It’s been a while, but once again 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…

Mercedes confirms for CV Show 2011

Mercedes-Benz says it is leading the industry with the announcement that it plans to exhibit at the Commercial Vehicle Show due next year.  All the firm’s divisions will be represented; Mercedes-Benz Vans, Trucks, Approved Used Commercials, Econic, Unimog and Mitsubishi Fuso Canter will be at Birmingham’s NEC from 12-14 April 2011.  The firm confirmed its plan as part of a wider publicity announcement that also promised “the biggest ever stand” at Truckfest Peterborough in a few days time and a “Van Experience” in June to give customers a chance to ride and drive.  “If the CV Show returns in 2011, so will we, and we plan to return to the NEC with a full range of products and services,” said Ian Jones, UK managing director for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles.

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CV registrations rise across EU

Figures just released by Acea, the European auto industry body, show 8.8% more new commercial vehicles registered in the EU last March than in the same month in 2009.  This is the first registration increase in almost two years.  Vans were up 12.4% to 160,980 units while heavy trucks, over 16 tonnes, were down 15.9% to 14,087 units.  For all freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, ie excluding buses and coaches, the total was 22,040 units, down 10.1%.  New bus and coach registrations fell 3.4% to 3,449 in March.  Of the most important markets, the UK recorded both the most vehicles and the highest year-on-year increase, at 28.0%.  Full story at

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Renault success

Renault says it was delighted by the success of its stand and three UK van debuts at the recent Commercial Vehicle Operator Show.  Speaking on the final day of the show, Mark Waller, brand communications manager for Renault UK said: “Even though this year’s event was on a smaller scale than usual due to the economic downturn, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the volume and consistently high quality of the customer enquiries we’ve received over the three days.  The new Kangoo Van Maxi and Master models have obviously been good draws to our stand and overall we’re expecting interest in all the new models to be high in the coming months after the show.”

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UK’s first 17-seat electric minibus

Smith has put the UK’s first 17 seat, all-electric minibus into production.  Based on the Ford Transit chassis, the Smith Edison minibus has a top speed of 50mph and a range of up to 80 miles.  A full recharge takes 6-8 hours, or 3-4 hours with Smith’s new fast charging technology.  Designed for urban work, the Edison minibus is aimed at jobs like airport passenger transfer, tourist attractions, city trips and closed campus travel on large commercial, military, education and industrial sites.  Essex County Council has just bought the first vehicle.

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Toploader success for Trukrax

Trukrax Vehicle Racking Systems says the recent CV Operator show was a major success for it.  The firm used the show to launch its new Toploader ladder loading system.  This allows people to load and unload two sets of ladders on or off a high-roof van whilst standing on the ground at the side of the vehicle.  “The levels of interest in the new system far exceeded our expectations,” said Scott Finding.  “We had a very good show and have lots of good leads to follow up from lots of high quality visitors.”

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First electric vehicle-mounted access platform

At the CV Operator Show, Smith Electric Vehicles showed the UK’s first fully electric vehicle-mounted access platform.  Used widely by local authorities and utilities, these typically work locally, which is ideal for limited-range vehicles.  The 4.6 tonne van uses the Smith Edison long wheelbase electric chassis cab, with a lift mechanism from UK market leader Versalift.  Leading utility firm Scottish & Southern Energy has bought the first vehicle, for trials in its service and maintenance fleet.  Smith says the vehicle attracted a lot of valuable interest at the Show.

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CV Operator Show excels

The recent Commercial Vehicle Operator Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC from 13-15 April, was a success according to exhibitors, visitors and the organisers.  “The positive response from exhibitors has been overwhelming”, said Geoff Dunning, chief executive at the Road Haulage Association, representing the event’s owners, the CV Show Partnership.  “And with over 300 exhibitors, covering every aspect of the UK transport and logistics industry, there was certainly plenty for operators to see and consider for future use.”

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Strong profit growth for waste haulier

Fareham-based waste transport and disposal firm Cleansing Service Group, which operates one of the UK’s biggest waste haulage fleets, has made 60th place in the annual Sunday Times PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track listing.  This ranks the UK’s 100 private firms with the fastest growing profits.  Despite the economic downturn, CSG’s profits grew 56% between 2005 and 2008, with its last profit posting of £3.3m.  The firm is presently part way through a £12m fleet replacement programme with some 175 new vehicles, from CCTV-equipped vans to 6,000 gallon artic tankers, due over the next five years.

