CV output steady in first quarter following 2015 boom

Posted on: April 28, 2016

UK commercial vehicle manufacturing saw a decline in March 2016, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 8,398 CVs were built in Britain last month, down -13.0% compared with the previous year as the market rebalanced following a particularly strong performance in March 2015.

First quarter production volumes remained stable, rising 0.9% on 2015 and marking the strongest quarter in more than four years. The growth was driven by overseas demand, up almost a fifth compared with the same period last year, with 12,450 vehicles exported.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Following the substantial boost to volumes seen in 2015, it is unsurprising that March’s production figures were more subdued. However, exports are driving output, with more than half of all the commercial vehicles made in Britain in 2016 produced for overseas buyers. With continued recovery in Europe, we can be optimistic that this trend will continue.”

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Positive first quarter for UK engine production as strong domestic demand drives output

Posted on: April 28, 2016

It was a positive first quarter for UK engine manufacturing in 2016, with overall production volumes up 3.5% over 2015 figures to 667,888 units, according to the latest results published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

UK demand for British-built engines grew by 24.6% in March, with 97,326 units produced. Overall, the total engine output was steady in March, down -1.5% on last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Significant growth in domestic demand for British-built engines in March helped the sector achieve a steady performance for the month, down marginally by -1.5%. New UK facilities this year have catered predominantly for the growing home market, with manufacturing for export down -9.3%. However, overseas demand remains strong, with customers in international territories continuing to take the bulk of output, and accounting for 56.7% of overall production.”

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Sold-out CV Show highlights strength of transport industry

Posted on: April 28, 2016

The CV Show has once again been a huge success in 2016, and reaffirmed its position as the premier exhibition for the commercial vehicle industry in the UK.

The event exceeded the expectations set by last year’s strong Show, hosting over 460 exhibitors and using every inch of available floor space in Halls 3a, 4 and 5 of the NEC in Birmingham.

This year’s spotlight was split evenly between a record number of LCV launches and a boom in pick-up offerings. While these facets of the show turned many heads, there were plenty of other debuts, unveilings and world premieres to demand showgoers’ attention over the three days.

Iveco held a dominant presence at CV Show 2016. The Italian manufacturer brought 21 vehicles to Birmingham – constituting its largest-ever line-up of trucks and vans at the show – and also used the event as a platform to showcase its latest Daily Euro-6 van range, showing off seven different variants to attendees. An especially popular offering from Iveco this year was the new Daily Electric, which is claimed to have an additional capacity of 100kg over the previous model, bringing the electric van one step closer to mainstream use. Visitors to Iveco’s exhibition space were able to see a broad range of trucks as well as the company’s road sweeper collaboration with Johnston Sweepers in the form of the Eurocargo mid-weight truck.

Zero emissions vehicles were all the rage at the CV Show 2016. LDV’s large stand marked its return to the UK market, and featured its intentions of joining the electric commercial vehicle market with the EV80 panel van. The vehicle has a claimed usable range of 215 miles and a recharging time of two hours.

LCV launches of all missions were featured throughout the halls of the NEC this year. A record 13 models were unveiled from the likes of Citroën, Fiat, Ford, Isuzu, Iveco, LDV, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen. As can be expected, the sheer number of unveilings made competition for attention quite fierce. The combination of booming LCV registrations in 2015 – reaching a staggering 4 million – and the upcoming deadline for Euro-6 compliance this September acted as the catalysts for this abundance of new metal.

Pick-ups, which have been experiencing a European resurgence in recent years, were another fashionable sector at this year’s Show. A number of new and upgraded pick-up trucks were trotted out for public display, including the Fiat Fullback, Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200 and Isuzu D-Max. The inherent versatility of pick-ups, which are able to jump between business and family functions, has made them a popular option for a broad range of potential customers, and resulted in manufacturers enjoying significant attention at the Show.

The most surprising announcement at the Show came from the Cartwright Group and Transdek UK, who announced a licensing deal that will see the two leading double-deck trailer companies working in unison on a number of specific trailer models.

