Thanks, as always 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…

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Road Transport Group may move on

Andy Salter, boss at Reed Business Information Ltd’s Road Transport Group, says he is talking to the firm about a proposed investor-funded management buyout.  If the idea goes ahead it would create a new company, called Road Transport Media Ltd, running Commercial Motor, Motor Transport, Truck & Driver, the Motor Transport Awards and  Salter would head the new firm, and says he has “no plans to make any changes” and aims to keep the successful team together while looking for “new ways of engaging with our audiences” and providing the “information and products” people need to run successful businesses.  If his plan goes ahead, the new firm starts in March..

More from Andy Salter on +44 (0)2 086 523 612 or

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Iveco UK guarantees 4% fuel saving

Iveco UK says it will guarantee UK fleet operators a 4% cut in fuel use with its new EcoStralis truck.  The offer is good for three years or 400,000 km.  The firm says independent tests show that the truck can cut fuel use by 7.32% over comparable models.  Iveco’s guarantee covers items specific to the EcoStralis; the new 460 hp engine, Eco-gearbox and new drive axle ratio, which cut fuel bills by some 4%.  The remaining 3.3% comes from cutting road speed from 90 to 85 km/h and using Michelin X Energy Savergreen low rolling resistance tyres.  The fuel guarantee will be measured against the combined average performance of the customer’s heavy truck fleet.  But it will only be available to fleets whose trucks do at least 55% of their work on motorways and dual carriageways.

More from Nigel Emms on +44 (0)1 923 259 513 or

Tesco fits StepProtect to all new tractor units

Tesco has begun fitting the StepProtect nearside front step alarm from Reversing Made Easy Ltd to all new tractor units.  The move follows a 15 month trial, against a background of constant concern over pedestrian safety and worries about nearside step damage.  Now Tesco is having the kit fitted to Mercedes 500 tractor units going through Mercedes’ used vehicle centre at Wentworth Park.  “The deciding factor was the driver-friendly audio-visual alarm,” said Matt Hickson, design engineer for RME.  “If the driver is happy and understands the device, that’s the major part of our job done.”  He is also happy to arrange free trial of the StepProtect system.

More from Matt Hickson on +44 (0)1 825 768 555 or

Stralis LNG arrives

Iveco says its newly launched Stralis LNG extends its natural gas powered truck range for the UK and Ireland.  The trucks run on liquefied natural gas and complement Stralis compressed natural gas models.  The range includes a right-hand drive 19 tonne 4×2 rigid, 26 tonne 6×2 rigid and a 4×2 tractor unit – each available with the choice of an Active Day or Active Time cab.  The trucks have cryogenic tanks to store the LNG at -160oC, and give up to 1,000km range.  Iveco’s UK and Irish dealers are taking orders and over 20 of the new vehicles are working in the Netherlands, following a successful local launch there last Spring.  The firm says the move reinforces its position as Europe’s alternatively fuelled van and truck market leader.

More from Nigel Emms on +44 (0)1 923 259 513 or

Daf holds UK market leadership for 16 straight years

In what was the lowest UK truck market over 6.0 tonnes, Daf Trucks says it held market leadership for the 16th straight year..  The firm took 23.8% of that market, 31% more than its nearest competitor.  Its share of the light (6-15t) market was 33.5% and it took 20.4% of the heavy (over 15t) market.  Daf’s volumes at 7.5 tonnes were 50% more than its nearest competitor and its 45.6% share of the 7.6-12t sector is another record.  And in what looks like a sign of the Type Approval-driven changes ahead for the bodybuilding business, Daf sold 23% of all UK Daf LF trucks with factory-built box and curtainsider bodies.

More from Martin Hayes on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or

Two-tier low carbon strategy from Iveco

Iveco says advanced diesel engine development on one hand and alternative fuel and energy development on the other are the basis of its two-tier plan to cut CO2 emissions from its vehicle range.  This runs from its first all electric Daily in 1986 to the recently launched EcoDaily, EcoStralis and Stralis LNG models.  Its natural gas powered models already meet or beat the Euro 6 emissions standards due in 2013 and its natural gas power is 50% quieter than diesel.  Electric power or diesel electric hybrids offer another approach to low carbon transport.  Iveco, like its competitors, says low carbon transport needs concessions from the government if it is to be commercially viable on the road.

