Archive for 2011
Van and truck registrations were up 8.8% to 43,442 units in September, while the rolling year saw registrations rise 20.9% to 293,703, according to the latest figures from the SMMT. “Confidence returned to the commercial vehicle market in 2011 and the September market continues the upward trend, growing 8.8% on last year,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “The future state of the economy is certainly a concern, but it’s clear that owners and operators are currently investing in new, fuel-efficient vehicles to help weather the storm of high fuel prices.”
At 510 horsepower, bristling with extra lights, and in a stunning metallic paint finish, the new DAF XF105 flagship of the 24-strong fleet of Barry Proctor Services Limited is sure to be a head-turner.
The Stoke-on-Trent company, which specialises in providing haulage services to the building products industry, is renowned for the high quality and appearance of its vehicles and the new DAF sets an even higher standard.
Its driver, Andrew Owen, has been rewarded for the care that he always takes of his trucks by being put at the wheel of the 105 and he is said to “absolutely love it!”. He’ll cover over 100,000 kilometres a year in it carrying bricks, blocks and architectural stone to building sites from manufacturers throughout the UK.
When on the road and during the three nights that Andrew will spend each week sleeping in the cab, he can be sure of a comfortable working and living environment. The Super Space cab offers him a large amount of space with enough internal height for him to stand up easily and plenty of storage space for his personal gear.
To standard features like air conditioning and automatic temperature control the company has added a fridge, microwave, six-speaker radio/CD player, and a flat screen TV. Carpets and curtains have been specially made which, together with the wood effect dashboard, complete the luxurious feel of the cab interior.
Externally the DAF has a number of eye-catching features, not least an array of additional lights and an illuminated name panel by Kelsa. The top mounted roof bar has no fewer than six spots, with a further four in the grille bar. These are supplemented by skylights fared into the roofline, fog lights inset into the bumper, and a ‘low’ bar underneath the bumper. With side lights, the truck sports and amazing 84 LED lights. Completing the stylish appearance are Alcoa Dura-bright alloy wheels on both the tractor and its tri-axle Montracon dropside trailer.
Out on the road the mid-lift axle FTG XF105 has plenty of power with the 12.9-litre MX engine delivering a mighty 510hp at 1,500-1,900rpm; with a power-to-weight ratio of close-on 12hp per tonne. With 2,500Nm it has also got plenty of torque to get the truck moving in all road and load conditions. And to reduce stress and fatigue during long driving days, it has the AS-tronic 12-speed automated transmission with an engine and exhaust brake also adding to safety and reduced wear on the service brakes.
“I think that it’s always better to be on top of the job in terms of power,” says managing director Barry Proctor, who started his business 26 years ago. “It means less stress on the engine and less on the driver, and it allows good average speeds to be maintained, which results in better journey times and improved fuel efficiency.
“We run a number of DAFs and have always enjoyed excellent service both from the manufacturer and the supplying dealer, Imperial Commercials. Their salesman, Barry Mountford, is very keen to ensure that our needs are met precisely and on time. And with this truck I was also impressed by the factory paint finish, which is of a very high standard.”
Other contributors to the comprehensive specification of the truck include WEP of Wisbech, who fitted the full width catwalk and sideskirts and painted them to match the factory paint finish, and Andy Scott of Sheffield, who was responsible for the airbrush work.
Manheim Remarketing’s latest monthly Market Analysis for Vans reveals that average wholesale used van values increased by 3.8% (£146) to £4,015 in September despite an increase in both average age and mileage. Average age increased by three months to 58 months and average mileage went up by 3,800 miles to 79,671. Compared with September 2010, average values are 2.7% (£111) lower, average age is seven months higher and average mileage is up by 9,112 miles.
