We could write thousands of words about what we saw at CV Show 2015 but we just don’t have the space in the mag! Instead, here are a selection of snippets of our favourite products showcased at the event…
MB Vans’ Finance Flourish
Mercedes-Benz announced that lending on their vans is up by nearly 7% to £253 million. This means that one in three vans sold in the UK is funded by the manufacturer.
At a CV Show press conference, Mercedes-Benz vans boss, Steve Bridge confirmed that the new model Vito would start at the same price as the outgoing model, at £17,855.
New Mercedes-Benz Truck Boss Confirms Show Commitment
Mike Belk, not yet in his new role, took to the press conference stage at the CV Show to confirm the company’s commitment to the CV Show. “It is like a shop window for us and gives us the chance to demonstrate our full range. Mercedes-Benz is a long-term supporter of the show, taking part every year. We need to have trucks that people can see to show the breadth and depth of our range.”
There were no fewer than 40 Mercedes-Benz and Fuso trucks on show on indoor and outdoor displays across the show, organised by application.
Mercedes-Benz Preview Econic Skiploader and Tipper
With the focus on safety, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated the uses for the Econic chassis over and above a refuse and recycling truck at the show. With a low-entry cab and good all-round visibility, the Econic is well suited to other urban operations, such as skiploaders and tippers.
The aluminium space-framed cab, clad with sheet-moulded composite fibre (SMC) panels keeps the weight off and the Allison gearbox suited to urban applications. The company is working on fitting their 8-speed Powershift automatic transmission into the Econic – this should improve fuel economy for non-RCV operations.
Citroen’s New Berlingo Highlights
Available from July this year, the Berlingo has been on the receiving end of a small facelift with a new grille and bumper. The Euro 6 motors will help reduce NOx emissions by as much as 80% and improve fuel economy to 68.9mpg with a resulting CO2 value of 108g/km.
Isuzu Trucks Going Heavyweight
The big news on the Isuzu Truck stand was not just the introduction of a new 12-tonner, but also the announcement that the company will, once more, head further up the weight range.
With an impressive market share of 20.6% of the 7.5 tonne market, other manufacturers should sit up and take notice of Isuzu Truck UK, now wholly owned by the Japanese manufacturer.
It’s tricky to see why Isuzu needs the 12 tonner, when it already markets an 11 tonner. The payload increases by just half a tonne, but the operator will benefit from a bigger 240HP engine, Easyshift and air suspension.
By the end of this year, Isuzu plan to have added a 14 tonner to the table, with 18 tonners ‘under study.’ The 18 tonners won’t be introduced into the UK until the Easyshift gearbox is available – this may, however, be as early as next year.
Isuzu MD, Pete Murphy, is now a year into the job and is buoyed by results: “We’ve had a fantastic start to 2015 after an intense 2014. We have changed processes inside the business and we have ambitious growth plans for this year. Our sales training programme has given us a platform to bring all salespeople up to a standard.”
Vauxhall Enjoys Further Fleet & Retail Success
It seems that Vauxhall have got the bit between their teeth this year, with sales growth ahead of the market across both fleet and retail sectors. Fleet sales are up in the first quarter by as much as 42% against a market up 26%, whilst sales to retail customers are up by 19% against a market growth of just 12%.
Corsavan is making the biggest impact on sales performance – up 64%, whilst Vivaro and Movano are up 34% and 28% respectively. These performances gives Vauxhall an 18.2% share of the retail market. This means an extra shift that was originally planned for August is going live at the Luton factory where the Vivaro is manufactured.
Vauxhall’s ‘One Invoice’ Live
Vauxhall claim to be the only manufacturer to carry out an OE ‘upfit’ for customer vehicles at the factory. Renaming the conversion range to ‘Factory’ and ‘Approved’, customers can be invoiced for the whole job by the supplying dealer – vehicle and conversion. This ‘One Invoice’ approach should help Vauxhall grow their business further. The company already works with forty converters and this is set to grow.
Dawson Rentals – Now Manufacture Buildings
In an unlikely move, vehicle rental business, Dawson Rentals has moved into the manufacture of modular buildings, designed to operate as van workshops or body shops, and assembled quickly on site. The company is hoping that, since trying to set up smart repair facilities in a mechanical workshop can lead to difficulties, thanks to HSE guidelines and the materials used for repairs, there will be a demand for the concept.
The rental business has been finding it increasingly difficult of late to manage repair quality and control downtime. With the increasing size of the commercial vehicle parc, existing facilities industry-wide are struggling to cope with work.
Dawson Rentals Vans MD, Gareth Jones told us, that the group owns a modular division that supplies temperature controlled and high-tech buildings for the pharmaceutical industry. The move to the modular body shops therefore makes sense.
The first Dawsonrentals van sites to receive the installations will be at Milton Keynes and Skelmersdale with its other UK rental sites following soon afterward.
The ‘bodyshop in a box’, is designed to handle non-structural body repairs that do not require chassis straightening or replacement of structural elements. Replacement and painting of bolt on parts can be accommodated. This includes; scratches, light dents, alloy wheel refurbishment, cracked or chipped glass repair and interior repairs. The centres can also handle light services such as oil changes, routine maintenance and PDIs. Dawsonrentals is also working on other modules that will deal with tyres and windscreens and vehicle servicing.
The buildings can be purchased outright, but Dawsonrentals also offer in-house finance or they can be rented over a minimum five year period.
The building arrives in two pieces on a lorry – the show example taking just one weekend to assemble. Guideline costs are in the region of £1,500 to £1,800 per month, fully kitted out and the company is quoting a leadtime of around six weeks.