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EU looks at truck weights and sizes

Piet Wieman, writing in the Netherland’s Nieuwsbrief reports that the EU Commissioner Siim Kallas says the EU is preparing new legislation on truck weights and sizes, but has made no decisions on legalising long heavy vehicles.  “We think about that but we also take into account the arguments of opponents of LHVs.”  He didn’t say when he’ll publish his plans but did promise the long-awaited European white paper for traffic and transport in March.  “This only indicates the direction of EU transport policy in the coming years” and won’t include “concrete measures and plans.”  He also suggests that passenger traffic should pay the costs of road and environmental damage, along the same lines as freight traffic will under new Eurovignette rules.

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Early bird breakfast deal

Register on-line for the CV Show or the Workshop 2011 Fast Track ticket deal and you’ll also get an Early Bird breakfast voucher worth £2 at participating restaurants in the NEC.  “This means you’ll beat the queues at the gates, and can enjoy breakfast while you put the finishing touches to your plans for a day at the two adjacent shows,” said Show organiser Bob Sockl.  “Go to either of the two show websites,  or and follow the link.”  The 30 March issue of Commercial Motor and 4 April’s Motor Transport will carry the Show Guide.  This will list the 250 exhibitors, their exhibits and stand numbers.  “The guide will help you help you plan your visit and make the most of your time at this important commercial vehicle, road transport and automotive aftermarket event,” says Sockl.

More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or

Bevan fits first cranes for Jewson

Midlands-based Bevan Group, recently made a dealer for Danish HMF cranes, is fitting cranes and split dropside bodies to 55 MAN trucks for Jewson, the builders’ merchant.  Bevan says that its new ability to offer a one-stop-shop deal means it has cut delivery times “significantly”, offering “reduced hassle and super-quick build schedules”.  The trucks, a mix of 18 and 26 tonners, will work from Jewson’s depots across the UK.  This will be the first time the firm has used HMF cranes; each truck has a radio-controlled HMF 1420-K2 14-tonne/metre crane fitted behind the cab and equipped with a Kinshofer brick and block grab.

More from Steve Warren on +44 (0)1789 490530

SMMT webinar – priorities and issues for 2011

The SMMT’s first free webinar this year, on Tuesday 1 February from 10:30 to 11:30 will look at the priorities and issues for the motor industry in 2011.  Paul Everitt, SMMT boss will outline the Society’s strategy for the coming year.  This includes plans to strengthen the UK supply chain, support innovation and business growth, develop and lead major policy campaigns, encourage collaboration and partnership and improve the profile of the UK motor industry.  The presentation, including an economic outlook, will end with a Q&A session.  You’ll find the registration details on the SMMT website at  Look in the Webinars section.

More from Robert Morbin on +44 (0)2 073 449 265 or

LBM to cut well to wheel CO2 by 90%

Speaking at the launch of Iveco’s new Stralis LNG, Martin Flach, UK product director for Iveco UK, says that Liquid Natural Gas’ high energy density and thus greater range offers “distinct advantages” over Compressed Natural Gas for some jobs.  LNG means the firm can now offer heavy trucks running on different fuels for regional distribution and light trunking.  50% lower noise and emissions at near Euro 6 levels are also important features.  “Importantly,” the Stralis LNG will also run “equally well” on Liquified Biomethane “to cut well-to-wheel CO2 by over 90%.”

More from Nigel Emms on +44 (0)1 923 259 513 or

Global Action Plan to save van drivers £800 a year

Global Action Plan says its Fuel Wise scheme can cut van fuel use by 16%.  Based on average van mileage and fuel use, the firm says this means saving £789 a year.  It will of course cut CO2 by 16% as well.  The Fuel Wise programme tackles the causes of inefficient driving using Eco Driving simulators and behaviour change workshops.  “Eco-driving is about changing our driving styles so we use less fuel,” says Trewin Restorick, CEO at Global Action Plan.  Cutting fuel use means cutting costs and CO2.  “It’s one thing to teach someone the techniques to drive efficiently, it’s another to ensure that those behaviours stick,” continued Restorick.