Lighting specialists Aspoeck had an extensive range of lighting systems on its Austrian-themed stand, but was also previewing its innovative mirror-replacement camera systems. Upcoming legislation changes in 2017 will allow trucks to be fitted with cameras in place of traditional rear-view mirrors, and this is expected to be a significant growth opportunity for the CV sector supply chain. Cameras are a lot smaller than bulky truck mirrors, meaning improved airflow for fuel economy as well as increased driver visibility around the front and side of the cabin.

Aspoeck is working closely with Mekra to create a camera system that gives the driver an accurate view of what is going on all around the truck, and is far more accurate than some of the systems on sale today.

Exhibitors from all sectors enjoyed strong enquiries and brisk business. When Transport News Brief visited Commercial Body Fittings at 3pm on the first day of the Show, the company had already run out of enquiry forms and were frantically looking for more – despite bringing the same number as last year. Meanwhile, trailer manufacturer Doll Fahrzeugbau reporting selling all three of its displayed trailers within an hour of doors opening on Tuesday morning.

As the lights are switched off on Thursday night, and exhibitors can finally put their feet up after three solid days of work, thoughts are already turning to the 2017 event. Show organisers have already reported strong interest from exhibitors wanting more space next year, as well as some big industry names planning their return. It seems likely that next year could be another record-breaker.

Trailer team-up surprises at CV Show

Posted on: April 28, 2016

There was a surprise trailer industry announcement on the opening day of the 2016 CV Show, as the Cartwright Group and Transdek UK announced a licensing deal connecting the two leading double-deck trailer companies.

Transdek UK, a designer and manufacturer of double-deck semi-trailers and loading bay equipment, has joined with Cartwright, a bodybuilder and trailer-maker which has been diversifying after a period of growth. The agreement is understood to be confined to fixed-deck double-deck trailers (not including those with moveable second decks) and to include design, manufacturing, sales and marketing. Transdek UK’s Urban and Wedge double-deckers, both on display at the CV Show, are included in the deal.

Mark Cartwright, The Cartwright Group Managing Director, said, “This new venture is very exciting for both Cartwright and Transdek, and creates a partnership which will maximise the complementary skills of both organisations. Transdek UK’s innovative flair will combine with Cartwright’s manufacturing scale to form a winning formula which will have a major impact on the industry”.

The large-scale collaboration was not the only trailer sector news at the CV Show. Chereau, the French refrigerated trailer manufacturer, looks set to combine with SOR Ibérica to form the Reefer Group, as both have been acquired by Spanish equity firm GP Miura. With this collaboration in the pipeline, Chereau has used the CV Show as an opportunity to debut its SmartOpen-C electric rear door system. The system opens above a trailer’s roof, instead of inside the bodywork, offering increased hygiene and reduced noise levels. The French manufacturer has also unveiled its 100,000-Series special edition trailer, to commemorate the sale of the company’s 100,000th unit.

SDC has focused its efforts on the high-tech side of the trailer sector this year. Its new trailer KERS (kinetic energy recovery) system made waves at this year’s Show. The KERS product slots into the energy saving focus prevalent in 2016 by promising fuel savings of up to 25%. The technology, originally developed for Formula One, uses regenerative braking to charge capacitors, which then serve to power an electrically driven axle. In addition to fuel consumption savings, SDC believes that both NOx emissions and brake wear will be significantly reduced by the hybrid system.

German manufacturer Doll Fahrzeugbau started the CV Show well, selling all three of its exhibited axle low loaders after just one hour of the event. Another European, Turkish owned semi-trailer manufacturer Kassbohrer, is exhibiting at the CV Show for the first time this year. The company stated that it will be “ramping up operations in the UK” by releasing a K.SLA 4 extendable low bed semi trailer, a K.STC 30 chemical transportation vehicle, and a K.SPW.XS heavy duty platform developed exclusively for the UK market. In order to back up these releases, the company plans on doubling its UK aftersales points from 10 to 20 locations.

Conversions sector out in force at CV Show

Posted on: April 28, 2016

The conversions sector has a huge presence at the 2016 CV Show being held this week at the NEC in Birmingham.

The Cartwright Group is a regular exhibitor at the CV Show, but this year marks the public introduction of the company’s new conversions division, on display with its own stand separate to Cartwright’s largest-ever trailer displays.

