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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Changes coming to curtains
Speaking to the SMMT’s Commercial Vehicle Bodybuilders committee recently, Allan McKenzie, senior manager, vehicle legislation said that the UK’s Health and Safety Executive aims to cut the risk of loads falling from vehicles.  There is a particular worry about offloading from curtain-sided bodywork.  “The HSE is unhappy that curtains are used as a substitute for a load restraint system and we understand it is taking enforcement action,” said McKenzie.  “Loads need to be secured as if they were being carried on a flatbed truck.  No curtains, not even those rated as ‘XL’ according to EN 12642, are strong enough for use as load-restraints.”  The rules say that curtains MUST NOT be considered part of the load restraint system.  “For trailer makers and bodybuilders this means that they need to consider offering a separate and suitable load securing system or lashing points”.
More from Allan McKenzie on +44 (0)2 073 449 202 or

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Bodybuilding materials wanted
The SMMT’s recent and successful trip to the Dubai commercial vehicle show bought back serious enquiries for UK sourced van and light truck bodybuilding materials, both new and used.  “Local firms in the area are building several hundred bodies and conversions a year and they’re looking for help,” said David Croxson, head of the SMMT’s International Department.  Typically the range includes maintenance vehicles, mobile workshops, utility vehicles, mobile banks, catering vehicles, refrigeration vehicles, mobile hospitals, clinics and ambulances.  “To help with these, firms want both general bodybuilding materials and specifics like trim, locks, hinges, battery isolation kits and finishing materials like polish, paints and abrasives.  There are some real opportunities there and we’d like to hear from firms keen to do business.”
More from David Croxson on +44 (0)2 073 449 230 or

Manheim reports rising used van prices
Manheim Remarketing’s latest monthly Market Analysis for Vans reports that at £4,013, average wholesale used van prices rose by 4.4% or £169 in January compared with the previous month. Average values have now increased in all but two of the last thirteen months.   Alex Wright, sales director, commercial vehicles for Manheim said: “The continued increase in wholesale values has certainly lasted longer than expected and is a clear indication of strong demand and a relative lack of supply especially of young, low mileage vans.”  Compared with February 2009 average wholesale used van prices are up by 49.5% or £1,329.  The average age is up two months to 54 months and average mileage is 3,771 miles higher at 73,896.
More from Andrew Andersz on +44 (0)1 865 343 100 or

Apple iPad offer from WashTec
Fleet washing specialist WashTec will be at the CV Operator Show in April, on stand 5435.  Michael Harris, MD, says the firm will use the show to promote its after-sales support as well as advanced technology.  “We can deploy 70 field engineers working 364 days a year to ensure that vehicle fleets always shine,” said Harris.  The firm also offers advice on relevant regulations, will show full-size pictures of its wide range of fleet washing kit and plans a VIP event on the stand for its many blue-chip customers.  Visitors to the stand could also win an Apple iPad tablet computer.
More from Dawn Frazer on +44 (0)7 968 878 008 or

First show for Maxilift
Next Hydraulics and Ernest Doe and Sons will use the CV Operator Show to promote its range of Maxilift cranes.  “These offer excellent lift capacity to weight ratios,” said the firm’s Tony Houlding.  “With models from 0.5 to 3.5 ton/metre, these are ideally suited for light commercial vehicle applications and prove popular with utilities and local authorities.”  He says the CV Operator Show looks a good opportunity, “so for the first time, we thought we’d give it a go.”
More from Tony Houlding on +44 (0)1 206 871 881 or

New working hours and mileage records from TomTom
TomTom Work has two new, cheap, simple and practical devices to help businesses with time management and mileage recording.  The Remote Link Working Time device lets firms track the hours of its people working away from the office and improves productivity by cutting the need for manual timesheets.  Separately the Remote Link Logbook records the mileage for a company vehicle, whether it be work-related or personal use.  “Simply by clicking a button at the start of each journey, you can register it as a commute, a personal trip or a work-related journey; once again, this cuts the need for paperwork.
More from Jason Simms on +44 (0) 20 7494 8050 or

IRTE awards
The Institute of Road Transport Engineers plans an awards ceremony on its stand 5750 at the CV Operator Show at 17:00 on Tuesday 13 April.  The aim is to “recognise the achievements” of fourteen technicians who recently passed the Irtec Licence test.  This is a recognised van, truck, bus and trailer maintenance qualification, increasingly widely used in the industry.  The awards will recognise a winner and runner up from each of the Irtec Assessment Centres nationwide and one overall winner.  Halfords has sponsored a wide range of prizes.
More from David Jones on +44 (0)2 076 301 111 or

Peter Hayden joins Bosal UK
Bosal UK says Peter Hayden will be its sales and marketing director from Tuesday 6 April.  He joins the exhaust, catalytic converter and towbar maker from Valeo.  His 25 years in the automotive aftermarket included a spell at Quinton Hazell.
More from David Rowlands on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or

