Thanks to the good folk at the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Tachoblog can bring you a roundup of Commercial Vehicle news for this week…

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Big drop in van and truck demand through 2009.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on Thursday 7 January show last year’s van and truck registrations down 36.2% to 221,132.  The figure for December was down 20.6% to 16,131.  Over the year, vans dropped 35.6% to 186,386 but were down 14.3% in December.  Trucks were down 39.5% to 34,746 for the year and down 46.9% in December.  “Van demand dropped sharply in 2009 though eased at the year-end.  Truck registrations dropped further and faster in the final months of the year,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  “Business demand and consumer confidence remains low and the effects of recession will be slow to clear in key parts of the commercial vehicle markets.  It is essential that government helps sustain economic recovery by encouraging capital investment and more affordable finance.

More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or rdickeson@smmt.co.uk

Click below for the rest of this week’s roundup…

Positive 2009 for big buses, but tougher in 2010

The latest data from the SMMT show that big bus registrations fell 26% through the three months to December 2009, compared to the same period the previous year.  The figures also show an end to the big drop in coach demand as registrations stabilised above 650 units.  “Recent months saw a big drop in big bus registrations, after a very positive growth trend earlier in 2009.  The sector wasn’t expected to escape the recession that swept across all other vehicle sectors and despite strong demand in 2009, the outlook for 2010 is not encouraging.  2010 will be a tough year,” said Paul Everitt SMMT chief executive.  “Demand for coaches has stabilised, but recent growth is from a very, very low base and far from secure.  It is essential that government helps sustain economic recovery by encouraging capital investment and affordable finance.”

More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or rdickeson@smmt.co.uk

Another free SMMT webinar

This one, next in a successful series, will discus the vehicle production outlook and economic forecast for 2010.  It will be on Friday 22 January, between 10:30 and 11:00.  Vehicle production for 2009 was down by over 37% and key economic indicators point to a weak, slow and disjointed recovery.  Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, Robert Baker and Ian Henry, director at AutoAnalysis will discuss the problems and opportunities for 2010.  These include the latest economic forecast, likely production volumes and the potential effects on suppliers.  The session will last 30 minutes, followed by a Q and A session.  “You can take part from the comfort of you own office,” said Jamie Harris at the SMMT.  “Just email me and I’ll send you the joining instructions.  And please feel free to invite colleagues.”

More from Jamie Harris on +44 (0)2 073 441 661 or jharris@smmt.co.uk

New UPS hybrid trucks cut fuel by 29%

The Eaton Corporation says the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has collected and analysed data from UPS’s first generation hybrid diesel delivery vans.  These are powered by an Eaton electric hybrid propulsion system and NREL found a 28.9% fuel saving.  The 12-month test involved six hybrid vans and showed a 15% cut in the cost per mile, “while maintaining similar reliability and operational performance as compared to conventional vehicles.”  The vans do normal delivery work.  The hybrid system uses an Eaton automated transmission with an integrated motor/generator and advanced lithium ion batteries.  Both the Freightliner-built hybrid and conventional models use Mercedes MBE 904 four-cylinder diesels.  UPS recently ordered another 200 more Eaton hybrid electric powered vans.

More from Don Alles on +1(0) 616 342 3311 or donalles@eaton.com

40,000 more trucks and trailers may need annual tests

40,000 more trucks and trailers may need mandatory annual roadworthiness tests in Britain if a proposal from the UK Department for Transport gets the go-ahead, reports the January issue of Commercial Vehicle Engineer.   This may follow a consultation with the DfT aiming to end to the exemptions that apply to many truck-based vehicles such as breakdown trucks, tower-wagons and mobile cranes.  Also the firing line for the first time are abnormal-load trucks and trailers run solely under the Road Vehicles (Authorisation of Special Types) Order 2003.  “For example, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency data show 14,300 breakdown vehicles alone registered on UK roads,” says Tim Blakemore, managing editor.  “You’ll find the consultation on the DfT website and it closes on 19 March, don’t miss it if you want to have your say.”