James Davis, General Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Manheim Remarketing said: “We have clearly emerged from summertime seasonality and conversion rates have jumped with several sales experiencing 100% conversions. The market is fuelled by the lack of de-fleet volumes in the pipeline awaiting sale and year-on-year sold volumes were down 15% in September, the first clear sign of the reduction in stock. However last year we were starting to see significant volumes from the high profile fleet and business failures so that needs to be considered when making comparisons in the coming months. Car derived vans are seeing increases in average age and reductions in average mileage. This typically represents the influence of the highly desirable stock from utility fleet replacement programmes, borne out by the fact that average sale values have remained stable despite this older stock profile. Small panel vans, despite month-on-month increases in age and mileage, have seen average selling prices stabilise. These vehicles are a key barometer of small business users buying used vans for their businesses. A close eye must also be kept on the impact of higher mileage on values in this sector.”
Tim Spencer, Group Commercial Vehicle Auctioneer, Manheim Auctions added: ” In the large panel over 3.0t segment, mileage has climbed significantly since Easter, from just over 85,000 miles in April to just over 102,000 miles in September while average age has remained flat at 53 months. This demonstrates that vans sold in this segment have been worked harder and travelled more miles over less time. Typically the daily rental fleet replacement programmes play a key part in this trend as do contract extensions. Average sale values of 4x4s have shown clear seasonality over the last 13 months. September has seen a clear and defined uplift in average selling price of £556 in just one month. Export demand helps boost the fortunes of specific models in this segment. Finally, the LEZ appears to be getting more exposure in the press and on social media sites, coupled to direct mail campaigns to owners. The impact of that pent up, artificial demand spike when coupled to the current wholesale van shortage is likely to drive used values higher still.”
Stagecoach Yorkshire is at the forefront of a green revolution on the roads following the launch of a £6m fleet of eco-friendly buses by Brian Blessed.
The bus company’s mission to cut hundreds of thousands of car journeys in the region over the next three years has been driven forward by the introduction in Sheffield of 21 hybrid double-decker buses.
Over a year, the vehicles, which feature free Wi-Fi for customers, will use 20,000 less gallons of diesel a year than equivalent standard double deckers and cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent.
The diesel-electric buses, with breakthrough technology developed by BAE systems, are the first of their type in South Yorkshire and have been introduced on the 120 service (Fulwood, Ranmoor, Broomhill, Sheffield city centre, Manor Top, Frecheville, Waterthorpe, Halfway).
They were officially launched this week, when South Yorkshire born Brian Blessed, actor, explorer and author, joined green celebrations on Fargate, Sheffield city centre.
At the event, supported by Hallam FM, there was the chance to find out more about the cleaner, greener vehicles and take part in a green garden competition.
Stars of Stagecoach Yorkshire’s naked charity calendar, in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity, were also on hand to sign copies for customers.
It was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony with Brian Blessed by the Winter Gardens and a reception at the Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel.
Paul Lynch, Stagecoach Yorkshire’s managing director, said: “We are proud to introduce these new vehicles in Sheffield, which are part of a £4m investment by Stagecoach and £2m funding from the Government’s Green Bus Fund.
“Stagecoach has set challenging green targets, which is good for the city, the environment, but most importantly our passengers. The vehicles are not just nice to look at, but the technology they use means the buses don’t have gear shifts, creating a quieter and smoother journey for customers.
“The major investment is part of a wider plan we have for Sheffield. Value for money fares, increased frequencies and innovative marketing are reasons we are seeing staggering organic growth. In 2006, we carried 6m passengers in Sheffield. This figure has risen to 16 in 2011.”
The buses are powered by a mix of an ordinary diesel engine and an electric motor, with the braking system generating electrical energy when the brakes are pressed. Electrical energy is stored in a battery pack and used to drive the electric motor.
Mexborough-born Brian Blessed, who gave an inspiring speech to guests at the reception, said: “This is a celebration of the achievements of a team. Sheffield is so passionate about being a green city, built on iron strength.
“The earth was not created for us, we were created for earth and we need to look after it. When I trekked to the North Pole, I could barely get there because of shrinkage and Everest will be a rock climb soon.
“It is wonderful to be in Sheffield for this event. I believe we will conquer and cleanse the atmosphere.”
Investment in new greener technology is part of a wider drive across Stagecoach Yorkshire to make services even more environmentally friendly and the company says that its target of one billion fewer car journeys over the next three years can be achieved by switching one in 25 journeys by car to bus and coach.
