, but it’s such a shock. I’ve got to thank those who voted for me. It’s a complete surprise. I’ve been in the job for 50 years” Glyn Davies, Hanbury Riverside


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Commercial Motor Magazine - 12th November 2015

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Hanbury Riverside has drawn customers from far and wide for more than 30 years.

CM discovers its reputation precedes it.

By Will Shiers


West Thurrock-based used truck dealership Hanbury Riverside has sold a two-year old Daf XF to a customer in Aberdeen, one of many it has sold to the same haulier over the years. When that customer, or indeed any of its other Scottish customers made the journey south they would have passed an awful lot of Daf dealers, which begs the question, why travel all the way to Essex to make the purchase?

“It’s because of that,” says director Glyn Davies, pointing to three words printed on the company’s CM advertisement, “reputation, reputation, reputation!” “We have worked incredibly hard to build up this reputation,” says fellow director Lee Smith, whose face appears in CM more frequently than the editor’s, “and we work even harder to maintain it.”

One of the keys to the company’s enviable reputation is the quality of its stock, in particular the incredible detail that goes into preparing everything that graces its forecourt. The company specialises in one-year-old to three-year-old, top-of-the-range tractor units, but were it not for the tell-tale number plates you would be forgiven for thinking they were newer.

“When I first started in this job I decided to wash a truck, then I vacuumed the interior and polished the dash and windows,” remembers Smith, who worked for his father Ron before the latter retired in 1997, selling the company to Davies “My dad came out and said ‘what are you doing? It’s not a car!’ but it was to me.”

This was the start of an obsession for cleanliness, which today includes such attention to detail as dry cleaning all cab curtains. The same care is lavished on the trucks’ exteriors too, with all dents and scratches being removed. Davies says: “We look at the trucks as though we are buying them ourselves, and say what is offensive about this vehicle? It might be a little dent or a chipped bumper. So then we remove all of these objections. By removing objections you stand more chance of selling the vehicle.” “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” adds Smith.



All Hanbury Riverside trucks have a full main dealer service history, and are in perfect mechanical condition when they’re parked on the forecourt. Any defects are dealt with, and if they suspect a clutch might be borderline, it is replaced. The same mentality is applied to tyres, which are always in above-average condition. Davies, who famously comes from a haulage background and has clocked up 50 years of experience in the industry, remembers how his father used to buy the occasional used truck. He says they would turn up in the yard, then sit around for several weeks waiting for numerous modifications and a coat of paint. But things are very different at Hanbury Riverside, where all trucks are fully prepped to customers’ exact requirements on site, including painting if required, and ready to work the day they are delivered. But while the pair claim to offer the best used trucks in the industry, they acknowledge that they aren’t the cheapest. Davies points to a two-year-old Volvo FH500 on the forecourt, which has a £65,000 price tag. He says you could easily find a similarly aged and specced truck for between £2,000 and £3,000 less at numerous other dealerships. “But what that extra two or three grand buys you is peace of mind,” he says. “If anything goes wrong with that vehicle we will stand by it and put it right.” “You get more bang for your buck with us,” adds Smith.

Sourcing stock

Davies has had a relationship with the truck dealership since the 1980s, and used to dispose of Russell Davies trucks through the site. Today the bulk of the dealer’s stock (it usually has about 20 trucks on its forecourt) is sourced from its own successful contract hire businesses.

It has 350 vehicles on its fleet, the bulk of which are top-spec Euro-6 Daf XF and Volvo FH4 6x2 tractor units in Euro-5 and Euro-6 guises, but do include a growing number of rigid construction vehicles. It has recently added 15 FH16 750s. Contract hire deals typically last for two years, but when the used market is buoyant, rental customers might be offered a replacement after 18 months, allowing Hanbury Riverside to sell them sooner. “Contract rental is not our core business,” explains Davies, “it’s a pipeline to our sales business.”
Another source of used stock is fleet purchases, normally from companies experiencing financial difficulties or ceasing trading altogether. “One of our great strengths is the robustness of our balance sheet, which puts us in a strong position to respond to such opportunities,” says Davies. “A lot of people can show interest in buying fleets, but not everyone can write the cheque.”