More from Tim Blakemore on +44 (0)1 428 605 605 or timb@aztecxpress.com

30 more trailers for Wrings

Bristol-based haulier Wrings Transport Ltd has put 20 of Schmitz Cargobull’s recently launched S.CS Freepost curtainsiders into its fleet.  It also ordered 10 used and refurbished trailers from Schmitz.  The trailers will work on a new three-year contract to deliver cardboard packaging across the UK for DS Smith Packaging Ltd.  An internal height of 2.85 metres means the new trailers can take double-stacked palletised loads, while the 4.4m external height meets the height restrictions at some of Wrings’ clients.  The family firm’s 92-strong fleet includes 18 tractor units, 28 rigids and 46 trailers.

More from Lloyd Arkil on +44 (0)1 923 777 897 or lloyd@am-pr.net

Good trucking pix

Jason Frost says his website www.truckingimages.com is proving increasingly popular.  He has over 10,000 pictures available, all that he’s taken himself in the UK and Ireland.  His customers include collectors and people from haulage firms, all enthusiasts and keen to buy trucking pictures.

More from Jason Frost on +44(0)7 817 848 032 or scaniajase@yahoo.co.uk

Buyers shun high-mileage vans

Most retail buyers focus on mileage when selecting used vans, according to George Alexander, editor of Glass’s Guide to Commercial Vehicle Values.  High mileage vans, even in good condition, tend to be distress sales. “What the odometer says about a van or truck’s past is crucial in the sales equation,” said Alexander.  Popular vans with less than 40,000 miles on the clock are good news.  Between 50,000 and 75,000 and even a little more means a good chance of a profitable sale for nice, clean stock.  But at 100,000 miles, “customer resistance sets in” and only the best will turn a reasonable profit for the trade.  “Most dealers simply don’t want the hassle of high mileage vans.”

More from Kate Hudson on +44 (0)1 622 766 528 or kate.hudson@pfpr.com

90% carbon cut from Optare pure plant oil option

Courtney Coaches of Bracknell is taking two Optare Tempo 47 seat buses to run on pure plant oil, using technology developed by Regenatec.  These are the first 12 metre buses from Optare to run on this fuel, although Courtney have taken a number of Solos running on pure plant oil.  “In-service experience shows that the fuel can cut carbon emissions by 70%-90%, much more than the government’s 30% target for ‘green’ buses,” says Optare.  The low weight of the Tempo and Solo models can also deliver further fuel savings.  The pure plant oil fuel option is available from Optare both on new vehicles and as an upgrade to existing buses.  Upgrades will be done at the firm’s new Low Carbon Conversion Centre at Blackburn.

More from David Rowlands on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or drowlands@automotivepr.com

Anti mis-fuelling device gets Thatcham OK

Diesel Key, a new anti mis-fuelling device for diesels has won an approval from Thatcham, the insurance industry repair research centre.  “This accreditation demonstrates the Diesel Key meets all quality and motor industry standards, giving customers the assurance of quality and safety,” said Matthew Burke of Aide automotive.  He says this is the only anti mis-fuelling device to win such accreditation.  “Insurers have seen a dramatic increase in claims for mis-fuelling in the last few years and are looking to solve the problem and cut claims.  The Diesel Key replaces the existing filler cap and, once fitted, prevents you from putting the wrong fuel into a diesel tank,” says Burke.

More from Matthew Burke on +44 (0)1 15 845 6471 or matt@aideautomotive.com

Daf cuts fuel costs for tanker firm

Cheshire operator Arclid Transport cut around half a tonne from the unladen weight of an artic bulk tanker.  This meant the firm can use a donkey engine, running on red diesel, to discharge the tank.  This saves cash and avoids running of the truck’s engine to drive a conventional PTO.  The firm’s two Daf FTPs cut weight with 17.5 inch wheels on the lift axle rather than the normal 22.5 inch wheels on this type of 6×2 tractor.  The trucks will do some 110,000km a year across the UK and as Arclid now has an international operating licence, the trucks will run to the continent as work arises.