More from Amy Sharples on +44 (0)20 7420 4406 or

Step up the gas

Iveco says it leads the European market for natural gas powered vans and trucks and aims to increase its sales of gas-powered vans and trucks in the UK.  It has already has UK EcoDaily, Eurocargo and Stralis models designed to run on compressed biomethane or compressed natural gas and its new Stralis LNG models will run on liquid natural gas or liquid biomethane.  Iveco is also trying hydro-methane, a mixture of natural gas with 30% hydrogen.  With sustainably sourced hydrogen, this offers even bigger cuts in CO2 emissions.

More from Nigel Emms on +44 (0)1 923 259 513 or

New trailer helps Warton offer more

Barking-based Warton Freight Services is using a new trailer to help it win new business across the UK.  The new lightweight step frame and beavertail tri-axle model from Andover Trailers has helped general construction industry haulier Warton to extend its services and carry sky-high hoists and access machines.  These can weigh up to 16 tonnes.  Andover’s Ivan Collins says his firm’s new 13.6m trailer offers operators access to new transport business, based on a high quality and competitively priced UK-built unit, designed for light plant work.  The new trailer weighs 8.7 tonnes, ideal for carrying plant like pavers, rollers and access machines.

More from James Keeler on +44 (0)2 086 474 467 or

Tough times ahead in 2011

In a New Year message, Ray Ashworth, UK boss of Daf Trucks, warns that continuing austerity, pressure on haulage rates and increased fuel costs are still causing cash flow problems for many operators despite low Bank of England base rates.  Sterling remains weak, some 20% below its 2008 levels, pushing new truck prices up.  Despite this, Ashworth thinks “2011 will be a year of recovery, albeit a slow one.”  He expects that the lead up to Euro 6 in 2013 and the London LEZ changes in 2012 “will provide some impetus” to “fragile” market growth that may deliver between 32 and 34,000 units in 2011.

More from Martin Hayes on +44 (0)2 074 948 050 or

Gas is a natural for a quiet night

Iveco says its natural gas engines are up to 50% quieter than their diesel equivalents, making them ideal for urban and night delivery work.  In the UK the firm offers 28 natural gas powered EcoDaily models from 3.5 to 7 tonnes, Eurocargo trucks from 12 to 16 tonnes and Stralis trucks from 19 to 34 tonnes.  Iveco believes that increasing pressure to keep delivery costs down will make night-time deliveries more attractive.  Lower traffic at night makes for more predictable, quicker and cheaper delivery runs, particularly in urban and suburban area.  Demonstrably quieter trucks may help persuade local authorities to relax night delivery bans.

More from Nigel Emms on +44 (0)1 923 259 513 or

Limited edition golden anniversary Actros

Tilbury-based haulier C&H has ordered 102 Mercedes Actros MegaSpace customised tractor units with customised curtain-sided three-axle trailers.  The move is part of the firm’s 50th anniversary celebrations.  C&H started in 1960 on London’s Isle of Dogs and now, after its acquisition by the Charles Gee Group, runs 100 trucks and 270 trailers carrying forest products out of seven depots across the UK.  Jim Newsome, of Search Impex, which will supply the new rigs, says the special anniversary livery is “stunning.”  They are 1:50 scale models, in a certified limited edition produced exclusively for Search Impex by WSI Collectibles.

More from Jim Newsome on +44 (0)1 332 873 555 or

Another Daf in Macaskill’s colours

Stornaway’s Macaskill Haulage has a new Daf XF in its livery..  The truck is a three-axle XF 105 Super Space Cab, coupled to a three-axle Carrier trailer.  Established in the 1970s the firm specialises in the fresh and frozen food transport and distribution, especially fish, but also does general haulage work.  It mostly runs between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland but also regularly carries salmon to the Continent.  “With metallic paint and fine graphics detail, the Daf unit and fridge trailer will make an exceptional addition to any model collection,” said Jim Newsome of Search Impex.  The rig is at 1:50 scale and priced at priced at £137 each, including UK delivery and VAT.