Trucks are also bought from main dealers, typically a Scania from a Volvo dealer or vice versa. Smith says they will buy any marque of truck “as long as they meet our quality standards” and come with a full service history. 
It never ceases to amaze Davies how some OEM dealers pay so little attention to preparation. He says he recently viewed some Dafs that were dirty and had rubbish in their cabs. “Used trucks are very much the poor relation of the main dealer,” he says. “The new truck is their main objective and the used ones are normally stuck around the back. They put most of their attention into selling new and used is often a bolt-on afterthought. Here it is our core business.” 


A typical customer

Today, a typical Hanbury Riverside customer operates between five and 30 trucks. Wind the clock back two decades and it used to have a lot of owner-operator customers too, but they have largely disappeared. “I used to call Saturdays owner-driver days because we used to have so many here,” recalls Smith, “but these days you rarely see them.” Davies believes many are prevented from entering the industry by the high entry threshold.
Despite selling in excess of 250 trucks in a typical year, the company has significantly fewer walk-in customers at its site. This is because an estimated 95% of its customers are confident enough to buy their trucks unseen.
The dealer has customers all over the UK, including as far afield as Northern Ireland, the north of Scotland and Cornwall. It boasts of having a loyal client base, and so far this year 27% of its sales have been repeat business. Smith says some customers have been loyal for more than 30 years, citing MJS Transport (Cambridge), L Buxton & Sons (Brentwood), Seymour Transport (Chelmsford) and RF Transport (Tilbury) as companies that purchased used trucks from them in the early 1980s and in 2015 too.
“I was always taught, not to sell a man one lorry, but to sell him 10,” says Smith. “To do that they have to keep coming back, and they do that because we look after them.”



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Commercial Motor Magazine

In the shadows of the Dartford Crossing, at a yard in West Thurrock, deals are being done. As Lee Smith,director at Hanbury Riverside, returns to his office to talk to CM, a queue is forming outside where a couple of eager clients are keen to snap up some of his latest stock.

“We’ve got a reputation for quality which keeps them coming back,” says Smith. “We’ve been doing this [selling trucks] for over 30 years, and I’ve grown up in the business surrounded by people in the trade. It’s not just about selling a truck, it’s about building a relationship with your customers, which is why we share their passion. I love trucks, and that can be seen in the type of vehicles we sell. Everything that leaves here is delivered to my own standards.”

Hanbury Riverside specialises in nearly-new stock, with an average vehicle age of one to three years. However, where its stock differs from others is in the abundance of its own vehicles returning from contracts, which, according to Smith, ensures the quality of the product being sold on is a lot higher.

Knowing what you want and need

“We know they are main dealer-maintained, have a full service history, and have a fuel history. Because we are buying them, we can choose the vehicle specification, so we go for marques that people are comfortable with on the used market. Customers want big cabs with the right engine, the right gearbox and the correct axle ratios. That doesn’t always mean the same combination for each make of truck, but we’ve got years of experience and know that people want genuine vehicles that are right for the job.”
With around 300 trucks sold during the company’s last financial year, Hanbury Riverside has  

managed to weather the difficult economic climate and maintain a consistent sales performance.The seven-strong team, which includes three staff in the dedicated maintenance, valeting and repair workshop, has been kept busy this year, in part thanks to the tightening of the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which, Smith says, has seen the level of enquiries increase.

“People don’t want to spend a lot of money these days as margins are tight, but when faced with fitting filters to old trucks or buying a decent nearly-new vehicle, most people have seen the reliability and cost of ownership benefits of buying a newer truck,” he says. “The LEZ has definitely made a mediocre year for us turn into a very good one, and we are now seeing a shift towards one to two-year-old trucks because of the amount of threeyear-old trucks we’ve already sold. A good used truck is attractive these days, and we want our customers to look at our trucks like they are getting something brand new because of the quality and the service they get from us.”

While demand for LEZ-compliant vehicles has peaked, Smith sees another challenge on the horizon that he hopes will draw customers to his dealership as they look for reliable late-year trucks.

Pushing demand

“The arrival of Euro-6 is also pushing the demand for nearly new. Euro-5 units are proven, and operators know what they are getting. People don’t want the unknown, and Euro-5 will be around until 2020, so nearly-new Euro-5s are going to be very sought after during the next 12 months. We’ve got plenty of good homegrown stock coming through to cope with demand, and there’s


a good selection of late-model Scania, Daf and Volvo trucks on the books that will be on people’s shopping lists.”

