Mercedes-Benz announced today that buyers of all Mercedes Actros trucks can take the option of the Mercedes 'Autotrans' automated transmission for free.

The offer applies to all Actros tractor and drawbar models ordered by the end of the year and it will come with the added benefit of a 5% cut in maintenance and repair costs.

The offer represents a £1,800 saving at list prices and the automated gearshifting system is winning plaudits from operators for saving fuel and it is also getting the thumbs up from drivers for ease of use.

The success of Mercedes' Telligent Autotrans system is that it uses conventional and proven drivetrain components - engine, gearbox and clutch - and they are electronically 'managed'. This means no slipping clutches, no over-revving and generally a much less stressful life for all the parts involved.

There is less wear and tear for the driver too, as it is a genuine two-pedal operation with all the gear shifting done by the truck, leaving the driver free to concentrate on the road ahead at all times.

Bruce Whitfield, Director of Commercial Vehicles for Mercedes-Benz commented: "We have been getting excellent fuel reports from customers using Actros with this system in all types of operation from cement haulage to rental and they are all very positive. We have also seen a drop in repair and maintenance costs for Actros fitted with Autotrans so we are able to pass this on as well."

Mercedes-Benz is the first heavy truck maker to offer an automated transmission at no extra cost in the UK market.