More from David Rowlands on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or drowlands@automotivepr.com

Multipart deal helps power the world

In a deal worth over £8m a year, Multipart Supply Chain Solutions of Chorley, Lancashire has won an aftermarket parts support contract for users of Brush power generation equipment.  The firm will stock and send 3,700 parts lines a year to over 1,200 Brush users around the world.  Brush is the world’s largest independent turbo generator maker, supplying high voltage generators, motors and power management systems to customers in the industrial, oil and gas, and marine power generation markets.  This is the first new contract win for Multipart since it was bought last year by the Indian TVS Group.  The firm will use Multipart as a base from which to grow its share of the European logistics market.

More from David Rowlands on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or drowlands@automotivepr.com

Are you up for a challenge?

Transport charity Transaid is looking for people to join its Transaid Africa Challenge Series 2010/11.  Do you fancy taking on the challenge of cycling over 420k in the Transaid Cycle Tanzania?  Or how about trekking across Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains in the Transaid Trek Ethiopia?  “Join either and you can experience the real Africa first hand and raise funds for Transaid’s vital work to improve transport across Africa,” says Transaid’s April McGhee.

More from April McGhee on +44 (0)2 073 878 136 or april@transaid.org

Wider light trailers on the cards

On 29 December 2009 the UK Department for Transport published a consultation on its plans to change the Construction and Use regulations to allow the use of wider trailers behind cars and vans of less than 3.5 tonnes.  The DfT says “This proposal is a de-regulatory measure, to remove the restriction on the width of trailers.”  You’ll find the details on the Open Consultations page on the DfT website.  If you’ve views that you’d like the DfT to know about, you’ve till Tuesday 16 February.

More from www.dft.gov.uk

High visibility finance

Nationwide Business Finance is offering free “high visibility” vests with all finance deals signed this month.  “We believe that the safety of every vehicle driver is important,” says the firm’s Nik Cooper.  “Also any new vehicle looks better with its driver in a clean, new Hi-Vis vest to help promote the image of its owners.”  Cooper says the offer is available on all the firm’s finance and contract hire deals through January 2010.  “Hopefully we can help raise the importance of safety within the transport industry too”.

More from Nik Cooper on +44 (0)1 246 410 505 or nik@nationwidebusinessfinance.co.uk

Trailer diagnostic tester gets thumbs up

Aide automotive has a new trailer electrical tester and diagnostic code reader.  “TrailerCheck II is a cost effective test unit to quickly check the electrical integrity of lighting circuits, the ABS Warning light and ISO Can lines,” says the firm’s Matt Burke.  “It’s hand-held remote control has an ABS code reader for commercial trailers.”  Trevor Smith of SET Vehicle Solutions said that he put his TrailerCheck II straight to work.  “In the last 10 days it has helped save me time and space as well as earning its keep.  It is simple to use and is already a valuable asset to my company as I can now read fault codes and repair the problems quickly and easy”.

More from Matthew Burke on +44 (0)1 158 456 471 or matt@aideautomotive.com

New editor for Cold Chain News

Cold Chain News has a new editor; Dean Stiles.  He says the paper is gearing up for wider coverage of the industry, particularly at operator level.  “I’m looking forward to renewing contacts among operators and suppliers over the coming months as the temperature controlled transport sector returns to growth,” says Stiles.  “Reader feedback has been extremely positive in the past year and we have a lively programme of features and operator comments planned for the next issue, out on 25 March.”

More from Dean Stiles on +44 (0)1 304 228 196 or dean.stiles@coldchainnews.com

Hydrogen vehicles break new ground

Revolve is working the Department of Transport and others to help develop regulations to cope with the use of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel.  The firm is one of Europe’s leading advanced design and engineering firms and says its pioneering hydrogen vehicle programme is pushing technical and legal barriers.  It has modified three Ford Transit vans to run on hydrogen, two for trial work with the Post Office soon.  Revolve says the most difficult part has been working in an area where there is no relevant law.  Hydrogen power for road vehicles is so new that existing legislation fails to cover it or even blocks the use of new fuels.

More from Martin Hayes on +44 (0) 2 074 948 050 or mhayes@automotivepr.com

Bid and deliver

Launched two weeks ago, www.bidanddeliver.com aims to put people who need transport in touch with those who can deliver.  Scott Weston, one of the founders says “we’ve already signed up 400 users and have had great feedback in those two weeks.”  The site is in two parts; “I need transport” and “I have transport.”  People who need goods delivered can list their items under “I need transport” for free, and the transport firms or a “man with a van” can bid for the delivery job.  “We expect the main traffic to be from items bought and sold on E-Bay which may need the shipper to hire a van or pay high transport costs.”