With a stream of good premium chassis constantly filtering through Hanbury Riverside, Smith is certainly optimistic about the next 30 years of trading.

“We’ve built a fantastic reputation, and hauliers of all sizes are coming to us time and time again because they know they will get the best. The asking price shouldn’t be the most important factor in buying a truck. So although our vehicles might cost a little bit more, we’re selling peace of mind, because they are the best.”

Words: George Barrow
Images: Graham Richardson


What really happens when something MAJOR goes wrong

The case of a recent sale to owner Mick Munday illustrates this point. Mick Munday traded in his Scania 124 420 which was purchased from Hanbury Riverside in 2004. This was in February 2011 with the purchase of a Daf XF105 460 Euro 5. On the 15th February, after 1 day in service, Mick Munday contacted the Hanbury Riverside service department and reported a breakdown. Dafaid attended the breakdown with recovery to Harris Daf.

It transpired that there was a major engine failure. At that point Mick Munday was offered 3 options

  • A refund
  • A substitution vehicle of simlar age
  • A loan vehicle while his vehicle is repaired

Mick Munday decided to have the vehicle repaired. With the assistance of Daf Trucks UK the result was a complete engine rebuild. New pistons, cylinder head, turbo and injectors. The vehicle ultimately was in a better condition when first purchased. This incident cost Mick Munday a temporary loss of confidence and inconvience. Both were restored once he realised that Hanbury Riverside had taken control of the problem.

Hanbury Riverside prides itself on the standards that it sets itself

From a purchaser's perspective buying a vehicle is huge investment. Confidence in the supplier means everything and Hanbury Riverside has an enviable reputation in customer confidence. Most vehicles are sold over the phone these days, even first time sales.

In the world of used trucks things can occasionally can go wrong but it's the way these things are dealt with that matter.

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 3rd November 2011

Putting the Goods on Display

This article discusses the Hanbury Riverside Ltd web site. Topics include Homepage, Product search and other pages within the site. Likes and dislikes are mentioned as is an overall conclusion with a rating for the web site.

Comments include:

'A friendly yet professional site that is informative without being overwhelming'

'Comprehensive information on all trucks'

'Innovative use of truck photos'

For full article text please refer to Commercial Motor dated 19.3.2009

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 19th March 2009

A Matter of Marketing.

Take solace in the fact the used truck market is more than holding its own. Success is just a case of refusing to panic, playing to your strengths, and promoting your product to the right people... Words: Steve Banner

Times are tough, but it isn't the end of the world. While the haulage industry is undoubtedly under serious pressure, there remains a solid core of established operators who are still trading and buying used trucks' and there is no need to slash your prices to ribbons to win their business.

That's the message from Lee Smith, a director of West Thurrock, Essex based independent dealership Hanbury Riverside.

“The dealer who recently said that if you chopped £5,000 off every used truck you had in stock you wouldn't sell any more trucks than if you left the prices where they were, is absolutely right," he says. “I’ve got no intention of panicking and knocking out all my stock cheaply."

"While we certainly get people ringing us up telling us it's a buyers' market and then offering us far less for trucks than we know they are worth, at the end of the day we have to point out to them that we provide quality vehicles with rock-solid support, and that has to be paid for."

"If you slash prices, you are in effect buying business," he adds. "What you're doing is devaluing your stock, and devaluing the vehicle you have just sold into the bargain. It's irresponsible and doesn't make sense."

For full story see Commercial Motor 14th August 2008.

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 14 August 2008



Down by the Dartford Crossing and nestled beside the M25, Hanbury Riverside has steadily carved out a niche for itself in the used truck market. Chris Tindall reports.

Over the past 25 years, Hanbury Riverside has amassed such a formidable reputation that it prides itself on selling tractors to operators who forego such formalities as looking at the vehicles first. That is the degree of trust on which it operates.

"[the internet] is a huge medium for us now. We have a big following in Scotland, as well as in the far west. The customers don't actually travel to us. Our reputation has grown over the last 20-odd years, and particularly in the last nine. Now we are selling more than 60% of vehicles unseen."