More from Jim Newsome on +44 (0)1 332 873 555 or

Imexpart launches Iveco range

Independent truck parts specialist Imexpart will use stand 4L22 at the CV Show for the exhibition debut of its CaptiveX range of replacement parts for Iveco trucks.  Available in early 2011 the new range offers both fast moving Iveco parts and “some that are harder to find outside the franchised network”  The firm will hold over 10,000 Iveco parts in stock, “covering all popular UK applications,” and selling them through its seven-strong nationwide network.  Imexpart also sells truck parts for MAN and Mercedes, has an all-makes engine range and does bumpers and cab panels too.

More from Heather Thompson on +44 (0)1 977 553 936 or

Auxiliary electronics control systems on show

Carnation Designs will use stand 4C60 at the CV Show to highlight the flexibility of its genisys system for specialist vehicle builders and operators.  Already a leading provider to the emergency vehicle market, Carnation produces fully customisable, easy-to-integrate systems to control auxiliary electronics and related power management in virtually any vehicle.  This offers a programmable alternative to hard-wired relays and fuses, using solid-state technology to ensure a vehicle can adapt to changing needs.

More from Jasmin Russell +44 (0)1 480 405 333 or

More cash for ePower Trucks

Electric truck specialist ePower Trucks just got £1m to spend on its next growth phase.  The firm, which sells the Alke series of all-electric, road-legal utility trucks, got the deal from Yorkshire Bank.  ePower Trucks’ sales grew by 55% in 2010, with electric trucks and utility vehicles going to premier league football clubs, multinational contractors,  local authorities, health trusts and airports.  Prices for the Alke ATX series start from around £15,000, while those for the XT series, with up to 120 mile range and fast-swap battery pack, start from £30,000.  Finance packages are also available.

More From Dan Jenkins, Bright Sparks PR, on +44(0)7536 092682 or

Fuel price hike drives hybrid interest

Ashwoods Automotive, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of hybrid light commercial vehicles says it is seeing a “surge of interest” following the recent increase in pump prices for diesel.  The firm, which is makes its CV Show debut this year, says its Hybrid Drive now delivers a return on investment in as little as three years, based on 30,000 miles a year.  The energy recovery system cuts fuel use by 15-20%, depending on the drive cycle.  Ashwoods has launched a new website, and its new Twitter account (@ecovansdirect) already has 400 followers.

More From Dan Jenkins, Bright Sparks PR, on +44(0)7536 092682 or

SMMT Logistics Forum

Honda’s manufacturing plant in Swindon has hosted the first SMMT Logistics Forum of 2011.  15 SMMT member firms, including BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover the Road Haulage Association discussed the UK automotive supply chain and set a date or another meeting on 19 April 2011 at Forbes House, London.  If you’d like to know more about the Logistics Forum or how to join the group, please contact Ana Filipe.

More from Ana Filipe on +44 (0)2 073 441 661 or

SMMT still needs a new CV manager

Robin Dickeson, the SMMT’s commercial vehicle man will retire and leave in mid-April, so the Society needs a new commercial vehicle affairs manager, a champion for the SMMT’s 100 or more commercial vehicle members.  Katie Milbourn, Head of Personnel at the SMMT has had some good replies to last week’s article but will welcome more.  You’ll need to know and be known by the UK commercial vehicle and road transport industries.  You’ll also need to be able to speak for the industry to a wide range of audiences.  You should know what makes dealers tick and how to work successfully with other trade associations and with government agencies.  But the ability to tie a bow tie isn’t mandatory.  If you think this could be for you, you’ll find the details on the SMMT website; go to ‘About’ and then ‘Vacancies’.  The deadline is 10 February 2010.

More from Katie Milbourn on +44 (0)2 073 441 618 or

And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page reports that Tadeusz Kawecki downloaded several dozen recordings of bird calls onto his Nokia cell phone in preparation for a trip to the tropics.  To his surprise, the phone sorted them into musical genres.

It classified the song of the pied puffbird as belonging to “oldies”, the laughing falcon to “pop” and the spotted wood quail “disco”.  The dusky nightjar apparently sings “jazz”, the harpy eagle “metal”.  Various kinds of woodpecker produce “dance” music, while the hoots of 11 species of owl are classified as “country”.  What, we wonder, would bands like the Eagles, the Housemartins and the Byrds have had to say about Nokia’s classifications?

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