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Axtec report strong interest at CV Operator Show

Axle weighing specialist Axtec reports strong interest in its new On Board Load Indicator, launched at the CV Operator Show.  “We had an excellent show with some very good enquiries,” said Derek Hack, sales director.  “Operators are clearly looking for technological solutions that help them stay within the law and operate more safely, whilst offering the possibility of optimising the payload.  The CV Operator Show provided a great platform for us to demonstrate that our new OBLI 2 axle weighing system, which allows them to do exactly that.”

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Fluoride tanker for Anglian Water

Anglian Water has just got another Whale tanker.  Mounted on a 7.5 tonne Mercedes Atego, the 2,600 litre ADR-approved tank is designed and built to carry Fluorosilicic acid.  It will carry the chemical from bulk to local tanks as part of a programme to dose drinking water in parts of the 27,500 kM2 of England and Wales that Anglian serves.

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Multipart wins and Dennis Eagle parts deal

Logistics specialist Multipart has won another seven year parts distribution deal with Dennis Eagle, one of the UK’s leading dustcart makers.  This is a contract renewal and offers a next-day parts delivery service for operator’s vehicles across the UK, from Multipart’s distribution centre in Lancashire.  The firm first won the business in 2002.  Mike Molesworth, chief executive at Dennis Eagle said that Multipart had consistently delivered on its commitment to Dennis Eagle and its customers.  “Our products are high value capital assets and it’s essential to our customers that we provide fast and efficient parts support to keep their vehicles on the road and in tip-top condition.”

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New rugged tablet PC

In-CarPC says it was pleasantly surprised by the calibre of visitors at the recent CV Operator Show.  It used the event to launch a new Tablet PC, the T12-160.  This complements its range of built-in vehicle computers.  “The new PC provides a solution for people who need to continue using their computer outside the vehicle,” says the firm’s David Hitchings.  “A docking station makes this easy.”  The unit is “semi-rugged” with a 12.1 inch touch-sensitive and sunlight readable display.”  The hard drives have up to 640 GB capacity and options including integrated GPS, Bluetooth, 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi.  “We’ve a lot of good leads to follow up from a successful show.”

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First telemetry system for electric vehicles

Smith Electric Vehicles launched its own telematics system specifically engineered for electric commercial vehicles at the recent CV Operator Show 2010.  Smith Telemetry aims to simplify the fleet management of electric commercial vehicles and cut costs.  It collates and interprets more than 1,800 data sets from an electric vehicle’s drive-line controller and battery management system as well as data from a GPS tracker.  “The device refines and relays this information to a server, giving real time access to all the vehicle’s operational key performance indicators,” says the firm.

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Trailer and truck markers work together

Trailer maker Schmitz Cargobull AG is working with truck makers Daimler AG and Iveco Magirus AG to deliver a Europe-wide service network.  The aim is that these “All-round Workshops” will offer service for Schmitz trailers and Mercedes and Iveco trucks.  Schmitz reports approaches from other truck makers and expects to announce more deals soon.  “The basic idea is actually quite simple: an all-round workshop for the tractor and the unit being pulled”, is how both Ingo Warnke, manager for commercial vehicle sales services, Mercedes-Benz and Achim Göhrisch, service operation manager, Iveco Magirus AG described the deal.  “The respective agreements are now at an advanced stage and only require signatures”, explains Dr Peter Kes, managing director of Cargobull Parts & Services GmbH.

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Show success for TomTom

Committing to the recent CV Operators Show at the NEC has paid dividends for TomTom Work.  The telematics firm says it recorded high levels of sales enquiries throughout the three day event. “The scaled-down show seemed to have a lower footfall in proportion to previous CV shows” said Jeremy Gould, TomTom Work sales manager.  “But the quality of the visitors was very good and we were able to make some excellent contacts..  We anticipate turning these into solid business prospects”.

The firm also used the Show to launch a number of new and innovative products as part of its award winning TomTom Work solutions.

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Business booming at Britain’s Golden Garage

A Seat service centre is seeing its business boom after it won the Motor Codes first UK “Golden Garages” competition earlier this month.  Kinghams of Croydon won the title earlier this month.  “We were obviously thrilled to have won the award.  It’s a great honour and a source of real pride and excitement for us all,” said owner Keith Kingham.  “But I don’t think any of us could have foreseen the scale and immediacy of the impact that winning the title would have on our business.  We’ve literally been swamped with calls from people wanting to book all makes and models in for a service.  It has been amazing.”