A winning mpg performance from a demonstration unit prompted container transport specialist Pentalver to place its first major order for Mercedes-Benz trucks.
The high-profile operator is now running 30 new Axor tractor units from its purpose-built, 28-acre container facility at Cannock, Staffordshire.
Supplied by south coast dealer Pentagon Commercials, they are all high-roofed 6×2 Axor 2543 models and the subject of a three-year Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire package, under which each will cover 150,000km per year.
Pentalver confidently expects its Axors to be at least half a mile per gallon more fuel-efficient than the trucks they have replaced – this will translate into annual savings across the fleet worth comfortably in excess of £100,000.
Pentagon Commercials clinched the deal after the operator undertook an evaluation exercise that pitched the dealer’s Axor demonstrator against 44-tonne products by three other manufacturers.
“The Mercedes was clearly the best on fuel,” recalled Dan Withers, Pentalver’s Head of Procurement & Process Excellence. “It returned an average 9.3mpg initially but in the final week, after Pentagon’s truck sales executive Steve Brewer had delivered some instruction and our drivers began using the engine brake system to its full potential, that figure shot up to a very impressive 9.8mpg.
“Our previous vehicles were returning between 8.5 and 9mpg – if we can raise the average to 9-9.5mpg, as we fully expect to do with these new Mercedes, then we’ll cut our diesel costs by at least £3,600 per vehicle per year.”
Southampton-based Pentalver commenced trading in 1980 with 16 trucks. Today, the Pentalver Group employs approximately 700 people and operates a fleet of 230 vehicles from depots at Felixstowe, Southampton and Cannock.
Pentalver is an established supplier of container-based-solutions to many of the major shipping lines and freight forwarders, as well as the UK Government and Ministry of Defence, and numerous other ‘blue chip’ organisations. In addition to road transport, Pentalver has extensive interests in container sales, leasing and conversions, loaded and empty container storage and repairs, refrigeration services and cargo handling.
Mr Withers continued: “The Axor is the perfect truck with which to make daily shuttle runs between Cannock and the ports that we serve.
“We’re operating these trucks on a round-the-clock basis so, while fuel economy was obviously crucial, we were also keen to ensure that we had identified the total cost of ownership, which also meant factoring in the acquisition, service and parts elements.
“Mercedes-Benz trucks enjoy an outstanding reputation for reliability but clearly back-up from the manufacturer’s network is going to be crucial. Pentagon is the only Mercedes dealer with which we have had significant dealings so far but on this evidence I’m optimistic that we’re in good hands, as they have been highly professional and very keen to do business.”
The Mercedes-Benz Axor is the reigning Motor Transport Fleet Truck of the Year, a title it has also won on two previous occasions. Power for the Axor range comes from six low-emission Euro 5 engines – Pentalver’s Axor 2543s have 430hp outputs – which are mated as standard to the acclaimed Mercedes PowerShift automated transmission.
Darlington-based Todds Highway Maintenance has added another four-axle Andover Trailers step frame to its fleet, designed to operate within STGO Category 2 regulations.
The bespoke-built trailer will be used to transport the company’s largest Wirtgen W2100 cold milling machine weighing 41.2 tonnes. This powerful road planer is mounted on crawler tracks and is used to remove individual paved layers or complete carriageway structures at depths of up to 32 cm in a single pass.
Malcolm Todd, Managing Director of family-run Todds Highway Maintenance, says:
“The Wirtgen W2100 is our largest planer and guarantees high daily production rates, but in turn it requires a very specialist vehicle and trailer to move it between jobs.
“We’ve operated trailers of various makes over the years, but the Andover Trailers kit has always performed best. Our mileages are relatively low, but the trailer is out on the road every day and the weights we carry are significant. There is no time for downtime in our business, so reliability is our primary concern when specifying equipment.”
This SFCL 67 step frame is the fourth Andover Trailers product to enter service with Todds Highway Maintenance – previous deliveries have included a similar four-axle step frame, a three-axle step frame and a centre-balance drawbar for carrying smaller planers behind rigid tippers.