The new conversions business, based in South Yorkshire and concentrating on vans up to 3.5 tonnes GVW, seems like quite a departure from trailers like this, both geographically and in terms of product type and vehicle weight. Mark Cartwright does not see it that way. “It’s about how we grow as a business,” he says.

“The skill-set needed at Doncaster is not that dissimilar to our main skill-set. And there is some crossover of customers as well. This is an opportunity to grow without affecting our existing customer base in existing markets.”

The Doncaster plant, already employing 25 people, has 30 work bays as well as a conventional production line, which Cartwright claims allows the company to offer unmatched flexibility.

Cartwright said, “Our Doncaster plant allows us to build multiple repeat vehicles in a line, and we also have up to 30 bays so we can build different vehicles at the same time. This flexibility allows us to build one vehicle in a bay or 500 on a line.”

Another well-known trailer manufacturer, Gray & Adams, has unveiled its insulated and refrigerated panel van conversion at this year’s CV Show.

The new conversion achieves ATP Class A (chilled) and Class C (frozen) certifications, and is capable of reaching -20°C in just 20 minutes. It is aimed at operators transporting deep frozen and pharmaceutical products. The vehicle’s seamless, waterproof construction also makes it very hygienic and easy to clean, which is ideal for transporting refrigerated and fresh products for human consumption. A fleet of 34 vehicles is in operation with a launch operator.

Whale Tankers has been grabbing attention from showgoers with its latest 44-tonne KaiserWhale tanker, finished in bright orange paintwork and distinctive graphics for client Hydro Cleansing. The unit features twin Kaiser 4000i vacuum pumps and a rotary vane exhauster, as well as an extensive LED lighting system. Whale is also showcasing an 18-tonne recycling tanker and a 7.5-tonne urban tanker on its stand.

Eberspächer has a variety of van conversions on its stand, highlighting its heating and air-conditioning expertise in meeting a range of different customer requirements. Featured on the stand is the company’s latest UK-manufactured Hydronic S3 Economy heater, which will go on sale later this year, as well as a range of other climate solutions products.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is using its return to the CV Show to launch its own Converter Recognition Programme, working in conjunction with a number of converter partners to deliver a wide range of single-invoice options for both off-the-shelf and bespoke conversions.

Also on display at the Volkswagen stand is the new Crafter Tipper, developed in partnership with conversion specialist VFS. It is available in both single and double cab variants, featuring Volkswagen’s latest Euro-6 engines.

Safety and technology meet at CV Show

Posted on: April 28, 2016

Providing the safest possible environment for drivers, site workers and other road users has been a key issue for vehicle manufacturers and operators in recent years. A number of companies exhibiting at the 2016 CV Show had new products to offer showgoers.

Aspoeck showed off its latest LED trailer lighting systems, as fitted to trailers from manufacturers such as SDC, Cartwright and Schmitz Cargobull, as well as its new 12V light commercial products which will be fitted to the next-generation Volkswagen Crafter to be launched next year. The company already supplies PSA Groupe vehicles from Peugeot and Citroen.

With an eye on upcoming legislation changes, Aspoeck also previewed its newest truck mirror-replacement camera systems at the Show. From 2017, trucks will be allowed to feature cameras instead of traditional rear-view mirrors, improving airflow, reducing weight and improving driver visibility. The new rules will open up opportunities for OEM designers and aftermarket suppliers in equal measure.

Aspoeck is working closely with Mekra to create a camera system that gives the driver an accurate view of what is going on all around the truck, and is far more accurate than some of the systems on sale today.

Lee Rush, Aspoeck UK Managing Director, said, “The difficulty with some of the existing systems is that they tend to lose pedestrians whenever they walk around each corner of the vehicle. You see them, then they suddenly vanish, then they reappear, then they vanish again.”

Another upcoming legislation change will allow smarter side marker lights on HGV to improve safety for vulnerable road users. Rush said, “We will see side marker lights that flash depending on whether the vehicle is turning left or turning right, sending a clearer signal to other road users.”

Commercial Body Fittings has also seen a growth in business from safety technology, with customers demanding products that are integrated into a vehicle rather than added on afterwards.