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New UK boss for Renault Trucks

Marc Martinez will take over as UK managing director for Renault Trucks on 1 July.  He will succeed Laurent Farman who moves to run Renault Trucks Spain.  Martinez has worked for Renault Trucks for 22 years, mainly in the firm’s French subsidiary, where he was made managing director in 2005.

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The SMMT’s manifesto for the next government looks at main problems for the UK motor industry in the near future and suggests policies to make the most of the industry’s potential.  Accessible on the SMMT website at, it calls for targeted incentives, more research and development and better use of the country’s skills to help sustain the industry and its future profitable growth.

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VW vans from £189 a month

Volkswagen says it has extended its Contract Hire and Finance Lease deals until 30 September.  These can deliver a new Caddy from £189 a month, a new Transporter from £239 a month or a new Crafter from £349 a month, plus VAT in each case.  The firm also offers deals on the eight or nine seat Transporter Shuttle, or the new, seven-seat Caravelle.  “More and more” people prefer contract hire style deals as they “help smooth cash flow and budget management,” said Simon Elliott, director, Volkswagen commercial vehicles.  Vans also get seven days free insurance while Volkswagen Van Centres can offer fixed-cost maintenance deals to suit individual needs.

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Oldbury UK’s new website

Oldbury UK, the Wolverhampton, West Midlands-based specialist trailer, mobility and engineering firm has launched its new website. aims to show the growing diversity and range of its business.  The company now serves sectors including defence, homeland security, aerospace, construction, extraction, wastes management, heavy transport and the utilities.  It has recently expanded its general engineering and ancillary equipment activities, including winning the UK distributorship for Warn military and industrial winch and hoist products.  It is also the importer for ARB step frames and low loaders.  Oldbury will celebrate its 150th anniversary next year.

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Discount Trucker, Passion and Adventure from Renault

Passion is one of the three ranges of “official merchandise” just launched by Renault Trucks.  The firm says the “range of high quality products for the driver, the truck enthusiast and haulage company owners” is available from its online e-shop at  There is a special 15% “introductory offer” until the end of May 2010 on the new range, but to get the deal you’ll need to ‘eshop’ in the coupon code field at the online checkout.  There are three ranges; Trucker, Passion and Adventure, with a fourth, Truck Racing, due soon.

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TfL to spend £67m on electric and hybrid vehicles

Transport for London says it plans to spend £67m on up to 1,300 electric and hybrid vehicles.  The tender is divided into “lots” with 70% of the cash ring-fenced for electric and hybrid passenger vehicles with up to eight seats.  The remaining 30% will split between electric scooters and motorbikes, electric and hybrid minibuses and light and medium good vehicles.  Smith Electric Vehicles says it competes in three out of four categories and is bidding for business worth £22m.

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UK automotive production up

The SMMT just released UK automotive production figures for March 2010.  Car output rose a record 90.2%, resulting in the fifth successive monthly rise.  Commercial vehicle output also rose sharply; up 38.6% for the month and engine production grew 35.9%.

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All orders now in for Phase one of LCVPP

Smith Electric says orders are now finalised for Phase One of the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme.  This aims to encourage local and public bodies to buy electric light commercial vehicles.  Smith Electric Vehicles will deliver 47 out of the 70 electric vans in the programme – more than twice as many electric vehicles as the other two programme suppliers combined.  Smith customers in Phase One include Royal Mail, TfL, Warwick University and seven local authorities.

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Get the facts

Motor Industry Facts 2010 from the SMMT shows the scope of the UK motor industry.  The latest annual pocket guide, just issued by the Society, gives a summary of the latest UK automotive statistics, including vehicle registrations and production, vehicles on the road and environmental and safety performance indicators.  The booklet is available for free download from the SMMT website at

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And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page reports that the last item in the list of facilities at Hotel Lenno, Lake Como, Italy, on the website of holiday specialist Citalia might, reader Richard Walker thinks, be a reflection of the worldwide obesity epidemic. Items such as “restaurant”, “bar/lounge” and “sun terrace” are followed by: “Complimentary minibus to nearby Spa (approx 3 metres)”.

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