"A customer will often express an interest in a particular truck, so we take half a dozen more pictures, specifically of the aspects they ask about, and e-mail them over straight away. This brings people together very quickly. You can be talking to a chap in Aberdeen and within five minutes it's as if he's sitting at your desk, because you are both looking at and discussing the same thing."....... For Full story see Commercial Motor Thursday 30 November.

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 30 November 2006


Suggestions from Glass's Guide that values of 6x2 tractor units may be starting to dip because there are more around than the market can happily absorb, have been greeted with raised eyebrows by some dealers. While it's true that there are plenty about, they reckon that demand remains healthy.

Lee Smith of Hanbury Riverside reports that 6x2 units account for "about 95% of what we sell. I try to persuade hauliers operating solely in the UK to take them because then they can run at 44 tonnes and take on a wider variety of work than if they had a 4x2".

"There are lots of 6x2 around - I could easily get you 25 or more if you needed them and had the money - but they're hugely popular and a good one will always sell"....... For full story see Commercial Motor Thursday 15th September issue.

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 15th September 2005


After a seemingly unending boom in truck sales some dealers are reporting a delcine in consumer confidence. STEVE BANNER Reports.

lee3.jpegIs the sales boom coming to an end? Lee Smith, director of West Thurrock, Essex independent dealership Hanbury Riverside, reports "Demand remains strong so far as we are concerned, but there's not quite the confidence among operators that there was. It my be because of the very high price of diesel".

Hanbury Riverside aims to boost sales with a revamped website offering a virtual tour of every truck on the forecourt.
"They'll be able to look at eveything both internally and externally" says Lee Smith. "It will take them all around the cab and around the chassis. People spend thousands of pounds on a truck so they want to know exactly what they're buying. Our approach allows them to see a vehicle without having to get in a car and drive 200 miles."

Smith admits that providing lots of virtual tours doesn't come cheap, but he's happy to make the investment. "Nobody else is doing it so far as we are aware and it gives us even more credibility" he says. "We want to be perceived as operating at the same level as the manufacturers"

For full story see Commercial Motor article
Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 14th July 2005


wheel.jpegBusiness is booming for most, but not all, used truck dealers - Steve Banner reports.

Used Truck sales remain buoyant throughout most of the country.

“I’m seeing no indication of a downturn” says Lee Smith, a director of West Thurrock, Essex independent dealership Hanbury Riverside. "I can’t complain at all. We’re still getting plenty of enquiries and they’re coming from all over the country. They’re coming from the Republic of Ireland too”………….

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 12th May 2005


Web sites have become a vitally important tool for independent dealers in their campaign to boost used truck sales, according to Lee Smith of dealer Hanbury Riverside.

“We’re finding that people are visiting our site, seeing the truck they want and contacting us to buy it without bothering to come and look at it first” he says.

“Our site is so important to us that we’re going to be improving it in various ways over the next few months to make it more user friendly and attractive” he reports

“People want something interesting to look at” Smith points out “especially if they’re going on there at 11pm as often happens, after a hard day’s work”………….

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 12th May 2005


Dealers are hopeful as the new year gets off to a vibrant start. But Glass’s Guide warns, enjoy it while you can – Steve Banner reports

The used truck market is getting off to a flying start this year. “We’re confident about the coming months and we’ve already done several deals” says Lee Smith, a director at West Thurrock, Essex based independent dealership HANBURY RIVERSIDE.

“We’ve had a lot of people ringing us to ask what we’ve got coming in. Prices are holding up well, but once again there’s a shortage of good clean equipment”……………………..

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 27th January 2005


scan.jpegFor an increasing number of operators, buying second-hand is making more sense than ever over the long-term. So just what are the benefits?

While buying second-hand was once seen as a poor man’s approach to getting on the haulage ladder, today’s examples are far removed from the stereotypical clapped-out motor on offer.

With the rise of contract maintenance packages and leasing agreements, there’s a healthy stream of high-quality trucks appearing on the second-hand market, with some examples only a year old.