At 12m long (king pin to rear) and 2.53m wide, the new trailer features a low profile neck with slide out extensions to the deck, bridge and beavertail. It has been manufactured with two fixed and two self-steering BPW axles, plus air- suspension with raise/lower controls. 4m long ramps with access toes deliver a gradual approach angle for pavers, with hydraulic steady legs to guarantee a secure loading and unloading platform. For maximum flexibility, a hydraulic sideways function allows the ramps to be adjusted in or out to carry machines with different track widths.
The new trailer will operate with a Volvo Globetrotter tractor unit and features red conspicuity markings at the rear, and silver markings down both sides, in line with new EU guideline 2007/35/EG. A flashing orange beacon is also mounted on the off-side ramp, to maximise safety.
Todds Highway Maintenance was established in 1996 as a small family business, operating primarily in the North East of England. The company has rapidly grown to become one of the main road planing contractors in the UK, undertaking work ranging from a small patch of road to a complete motorway. Customers include local authorities, major contractors and the private/public sector, with contract values ranging from £400 to several million.
Scania is continuing to develop its presence in the UK fuel supply industry with the recent introduction of a total of more than 100 new Scania fuel tankers into service. All these vehicles are now being maintained by the Scania UK dealer network, which provides a full range of specialist tanker support services covering both the trucks and their tanker bodywork/trailers, including all safety inspections and certification. The breakdown of the deliveries, and the equipment being maintained by Scania, is as follows:
-37 petroleum tractors with tanker trailers for ASDA
-3 petroleum tractors with tanker trailers on the road as a new initiative with Eddie Stobart Ltd.
-23 petroleum tractors and tanker trailers for Wm Morrison Supermarkets with a further 22 now on order
-16 petroleum tractors for BP Fuels
-5 tractor units for CONOCO
-17 rigid tankers for Humberside-based Rix Petroleum
“The reason more and more fuel supply operators are turning to Scania is that we are able to provide a comprehensive one-stop service covering vehicle supply and maintenance for both our Petroleum Regulations trucks and the tanks they haul,” comments Mark Grant, Aftersales Director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited.
“This service is delivered via our nationwide network of specialist ADR/Petroleum Regulations service centres, which provide not only the truck-related repair and maintenance services you would expect from Scania, but also a complete tanker support service.
“This extends to all mandatory safety examinations – including two-yearly vapour tightness testing and the mandatory three-yearly leak-proof tightness test – as well as repairs and, if required, re-tests in a single visit. Forward planning and test scheduling is all part of the service, as are pre-test examinations and rectification work. Moreover, Written Schemes of Examination can be provided in line with customer requirements.
“All Scania ADR and Petroleum Regulations tanker testing is carried out in conjunction with our Competent Authority Partners and conducted strictly in accordance with the Safe Loading Pass and Health & Safety Executive codes of practice to assure operators of the best possible service and peace of mind at all times.”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has appointed a new director, Alex Smith, 37, who will take up the role on 1 November, replacing Simon Elliott who recently accepted a new position as Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Ireland. Alex is currently Head of Retail Operations for Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
Alex has a 16 year career in the motor industry and joined the Volkswagen Group four years ago. His previous roles include a spell as Head of Group Parts Operations where he was responsible for the Trade Parts Specialists network. Prior to this Alex worked for Ford and Kia with responsibility for operations, fleet, aftersales, planning and marketing.
Simon Thomas, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group UK said: ‘We are delighted to appoint Alex to this new role and know that his previous achievements make him the best person to lead Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles during the years ahead.
‘He is joining Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles during a year of record sales, continued investment and expansion of its Van Centre network, and with one of the most up to date model ranges in the industry,’ he continued.
Commenting on his appointment, Alex Smith said: ‘I am looking forward to joining such a leading and growing commercial vehicle brand with one of the most efficient model ranges, an impressive network of dedicated Van Centres, and staff providing the best service to fleet and private customers alike.’
Full details of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range of vans, conversions, people carriers, pick-up and campervan are available by calling 0800 717131, or visiting www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk. For the latest updates, follow Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on Twitter @Volkswagen_CV.
