Early risers
on a snow-clearing mission.

Unimog U 427 ensures streets are free of ice and snow in the southern Black Forest.

Winter nights are especially short for Markus Kessler and his father Helmut. At four in the morning they’re already on their way to their company garage unit, where a new Unimog with snow plough is ready and waiting. The men of Kessler Holztransporte have been clearing the roads in and around the village of Häusern every winter since 1959 – they're now in their seventh generation. The family-run company exclusively uses Unimog for the task: only the Mercedes-Benz all-rounder combines reliability and manoeuvrability with excellent ride comfort. And not only in the winter.

The Unimog is there year after year.

While 36-year-old Markus starts up the six-cylinder diesel engine and sets off on a circuit of around 25 kilometres to clear the access roads to the village, Kessler Senior starts clearing the busiest streets within the village itself. This job is taken care of by an older Unimog U 1400. When the bakery opens at 6 am the locals will need a clear path to get to their breakfast buns!

Snow chains and spreader.

Once the first phase is completed, which can take around three or four hours depending the depth of the snow, the Kesslers head up into the hills of the Black Forest to make sure the necessary footpaths are identifiable and passable. Here the Unimog proves its off-road strength. “Some of the slopes we have to clear here are dangerous, so we have put snow chains on both Unimog vehicles, even though they have high-grip MPT tyres already,” Helmut Kessler tells us.

The new Unimog U 427 doesn’t just have ingenious features, the ride comfort is excellent as well.


Markus Kessler, Kessler Holztransporte

A hydraulically powered spreader can be mounted to the Unimog U 427 without difficulty, thanks to a modular interface: “With a gritting rate of 10 g/m² the spreader’s capacity of 2 m³ means it lasts for ages before I have to take it back to the yard, where there are two silos each holding 300 tonnes. But when there’s black ice or freezing rain I set the spreader to 30 g/m², otherwise we’d never keep the roads clear.”

In the winter Helmut Kessler sits early in the driver's seat of the Unimog to ensure safe road conditions in houses.
The new Unimog U 427 replaced a Unimog U 1600 at Kessler Holztransporte.
Depending on the working days, the Kesslers consume up to 50 tonnes of salt per year.
Between Schwarza and Albstausee the Kesslers and their Unimog keep the white splendor on the streets around the community houses in check.
The family business Kessler has been relying on Unimog for seven generations.
In the winter Helmut Kessler sits early in the driver's seat of the Unimog to ensure safe road conditions in houses.

Versatility thanks to power take-off shafts.

Markus particularly values the reliability of the Unimog U 427, and also the useful features including snow plough relief, the electro-pneumatic gear shift and the two power take-off shafts. The front PTO is especially useful in winter service use: the Kesslers can even run a snow blower from it to disperse high banks of snow, reducing the piled-up snow at the sides of the road to a reasonable height. “We might not have to attach it again until next winter,” Markus says. Until then, the Unimog will be pulling rather than pushing in Häusern. It will be back to work transporting loads of timber to the company’s customers using a log trailer and loading crane.

Seven generations of Kesslers and their Unimog.

Markus Kessler, who qualified as a car mechanic with Mercedes-Benz in Titisee Neustadt before joining his parents’ timber haulage firm, fell under the Unimog spell at an early age. It runs in the family. His father Helmut recalls: “Our first Unimog was a 411, still with the tarpaulin cover, but it made snow ploughing so much easier. It was only 30 hp, but manoeuvrable, as before that there was only the logging truck with a K5 V-type snow plough. And before that we had to rely on horses and ox-power!”

Kessler is the oldest company in the village of Häusern. The timber haulage firm was founded 200 years ago by Markus Josef Kessler and is now in its seventh generation of Kesslers – appropriately also using its seventh Unimog in a row. For transporting lumber, the company has also been using a Mercedes-Benz Actros with a log transporter body and crane since 2000. It’s used to supply Kessler’s customer base, which covers a radius of around 100 km and includes a large number of sawmills and timber processing companies in the southern Black Forest.

The winter service experts intend to remain loyal to the Unimog. Their enthusiasm for it is undiminished: “The new Unimog U 427 doesn’t just have ingenious features, the ride comfort is excellent as well,” extols Markus Kessler. And with the help of his team it continues to ensure the roads remain snow-free between the Schwarza valley and the Alb reservoir.

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