Simon Ragless, Commercial Body Fittings Special Projects Manager, said, “We’re seeing a lot more health and safety products coming through. FORS has brought a lot more awareness about bringing vehicles up to date, with the side scanners, reversing cameras or digital recording which are now very, very big.”

“People aren’t just going for a cheap alternative, they are looking to get a vehicle which is fit for purpose and isn’t going to cost them money in the long run. Fleets are very specific about what a vehicle needs to do for them.”

UK operators lead the world in adoption of CV telematics – MiX Telematics

Posted on: April 28, 2016

Commercial vehicle telematics systems are used more extensively in the UK than in any other country, according to new findings presented by MiX Telematics at this week’s CV Show.

Marc Trollet, MiX Telematics Europe Managing Director, presented research conducted by Frost & Sullivan and Berg Insight, two giant multinational research and consultancy firms.

It concluded that between 2014 and 2020 the global market for commercial vehicle telematics systems would grow on average by no less than 15% annually, even though in some regions, such as Europe, the market is described as “close to maturity”.

Based on the research findings, Trollet calculates that in the first quarter of this year the proportion of all UK in-service commercial vehicles (from light vans to heavy trucks and including buses and coaches) using telematics of one kind or another will have passed the 40% mark. “This is the highest rate in the world,” he said.

Trollet concedes that the percentage figures cannot be precise because they are based largely on continuous surveys by the research organisations of leading telematics suppliers. But he is nevertheless confident in the trends revealed by the research.

He said, “The percentage is a best estimate. You could debate the number, whether it’s 38% or 42%. But it is the trends that are important.”

Another trend revealed by the research is that virtually no operator ever ditches telematics entirely when a contract comes up for renewal. They may well switch from one supplier to another in search of a better return on investment, but they keep using telematics – and usually at an increased level.

One of the surprising findings of the research was that a large proportion of the total European commercial vehicle parc is still accounted for by small fleets of fewer than 15 vehicles.

Trollet said, “There are some differences from one country to another, but in simple terms the split throughout Europe is roughly the same, with about 30% of the total number of vehicles accounted for by big fleets of more than 100 vehicles each.

“The vast majority of operators have fewer than 15 vehicles. This was a big surprise for us.”

Last week’s sales round-up – 25 April

Posted on: April 25, 2016

Volvo Trucks have taken an order for 70 new high specification tractor units and tippers from Derbyshire-based haulier Lomas Distribution. The order includes FH-540 tractors as well as FM-460 8×4 tippers.

Volvo Trucks have also delivered fourteen new FM and six FMX 8×4 tippers to A&F Haulage of Bolton. The new arrivals increase the company’s fleet size to over eighty-five trucks.

Volvo Trucks round off the week by delivering a Volvo FH540 XL Globetrotter to Moira, Co. Armagh-based haulier, Bradford Transport. This marks the first-ever brand new truck for the company in over 30 years of operation.

Mercedes-Benz trucks has supplied online grocer Ocado with 20 Actros tractor units, with 15 more awaiting delivery. The vehicles have all been specified with the optional Active Brake Assist 3 and Proximity Control Assist systems.

Mercedes-Benz vans has received an order for 40 Euro-6 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters from tool hire specialist HSS. The move marks the first phase of a full fleet renovation to Euro-6 specification for HSS.

Mercedes-Benz vans has delivered five Mercedes-Benz Citans to Car valeter MAX WAX. The conquest deal consists of 109 CDI Long-bodied models, which have replaced vehicles from two other manufacturers.

DAF Trucks has delivered eight DAF XF 460 FTG tractors, and a 26-tonne CF 330 FAS to Saville’s Freights, a general haulage company based in Bristol. The order is part of a rationalisation plan by Saville’s to reduce its current mixed fleet to just two manufacturers by the end of 2016.

Renault Trucks has supplied three 44-tonne Range T460 4×2 tractor units and two 12-tonne Range D12 240s to Really Trucks in Devon. The new additions to Really’s 13-strong fleet will be used to transport vans across the UK and Europe.

Optare has supplied the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) with five Optare Solos. The new buses will be used on various subsidised local bus services across the area, including the MyBus service.

Volvo Buses has delivered a Volvo B8R SC5 to Cardiff operator Wheadon’s Group Travel. The coach’s Euro 6 chassis is combined with Sunsundegui SC5 bodywork.