Road transport specialists come in all shapes and sizes and Buckinghamshire-based vehicle and machinery transporter, The Tomato Plant Company, has just added a new 500hp Volvo FM 8×4 drawbar to its expanding all-Volvo fleet.
As their name suggests, Tomato Plant’s fleet is ideal for moving heavy plant and machinery. However, they also specialise in transport logistics for the entertainment industry, having recently moved equipment for the Glastonbury and Download Festivals as well as delivering action vehicles and props for various film and TV productions.
Going for the high output version of Volvo’s 13-litre straight-six engine and their Globetrotter cab, the Tomato Plant Company have added a tri-axle Andover trailer and Fassi crane to the outfit for ultimate performance and flexibility. Volvo’s I-Shift 12-speed automated gearbox has sliced off 70kgs and was specified for ease of use and fuel economy.
When quizzed about the company’s quirky name, Keith Williams said, “We are first and foremost a professional road transport company, but we also have a sense of humour and believe that it helps if you can make your customers and the public have a smile while you are doing a decent job.” The eye-catching tomato livery on Keith’s Volvos will certainly do that.
Starting with a used Volvo FH13-480 sourced from Volvo dealer MC Truck & Bus Ltd in Maidstone, coupled with a King low-loader trailer, Keith set up the Tomato Plant Company Ltd after selling his successful waste tankering business back in 2009.
Business is going from strength to strength and yet another 60-tonne FH-500 13-litre Globetrotter XL tractor unit has just been delivered together with a new King trailer.
“I’ve been working with trucks for over 11 years, but these will be a lot more fun,” said Keith. After a demo of several top brand trucks, Keith decided to make his fleet an all-Volvo affair, “For the build quality, ride and handling characteristics, not to mention the image,” he added.
Vehicle safety technology company,Innovative Safety Systems Ltd (ISS), has developed a system to warn cyclists when HGV’s, refuse trucks and large vehicles are turning left.
Statistics show that cyclist injuries caused by collisions with HGV’s are much more likely to be serious or fatal. In its 2006 ‘Cyclists and Lorries’ factsheet The Royal Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents (ROSPA) reported that the percentage of cyclist fatalities caused by crashes with HGV’s was 22% across the UK. In the same year, nine of the 19 cyclists who died on London’s roads were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle.
The Cyclist Warning Display System comprises of two parts; the externally mounted LED Display Module (26cmx22cmx7cm) and the internally mounted Control Box. The Display Module communicates with cyclists and is mounted to the near side of the vehicle at the rear. It displays an image of a bicycle and the word ‘STOP’. When the driver indicates to turn, these images are triggered to illuminate amber, warning cyclists that a manoeuvre is imminent.
There are optional audio warnings available; a standard alarm that attracts the cyclist’s attention to the display; and a fully programmable version that allows messages to be played, such as ‘Warning, vehicle turning left’.
The system works in conjunction with ISS reversing radars, providing additionaldetection and driver warning. With this system the CWDS is not triggered by the indicator mechanism but instead by the presence of any object that is detected within the detection zone.
Gavin Thoday, Director, Innovative Safety Systems: “In a market place inundated with products that alert driver of obstacles in blind spots there are virtually none that provide information to cyclists. The CWDS does just that, by warning cyclists and that a potentially dangerous manoeuvre is about to occur and placing the onus on them to act accordingly.”
The first CWDS will be in use by mid-October and Gavin is confident that it will prove to be a popular item of safety technology.
Gavin added: “The system is suitable for all HGV’s or any suitable vehicle that operates in a busy urban environment. We have consulted with local authorities and the private sector to develop a system that is flexible and can be tailored for different vehicles and operational requirements.”
Based in Leicestershire, ISS is a one-stop shop vehicle safety and efficiency provider encompassing product development, supply, maintenance and service. ISS products include reverse camera systems, vehicle CCTV, hard disk recording (DVR), reversing radar, fuel saving module, vehicle tracking, LED lighting and warning beacons.
For more information about the Cyclist Warning Display System or any other ISS product contact the ISS Team on 01455 557274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org