Lee smith at independent dealer HANBURY RIVERSIDE says “Previously it was very hard to find a truck that was 2 years old on the second hand market. Operators would usually have to run it from new for 4 years before they sold it on if any significant gains were to be made. But the rise of leasing deals has now created a more appealing situation for second hand buyers”

Lee admits that there was previously a trend for operators to opt for leasing agreements but they are reverting back to the traditional hire purchase method. “An operator’s two biggest assets are his truck and his yard. If you can’t hang onto one, then the future could look grim”………………..

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 14th November 2004


Used truck sales are soaring, leaving dealers wondering whether to keep buying stock in the traditionally quiet run up to Christmas

Used truck sales are continuing to boom throughout much of the country, say dealers.

Lee Smith, director of West Thurrock, Essex based independent dealership HANBURY RIVERSIDE, says “Used business is buoyant and I think a lot of it is because hauliers don’t want to wait three months or more for new vehicles to be built and delivered. A lot can happen in three months and the last thing you want if the price of diesel suddenly goes through the roof, is to be sitting there with half a dozen new trucks on order.”……………………………………..

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 11th November 2004.


Best known for stocking used Volvos, Scanias and Dafs, almost to the exclusion of all other makes of truck, independent dealership HANBURY RIVERSIDE in West Thurrock, Essex, has recently been dabbling in Renaults.

“There was a deal there so we took it and we’ve taken in 5 Premium 6x2s with Privilege cabs” says director Lee Smith. “They’ve got either 400hp or 420hp engines, and date back to either 2000 or 2002.

We’ve sold 2 so far and we’re happy with the price they fetched. The customer concerned had a job coming up before Christmas and wanted something inexpensive that he could use on local work. The equivalent Volvo or Scania would have been twice the money”.

So will Smith be buying any more Premiums? “While I’m not afraid to speculate, I’m not in any great hurry to” he says “nor am I in any great hurry to buy an MAN TGAs – there are rather too many of them about at the moment”.

For full story see Commercial Motor article

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 11th November 2004


Too many franchised dealers are failing to put sufficient effort into selling used trucks, claims independent dealer Lee Smith, director of HANBURY RIVERSIDE of West Thurrock, Essex. And it’s independents such as him who are reaping the benefits.

“A number of customers have told us how they’ve repeatedly telephoned certain franchised dealers about trucks they’ve seen advertised, left messages, but have never received a reply” he says.

“If we get any enquiry, however, we jump on it and chase it up. We know we’ve got to make that sale because, unlike a franchised dealership, we don’t have a parts department or a workshop earning revenue. We don’t sell new trucks either”.

Franchised outlets should also rethink the atmosphere they create at their premises he suggests, commenting “Some hauliers looking to buy a used truck find it a bit daunting. That’s why they prefer to deal with an independent.”

Reproduced with kind permission from COMMERCIAL MOTOR: Article printed 9th September 2004


Thurrock dealer HANBURY RIVERSIDE specialises in clean recently registered premium tractor units that are ready for duty. Steve Banner Reports.

If you are after an ex-Royal Mail 7.5 tonne box van, or a second hand Dennis Dustcart, do not call Lee Smith, director of Essex independent used truck dealership HANBURY RIVERSIDE.

He specialises in well-equipped, premium brand, late registered, low mileage tractor units with big cabs and plenty of power. The firm sells around 180 of them annually from its West Thurrock yard.

“They are usually less than three years old and a lot of them are mid-lift 6x2s” he says. “I would say that 6x2s account for 85% of what we do, although we have recently done quite a few left hand drive 4x2s with large fuel tanks for continental work”.


Smith primarily stocks Scanias, Volvos and Dafs. Typical price tag? £30,000, “Sometimes we dip below that figure, but you could be talking £50,000 if a truck is only three months old” he says.

“There is a big demand for Scania 4-series with V8 engines and Topline cabs, and volvo’s FH is another favourite because it has such a wide variety of uses” he continues. “It is popular with tipper owners and container hauliers as well as international operators”.

Is he likely to widen the choice of makes offered? “We have just bought our first MAN TG-A – an absolutely immaculate 460hp XXL 6x2 mid lift dating back to 2000 and I am hearing some pretty good things about the latest Mercedes Actros, especially when it comes to fuel consumption” Smith replies. But he has no plans to start selling Renaults or Ivecos.

Nor does he intend to mount a major onslaught on the rigid market, although he is perfectly happy to offer selected examples. “They include some very late 4-Series Topline drawbars” he says.