Sinotruck’s Show Debut For Chinese Truck Makers
The company behind the UK and Ireland’s Hino network has been busy whilst waiting for Euro 6 Hino products to materialise and gone to the Chinese for some products to sell. Ireland-based Harris Assemblers have been importing Hino kits and assembling them in Ireland for many years, so have plenty of experience of managing this type of operation and have a nationwide network of Hino dealers ready to take up the challenge of marketing a Chinese Built truck alongside the Japanese Hino.
Harris Vice President, Liam O’Neill explained that Harris went looking for a heavy truck manufacturer and were most impressed with Sinotruk and their ‘can do’ attitude.
Originally involved in a partnership with Volvo, Sinotruk are, more recently, involved with MAN for technological input. Manufacturing some 350,000 trucks a year, Sinotruk are no stranger to exporting, as some 170,000 of these are sold outside of China.
The technology hasn’t stretched as far as Euro 6, however, with Harris bringing in Euro 5 trucks under Small Series Type Approval – which allows 250 trucks for the UK market and 250 for Ireland per year. The Chinese-built 10-litre 380 hp Euro 5 engine is coupled to a 9-speed manual ZF transmission and Harris are hoping that by June 2016 the Euro 6 13-litre engine will be ready.
The 8×4 A7 will be on the market from June this year, either as a chassis cab or ready bodied mixer, as was on show. O’Neill was keen to point out that Harris are now the “only heavy duty truck assembler in Eire and the UK.” Plans are afoot to extend the range to 6×2, 6×4 and 4×2 rigids also, with the potential for a 3.5 tonner and a 6×2 tractor unit.
May will be spent getting the spare parts inventory established – Harris are confident this programme will go ahead – the question is are the UK and Irish operators willing to try the 10,240 kg truck?
Don-Bur’s Aeris ‘Launch’
When you see the new Aeris aerodynamic system from Don-Bur, it makes perfect sense. The gap between a tractor unit and trailer is notorious for adding to drag, but the space is needed both for manoeuvring and by the Road Vehicles (C&U) Regulations.
In having a system that extends from the front of the trailer at speed and then retracts for easier manoeuvring at lower speeds, the company appear to have invented the holy grail.
The only problem is will they be allowed to market the system? At this stage no one has actually come out to say that they can’t, but neither has it received a stamp of approval from the VCA. Whether this will prevent Don-Bur from selling some and some canny operators trying them remains to be seen.
Motorsport company Wirth Research, is the newest entrant to the truck aerodynamics marketplace with their WR AeroKit that has been designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and tested at Millbrook. The company claims that improvements in fuel consumption of more than 30% can be gained compared to a standard truck with no aerodynamic kit. More impressive is the claimed 10% improvement over the best system currently in the marketplace.
More than 500,000 miles of testing of the WR AeroKit was conducted on a trial fleet of Eddie Stobart tractor units and trailers during the course of 2014.
Iveco Show Their Vision
First shown at the IAA show in Hanover last September, Iveco’s ‘Vision’ dominated the Iveco stand. Not simply a design study, the Italians have attempted to address a number of operational problems with innovative solutions. For example, air bags inflate inside the load area to hold the cargo in place, speeding up the securing of loads. A diesel electric hybrid, the van also has solar panels on the roof and can change tyre pressures depending on the load carried. Very Knight Rider.
Dacia Duster Commercial
Appealing to many farmers out there, Renault’s Dacia brand launched the commercial vehicle version of the Duster at the show. Manufactured in Romania, customers can order the vans immediately for delivery by the end of June this year.
Available as two-wheel and four-wheel drive, Dacia Brand Manager Andy Heiron believes that they will sell in hundreds, rather than thousands – the brand sells up to 7,000 of the car version of the Duster each year in the UK.
A payload of 550kg makes the loadspace useable and power comes from a 1.5-litre, 107bhp dCi 110 diesel engine. There will, however, be a choice of two equipment packages will be available, each with the option of two- or four-wheel drive. Prices start at £12,545+VAT.
Transit Celebrates 50th Anniversary At CV Show
Ford’s Transit van was celebrating its 50th anniversary at the CV Show. Since the first example left the production line in Langley, England in 1965, almost eight million Transit and Transit Custom models have been built, growing from a single model to an entire family of Transit vans.
If all the Transits sold in the last 50 years were lined up end-to-end they would circle the globe, with a new model bought every 180 seconds during its lifetime. The latest expanded Transit line-up features four new models – Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier.
Sales of Ford commercial vehicles were at an all-time high in March, up 43% at 16,497 units year-on-year.
Tevva Motors showed off their new 7.5 tonne range extender truck, based on a Chinese-built JAC chassis-cab.
Project Manager, Richard Lidstone-Scott commented: “Reaction to Tevva at a show aimed at the traditional vehicle market was fantastic with positive response from everyone. We have repeatedly been asked for the launch date and when will the vehicles be available for purchase.”
Fully charged overnight, the truck has a 130 kilometre range on battery power alone. The Tevva can then extend this by firing up its 1.6 litre Ford diesel engine to charge the batteries whilst under way. Using the company’s ‘Predictive Range Extender Management System’ (PREMS), the truck decides when on route it is best to charge the batteries. This calculation is based on the distance to be covered, the elevation and the type of roads to be encountered. In theory, the effective range is dependent upon the size of the diesel tank to be fitted to the truck.
As a chassis cab, the truck costs around £45,000 (plus a battery lease), but could payback within a reasonable timescale – although with electric vehicles it is not all about the immediate payback. A payload of around two tonnes will not suit all operations, but the technology appears to have taken a step forward and will be interesting to see the results of live trials.