CV success in Dubai
The SMMT led a small group of members to the recent Dubai commercial vehicle show and bought back “a good crop of leads from some very interesting businesses in the area.”  David Croxson, head of the SMMT’s International Department said the event proved “very worthwhile” for the UK visitors.  Lewis Brown of Hartridge said “the quality of people coming to our stand was excellent and the organisation at the exhibition and venue cannot be faulted”.  Stephen Geffen of Roadlink said the contacts his firm made should provide some good opportunities.  “The support from SMMT in securing a grant was most helpful too.”  All UK exhibitors got a £1400 UK government grant to exhibit at the show.  Croxson’s team will take more UK firms to Automechanika Middle East in Dubai, in late May.  “There is more government cash available for that event too,” he said.
More from David Croxson on +44 (0)2 073 449 230 or

New Daily AGile automatics for Fairfax Meadow
London-based catering butcher Fairfax Meadow has replaced its first 15 Iveco Daily AGiles with 15 new Dailys fitted with six-speed automatic AGile transmissions.  These are some of the first new model Dailys to go to work since the launch of the revised range in January.  All 15 new vans are on a four-year contract hire deal with Fraikin and join a 35-strong Daily fleet.  Fairfax Meadow based the replacement decision on the four-year performance of the first vans.  These did 200,000 miles each on London roads where the average speed is 8 mph.  Minimal downtime and no need to replace any gear boxes “speaks volumes,” said Mike Reid, group national transport manager.
More from James Keeler on +44 (0)2 086 474 467 or

More CV exhausts and deals on the net
Excalibre Technologies Ltd says it new ETL Automotive website at has the largest range of UK commercial vehicle exhaust parts online.  Deals include free next day delivery in most cases.  Excalibre is well known for emission reduction products and services including DPF cleaning and European catalyst supply.  “The CV aftermarket deserves the same value and choice that the car market currently enjoys” said Karl Grimston, director.  “We wanted to differentiate the standard CV parts from the emission-related side of the business and so ETL Automotive was born”.    Customers can get an extra 10% off until 31 March with discount code SMMT03101.
More from Karl Grimston on +44 (0)8 455 194 624 or

Logistics academy website launched
Skills for Logistics has launched a new website for people working in the logistics industry.  At it aims to help people find advice and services.  The Logistics Academy says it has a national network of logistics training firms that offer complete and specialised services for the sector.  It delivers its services through a one-stop-shop hub and spoke operation, accessible by phone on +44 (0)8 448 920 557 or via the website.
More from Rachael Taylor on +44 (0)1 908 313 360 or

Prop shafts online
GKN says its new on-line parts catalogue at details a “significantly expanded” range of replacement prop shafts for light utility vehicles, SUVs and vans.  These cover nearly 70 vehicle brands and over 200 vehicle models, including the Mercedes Sprinter, Volkswagen LT or Nissan Cabstar and many others.  There are also units for 4x4s, pickups and light utility vehicles.
More from Maria Dörpinghaus on +49 (0) 2 205 806 442 or

£270m loan to GM Europe
The UK Government will loan GM Europe £270m via the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Automotive Assistance Programme.  The cash will help secure Vauxhall’s manufacturing operations in the UK and Opel operations in the rest of Europe.  The loan is the first under the AAP.  The second has gone to Ford.
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Scania drives industry change
Scania says it is driving change in the UK truck maintenance industry with its “unique and competitively priced” Fixed Price Repairs programme.  The firm says this is already established as an attractive option with the UK’s transport operators, delivered through the firm’s 90-strong service centre network.  Replacement brake discs and pads, clutches, lights, starter motors and radiators prove particularly popular.  “Customers today need to know the costs of repairs in advance,” says James Armstrong, aftersales director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited, as the firm launches a publicity campaign for the scheme.  “With prices quoted and guaranteed up front, our Fixed Price Repairs programme breaks the industry mould.”
More from Phil Sampson on +44 (0)7 885 152 132 or

Innovation award for EcoFridge and Frappa
EcoFridge and Frappa Trailers’ FT Silent Green won an innovation award at this year’s Solutrans Exhibition in Lyon.  Chosen from 650 exhibitors, the FT Silent Green system is a combination of the EcoFridge cryogenic refrigeration technology with a Frappa Trailer and is a first for the French market.  The firm says that the system could revolutionise refrigerated transport.  It recently won Cemafroid Piek Certification for silent running and low carbon emissions.
More from Jude Ball on +44 (0)1 326 560 403 or

BAE delivers first hybrid bus propulsion system
BAE Systems has delivered the first of the hybrid electric systems that will power 56 Alexander Dennis 400 double-decker buses in Oxford and Manchester.  Stagecoach Group will get its Oxford buses first, followed by those for Manchester in the summer of 2010.  The diesel-electric BAE Systems HybriDrive system for Oxford and Manchester’s buses will cut fuel use and CO2 emissions by up to 30%, compared to conventional buses.  These are the first of up to 300 hybrid powered buses due across the UK with subsidies from the Department of Transport’s £30m Green Bus Fund.  BAE Systems’ HybriDrives power more than 2,500 buses in cities across the UK and North America.
More from Ancia Barham on +44 (0)7 540 628 923 or