He is also happy to sell specialist trailers such as powder tankers and has done so with some success. So what constitutes a big engine these days?

“For somebody on general haulage work 420hp is the minimum” he reckons “but if they are constantly running at 44 tonnes they probably need 460hp because then the engine will not have to work as hard. They will be able to maintain average speeds more effectively, fuel consumption will probably be better and they do not have to pay all that much more for the extra 40hp.”

Inevitably the part exchange price is a factor for many of Smith’s customers, but he has a way of handling them that suits both buyer and seller.

“If, say, we are painting a truck for a customer before he takes delivery, then we may suggest that he attempts to sell his part-exchange himself” Smith continues “if he does not mange to do so by the time the paint job is finished, we will take it at a pre-agreed price and get rid of it ourselves”

Hanbury Riverside’s trucks are prepared to as high a standard as those retailed by franchised outlets, he contends. “Each one carries a 3 month warranty and a current MoT and is serviced before the customer takes delivery” Smith says.

“We inspect and valet all of our trucks thoroughly and will even replace the number plates and tax disc holders. We have an ex-owner driver in charge of preparation who will, for example, check that the night heater works, that is the sort of thing that is missed if you do not pay enough attention to detail.”


“I want customers to be confident that they can pick up a tractor from here on a Saturday safe in the knowledge that they can put it to work on Monday morning without any problems”.

While anybody retailing late-registered trucks always runs the risk that prospective buyers will opt for new ones instead, Smith contends that there is enough of a price gap to ensure that Hanbury Riverside’s vehicles still have an appeal.

“The initial depreciation on them has already been lost and we can offer immediate availability if that is what is required”, he says. “Go for a new tractor unit and you may have to wait several months before it is delivered, and a lot can happen to a haulage business in the meantime."

While Smith counts small hauliers and one or two large fleets among his clients, what he has to offer seems especially popular with firms running from 15 to 40 vehicles. “They seem to like our way of trading and come back year after year” he says.

Smith’s customers have one thing in common. As well established and reasonably profitable businesses, they usually have no problem raising the finance they need to acquire vehicles.

For their part, the finance houses are well aware that they will not have too much trouble disposing of a vehicle supplied by Hanbury Riverside should they need to repossess it from a stricken operator.

If he has a problem, it is hunting down the stock he needs. "The sort of truck we deal in is getting harder and harder to find and I reckon prices have risen over the past 12 months” he says.

“That given, we have already sourced a lot of the tractors we are going to require this year” he says. “Either Volvos, Scanias or Dafs, they are all 6x2s, less than 18 months old and I am buying them direct from the operators.”

“We also buy from manufacturers and franchised dealers – if a Daf dealer has two or three Scanias he wants to get rid of we will happily talk to him - and occasionally at auctions” Smith says.

It is no secret that Hanbury Riverside comes under the Hanbury Davies umbrella or that its ultimate parent is Hanbury Holdings. Started as a family business in 1980, the dealership was acquired by the group in 1995. But the West Thurrock operation has to stand on its own two feet, Smith stresses, it is not simply a mechanism for the disposal of time served Hanbury Davies wagons.



“I can buy them if I wish, but at market value” he says. “They don’t give them to us!”

What the backing of a substantial group does mean, however, is that Hanbury Riverside can purchase large numbers of vehicles at a time rather than having to restrict itself to twos or threes.

“We did a deal for 63 FHs in 2002, one of those deals we would love to have every year” he recalls. “Because deliveries to us were staggered and because of the interest we created among potential buyers – I sold 10 to one guy – we disposed of 40 before one stood for sale in the yard”.

Hanbury Riverside has its own web site at www.hanburyriverside.co.uk and it is proving remarkably effective. “People are buying vehicles from us on the basis of seeing a picture on the site and without seeing the truck itself” he says. "It is because they are aware of the strength of our reputation.

“One of the big things the web site and the way we have branded our business has done for us, is make us a UK wide rather than a South East of England company” Smith says “We are selling far more vehicles in Scotland, for example, than we used to and we are pulling in customers from Ireland as well – so we must be doing something right!”


Reproduced with kind permission from TRUCK MAGAZINE: Article printed 1st March 2004