Largest ever number of vans recorded on British roads

Posted on: April 26, 2016

New figures released today show the number of vans on Britain’s roads has hit an all time high of 4 million. According to Motorparc data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 4,007,331 vans are in use on UK roads, a 4.3% increase since the previous year.

Demand for new vans in the UK is now at record levels: registrations grew 1.2% in the first quarter of 2016, following a bumper 2015 which saw more than 370,000 units registered. Sustained business confidence and the continuing surge in demand for online deliveries have been key to stimulating this growth, and vans now cover around 45 billion miles across the UK each year.

A record number of new vehicle models will be launched at this year’s CV Show at Birmingham’s NEC – including several global debuts – as manufacturers meet higher demand for vans and pickups across the UK and Europe. More than 460 exhibitors are set to display the latest products and technologies available across the entire sector, from van and truck manufacturers to supply and aftermarket companies and service providers.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Commercial vehicles have never been more important to the British economy, transporting vital goods and services using the latest low emission technology. The CV Show will demonstrate the huge progress that the whole industry continues to make, with a wealth of new products on display from manufacturers, suppliers, aftermarket companies and service providers.”

The new figures – and the number of new products on display at the Show – underline the importance of the commercial vehicle sector which contributes £11 billion annually to the UK economy. CVs cover 61 billion miles each year in the UK, with vans account 45 billion of these – an all-time high. Almost 3,000 tonnes of goods are moved by road every minute – three times more than by water and rail combined.

The increasing uptake of new vans is good news for the environment, too, with all vans registered from September this year meeting strict Euro-6 emissions regulations. These vehicles feature advanced filters which capture 99% of soot particulates, as well as exhaust after treatments to dramatically cut emissions of nitrogen oxides.

Snapshot: facts about vans on British roadsSMMT Vans ON THE ROAD 2016

If you parked all the vans in the UK end-to-end, they would stretch 28 times the length of the A1.
The combined payload volume of all the vans in the UK adds up to 26.2 million cubic metres – the equivalent of 10,483 Olympic swimming pools.
More than half (57.0%) of the vans on the road are white, with silver (11.4%) in second place and blue (9.0%) third.

Van overloading is undermining tech advances

Posted on: April 26, 2016

Advances in van safety technology could be undermined by dangerous overloading, warns the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today. Almost nine in 10 (88.5%) of the 2,381 vans weighed last year by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) were found to be overloaded, a worse record than the previous year in which 84% of the 3,337 checked were illegal.

Manufacturers are offering increasing levels of safety on the latest vehicles: around a quarter of vans currently on sale in the UK are available with advanced collision warning systems, while three new models launched at this week’s Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC will feature autonomous emergency braking for the first time. But for all the benefits advanced safety tech brings, an overloaded or poorly loaded van can still pose a risk to its driver and other road users, adding vital metres to braking distances and affecting handling.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Vans have never played a more important role in the British economy, with a record 4 million vans now on our roads, so it is a concern that this in-use safety record remains so poor. Manufacturers are investing significant amounts in new safety technology, but this can only do part of the job. We continue to urge operators and owners to comply with the law to keep themselves and others safe, avoid the risk of fines and keep the threat of further legislation at bay.”

While anyone operating a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is subject to strict rules under the Operator Licensing regime, this does not apply to vehicles under 3.5 tonnes – in other words, the vast majority of vans. No move has yet been made to extend Operator Licensing to vans, and to ensure this and a potential £2.6 billion in extra costs for operators continues to be avoided, industry is keen to see this safety record improve.

SMMT works closely with the DVSA, as well as other industry bodies, to help the van sector stay clear of burdensome regulation. Operators and owners looking to ensure their van complies with weight regulations can refer to DVSA’s handy Van Smart video guide available here.

Gordon Macdonald, DVSA Compliance Service Manager, said, “Overloading continues to be a real issue on our roads, and drivers and businesses need to carefully consider their legal responsibility towards vehicle weight compliance, so we fully support the SMMT’s latest important van safety message.”

For simple, step-by-step guidance on how best to maintain their vans, operators can visit www.smmt.co.uk/vansafety.