Fourth Volvo for O’Connor
O’Connor Coach Hire of Bandon, Co Cork, has taken delivery of a new Volvo B9R coach with 51 seat Sunsundegui bodywork.  The new vehicle joins the firm’s 12 strong fleet and is its fourth Volvo in four years.  O’Connor concentrates on private hire work, student travel and tour groups.
More from Don Johnston on +44 (0)1 926 414 553 or

Brooks is new chairman at Skills for Logistics
Skills for Logistics says it has appointed Paul Brooks, sales director at Unipart Logistics as its new chairman.  Brooks succeeds Andrew Callaghan who did the job from July 2003.  David Morton from Menzies Distribution Ltd is now vice-chairman.
More from Rachael Taylor on +44 (0)1 908 313 360

Whale and Daf branded the best of British
SP Holding of Telford, Shropshire is so proud of its latest all-British built truck that it is recommending other UK firms to buy British too.  The firm just got a Whale 1,200 gallon vacuum tanker based on a Leyland-assembled Daf LF 45.  This is the first time the firm, a rapidly expanding drainage services, truck and plant hire and events specialist has specified a Daf chassis with a Whale tanker.  Supplied by Daf dealer, Greenhous Commercials of Shrewsbury, the chassis cab has a Union Jack as part of the vehicle’s livery, together with the wording “Assembled in Britain”.
More from Paul Watson on +44 (0)1 619 736 763 or

Award for emergency logistics specialist
Emergency logistics firm provider Evolution Time Critical has won an award from market research firm Frost & Sullivan for its “market leading expertise”.  The snappily named Frost & Sullivan 2010 European Logistics Vertical Market Penetration Leadership Award recognises Evolution’s market leading position in the provision of emergency logistics.  The award is based on Frost & Sullivan’s research into best practice among 250,000 companies in over 300 different industries worldwide.
More from Katharine Earley on +44 (0)1 295 277 050 or

New technology detects dozy drivers
Arbel Global Agencies Ltd says it has a new non-invasive and vehicle-mounted technology that identifies a dozy driver, either tired or under the influence of drink or drugs.  The firm says the wide-ranging sensors include an infra red laser and camera.  These continuously and non-invasively monitor eye movements, pupil size and heart rate.  Arbel believes many vehicle makers and operators are looking for systems to analyse driver behaviour, while governments and others are looking for substance-specific detection systems that can be fitted to vehicles.  The firm’s Hillel Arbel says data from the system could be used to bring wide-ranging improvements to road safety.
More from Hillel Arbel on + 972 (0)3 549 3617 or

New Volvo FM
Volvo has launched a new version of its FM truck.  The firm says so much is already built into the Volvo FM that the improvements are more a matter of fine-tuning, based on customer feedback.  The most obvious changes are cosmetic, including a new grille and headlights.  Volvo says these complement recent engine and transmission changes that deliver more power, torque and lower fuel use and consequently lower emissions.
More from Per Nilsson on  +46 (0)31 323 33 49 or

Containerships gives Ferrymasters the Italian job
Containerships Ltd Oy of Finland says it has appointed P&O Ferrymasters as its sales and booking agent for Italian business going via the port of Rotterdam.  The deal helps link northern Italy via Rotterdam with Helsinki, St Petersburg and the Baltic states using container rail shuttles.
More from Gail Isted on +44 (0)7 792 451 284 or

Aberdeen haulage operator’s licence suspended
Joan Aitken, the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has suspended the licence of an Aberdeen-based haulage operator for 10 days from 23:59 on 31 March.  This follows a wheel coming off one of W & H Leslie (Aberdeen) Ltd’s vehicles on the A90, near Finavon, Forfar, Angus.  Aitken called the firm to a Public Inquiry and Driver Conduct Hearings in Aberdeen on 12 February, 2010 and heard evidence from a Vosa vehicle examiner that last August one of the firm’s trucks shed a wheel while carrying 23 tonnes of timber from Elgin to England on the southbound A90.  The wheel crossed the central reservation and the northbound carriageway before coming to rest 50 metres into a field.
More from Katy Jeffrey on +44 (0)1 312 449 062 or

Timber haulier grows its fleet with Renault.
Specialist timber haulier Les Hughes & Son Ltd, just got a new 6×4 Renault Lander rigid drawbar rig.  The deal, through Renault Trucks Midlands follows a year’s successful work with a 6×4 Renault Lander tractor unit bought last year.  Hughes also plans to take another Renault Lander rigid and drawbar soon.  Renault says this is an important conquest deal as Hughes now aims to standardise its fleet on one make.  The firm works from a base in Newtown, Wales, carrying timber across the country and into the English borders.
More from Penny Randall on +44 (0)1 582 479 619 or

And finally
New Scientist’s Feedback page reports that one of its readers, David Lloyd saw a central London recruitment agency poster announcing: “7.5 tonne delivery drivers wanted”.  Lloyd hopes this is not a result of a lifetime at the wheel.
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