More from Scott Weston on +44 (0)7 976 283 863 or bidanddeliverlimited@googlemail.com

Continental saves 100Kg per tipper

Independent tyre tests have show that Continental tyres can save between 80 to 100kg when used all round on a typical 8×4 tipper.  The test work, done Entyrety, the fleet tyre service firm on behalf of Continental, is independent.  The organisation says its “sole objective” is to identify high costs from poor tyre management.  “Without exception Continental’s tyres proved to be either of equal or less weight than its competitors across the entire range.”  The tests showed between 8 and 10kg a tyre weight saving on construction applications and between 5 and 9kg a tyre across distribution and long haul applications.

More from Belle Moss on +44 (0) 2 074 948 050 or bmoss@automotivepr.com

More Citroën vans get Trafficmaster smartnav for 2010

Citroën says that from 1 January 2010, every Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay panel van comes fitted with the Citroën Trafficmaster Smartnav/Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking package.  “No other light commercial vehicle manufacturer has shown such a clear and unequivocal commitment” to helping customers improve efficiency and safety according to Charles Peugeot, head of commercial vehicles and business sector sales.  The deal also gives Citroën’s LCV customers to specify Fleet Director at a new subsidised rate of just £19.99 + VAT a month.  This real-time fleet management system uses Smartnav telematics to help fleet managers meet their Duty of Care responsibilities.

More from Phil Reed on +44 (0)2 086 684 048 or leadingpr@aol.com

First Iveco Daily 4×4 working for the NHS

The NHS in Fife is the first UK operator in the UK to get a new Iveco Daily 4×4.  It has gone to work clearing snow from access roads and car parks across five NHS sites in Fife, using a snow plough attachment by J.A. Cuthbertson..  Its dropside body is also has a SnowEx 7500 grit spreader.  The truck will help grass cutting and hedge trimming on NHS sites and will also tow a mobile shredder to deal with felled trees and branches in warmer weather.  North East Truck & Van did the six-year deal via Automotive Leasing.  Local Iveco dealer AM Phillip will keep the truck running.

More from James Keeler on +44 (0)2 086 474 467 or jk@garnett-keeler.com

Hall of Shame Awards

Caravanners, OAPs, BMW drivers, cyclists or farmers – are any of these the worst group of road users in the UK?  This is one of five questions that Truck & Driver wants answers to.  The others are:  Where is the UK’s most unpleasant toilet?  Where is the filthiest shower?  What is the UK’s worst stretch of road?  And where is the most disgusting lay-by?  “Truckers spend their lives on the road, so nobody is better qualified to answer these questions,” says Will Shiers, editor at T&D.  “And when we get the answers we’ll have great pleasure in naming and shaming the worst culprits.”  You’ll find an entry form in February’s T&D, in the shops now.

More from Will Shiers on +44 (0)2 086 523 721 or will.shiers@rbi.co.uk

Citroën Berlingo first upgraded for 2010

Citroën says it Berlingo First 1.6HDi 600kg panel van starts 2010 with a “significant” specification boost.  “This already well equipped van is now fitted with a ‘Plus Pack’ as standard.”  This adds high-frequency remote control central locking, a near-side sliding side load door, electric front windows and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors as part of the standard kit.  And from 1 January the basic price is £11,335.

More from Phil Reed on +44 (0)2 086 684 048 or leadingpr@aol.com

Sorry we’re late

I’m sorry that this edition of Transport News Brief is so late.  I wish, like some magazines I could blame the snow that has snarled up much of the UK.  But I can’t; a computer glitch defied all efforts until one of our friends from Constant Contact suggested a fix that I’m pleased to say has worked.

Robin Dickeson, editor

And finally

New Scientist magazine’s Feedback column says that when reader Jacqui Stanley bought a Transcend USB Flash Drive 16GB, she was pleased to discover that Transcend has announced “the extension of its renowned Lifetime Warranty.”

More from www.newscientist.com