The ability of Vauxhall to offer a wide variety of van specifications proved particularly appealing to building maintenance specialists Johnson Controls when recently replacing a fleet of 60 vehicles.

The vans would be used on a contract to maintain buildings and equipment at 610 Shell service stations across mainland Britain. This called for different types of van to suit widely differing operating needs. The company also wanted to give its 60 engineers working on the contract a direct say in the specification of the vehicle that each of them would drive.

The engineer's choice was based on two models, the mid-sized Vivaro or the larger Movano. In the case of the Vivaro, Johnson Controls specified the Sportive models, of which there are as many as 44 different configurations. Standard Sportive features include air-conditioning, electrically operated windows and mirror adjustment, solar reflector windscreen, and a stereo radio/CD player.

From these two model ranges the engineers could choose short, medium or long wheelbase, standard or high roof, two-man cab or crew cab, and the option of a sliding side door. They could also select engine power ratings from 66 kW/90 hp or 85 kW/115 hp from the 2.0 litre 16 valve CDTi engine or the 2.5 litre CDTi, which delivers 107 kW/145 hp.

Engineers based in urban areas and faced with stop-start traffic conditions could opt for Vauxhall's Tecshift automatic transmission. Those operating in less populated areas, such as the Highlands of Scotland, and covering longer distances between service stations on their patch, could select a manual transmission.

Load capacity was also a factor as the vans would carry a range of tools and equipment needed for different types of job. This could include items as large as scaffolding towers used for work on station canopies. Signage, fluorescent tubes, perspex panels and other bulky items might also need to be transported and, for larger jobs, a team of two or three engineers. The good carrying capacity of both models – and particularly the Movano at up to 13.9 cubic metres – allowed easy matching between the size of van and the operational needs.

Dr Richard Vowles, Customer Business Director – Shell Account, at Johnson Controls, says that the new Vauxhall vans are proving to be popular with the engineers. "They're a good quality vehicle, easy and comfortable to drive, and with a high level of specification. The Vivaro Sportive model is highly regarded for its extra level of specification that includes air conditioning and a satellite navigation system that provides traffic information.

"From our point of view, choosing Vauxhall gives us several advantages. These vehicles are based throughout the country and the availability of an extensive network of Vauxhall van dealers means that servicing and repair support is always close at hand. It's a few months now since the first entered service and we're already finding them to be very reliable and fuel efficient.

"We're also very pleased with the appearance of them. We opted for an attractive metallic silver and the quality of the two-coat factory paint finish is very good, leaving us only to apply our company logos. They certainly look very stylish and present a professional image when they're on the road or a Shell forecourt."