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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Truck costs rise £410 in a week

The Road Haulage Association says that fuel price hikes just pushed the annual cost of running a typical 44-tonne truck up by £410 in just one week.  Overall the RHA says the recent fuel cost hikes mean that hauliers need to raise their prices by £1,000 a year cover the higher fuel costs.  The RHA’s Weekly Fuel Price Survey shows that hauliers now pay £110.46 a litre, excluding VAT, up 0.98 pence on one week ago.  The RHA worries that prices will keep rising and says that government must freeze the fuel duty rate.  Others worry that hell might freeze first.

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Not easy to merge MAN and Scania, says VW

TTM Nieuwsalert, the Netherlands-based e-newsletter reports that VW bosses Ferdinand Piech, chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Group and Hans Dieter Poetsch, finance boss or the Group have said that truck makers Scania and MAN “are not easily combined.”   TTM quotes Poetsch speaking ahead of the Geneva Motor Show this week.

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Optare wins £7.6m Arriva orders

Optare has won orders worth £7.6m from Arriva, for 69 single and double-deck buses for delivery during 2011.  The deal includes 16 Visionaire open-top double-deckers, based on Volvo B9TL three-axle chassis.  The Original Tour will use these on London sightseeing tours.   The firm will also take 41 Versa 11.1 metre models and 12 Solo 8.8 and 9.5 metre midibuses, all Mercedes-Benz powered, with deliveries due through to September.  “These orders come at a time when we are seeing clear signs of recovery in the UK bus market and just a few weeks into what will be an exciting year of growth for our company,” said Glenn Saint, Chief Operating Officer at Optare.

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First bulk Air1 AdBlue for Wales

Baglan Service Station is the first service station in Wales to offer bulk AdBlue from Air1 to trucks on forecourt.  The move follows successful sales of AdBlue sales in cans from the forecourt shop.  “We now want to offer our customers the advantages of filling their AdBlue tanks at the same time as they refuel with Derv,” says owner Catherine Cooper.

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Road Transport Media off to a flying start

Commercial Motor, Motor Transport, Truck & Driver, the Motor Transport Awards and, are now independent, owned by a new firm called Road Transport Media.  Andy Salter, previously the publisher for the titles, led a management buy-out, buying the portfolio from Reed Business Information.  “This is fantastic news for us – and for all our readers, advertisers and customers,” says Salter.  “Everyone at Road Transport Media lives and breathes the industry; it’s a great and important sector and we are proud to be at the heart of it.  From now on, we’re able to refocus on doing what the industry wants.”

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I’Anson takes a very different Volvo 8×4

Masham-based animal feed merchant I’Anson Bros Ltd has taken a Volvo 8×4 ‘tridem’ for bulk delivery work.  The truck looks like a normal 6×4 with a fourth and steering axle added behind its double-drive bogie.  The truck’s three rear axles have air suspension, with twin tyres on the two drive axles.  Both front and rear steering axles run on single tyres.  The firm says this layout gives traction, manoeuvrability and a better payload than a conventional 6×4 or 8×4 arrangement.  The new truck has Priden blower bodywork and will carry 35 tonnes more a week than I’Anson’s three-axle trucks.  Volvo dealer Crossroads Commercials did the deal.

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10,000th UK-built axle from BPW

A year after starting to build suspension systems in the UK, BPW in Leicester has built its 10,000th axle, beating its own target by 25%.  Retiring Managing Director Richard Gibbs says the new facility has helped the firm “respond more quickly” to customers’ “changing requirements”.  At the same time the firm has been able to keep its stock of finished axle assemblies to a minimum.  The UK firm is a subsidiary of BPW in Germany, which says it is Europe’s leading trailer axle and suspension maker. In the UK, BPW claims market leadership too.

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FIA European Truck Racing for Donington

The FIA European Truck Racing Series will run its first race at the Donington Park Circuit this Easter Bank Holiday weekend, 23 and 24 April 2011.  Renault Trucks is the main sponsor for the event, marking the return of the FIA series to the UK, after a long absence.  Teams from all over Europe will compete, with a full grid to include a Renault-supported truck from MKR Technology.  In its first year this team won the FIA European Truck Racing team championship prize in 2010.  The event’s website covers news and ticket sales..

Donington successfully hosted the UK’s first Truck Grand Prix in 1986.

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AdBlue quality matters

Six big AdBlue suppliers will work with Acea, the European auto industry body on a campaign to produce an easily used set of AdBlue “dos and don’ts” to help operators avoid problems.  The campaign will tackle worries about AdBlue quality, its sourcing, storage and handling.  Selective Catalytic Reduction, using AdBlue, has successfully helped cut NOx emissions from trucks, buses and coaches since 2006.  While fears that operators would struggle to cope with the material proved “groundless,” there have been some difficulties, with some operators not aware that low-grade AdBlue substitutes can damage the SCR kit and invalidate warranties.  Similarly, contaminated AdBlue can have the same expensive effects and pouring AdBlue into the diesel tank may seriously damage the engine.

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Van CO2 targets agreed

The European Parliament has agreed the Environmental Committee report on cutting CO2 emissions from vans with a long-term target of 147g CO2/km by 2020.  “Industry is pleased that the European Parliament has come to a decision on CO2 emission targets for LCVs as vehicle manufacturers are committed to lowering emissions as part of ongoing introductions of low, lower and ultra-low carbon vehicles,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT boss. “The UK is well placed to capitalise on low carbon technologies and manufacturers now need government to demonstrate its support for sustained investment in skills.”

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CV output up 8.9% in January 2011

UK automotive manufacturing made a “solid start” to 2011 despite tough economic conditions, with commercial vehicle production up 8.9% in January.  Car production also rose by 8.9% and UK engine manufacturing increased by 12% in January.  “Automotive is leading the manufacturing revival,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  But to ensure this trend continues, the UK government must help with a “supportive” tax system, sustained investment in skills, R&D and capital equipment.  Ahead of the Budget in March, the SMMT wants R&D tax credits for small and large firms, bigger capital allowances and lower business rates.

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Cayvol gives Oldbury a big lift

Oldbury UK is the new UK and Irish importer for Cayvol, the Spanish hydraulic chain- and hook-loader maker.  Specialist trailer and transport equipment builder Oldbury has supplied a range of Cayvol equipment for some time, particularly as part of its semi-trailer mounted, heavy-duty roll-on-off waste container system.  Cayvol leads the Spanish market for hydraulic loaders and fits its kit to over 1,000 vehicles a year at its base in Barcelona.  The firm’s Multivol system uses a sliding hydraulic column to carry a range of different sized containers and its Multicontainer chain-lift skip loader system features telescopic arms.

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Eberspacher at the CV Show

Eberspacher says it will show a wide range of its diesel fuelled independent heating systems fitted to vehicles on its stand 5E60 at the CV Show in April.   One vehicle will feature the firm’s Frigosoft fridge system, Euroengel, with insulated containers, Thermoline, its diesel heating system for cold climate application and Handiwash, the hot water based hand wash system for people on the move.  Eberspacher says its systems, including air conditioning and climate control, are suitable for all vehicle applications.

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Talson wins 33-strong trailer deal from TNT

TNT Fashion Group has ordered 33 Talson Garment Flat semi-trailers.  The new trailers have Talson’s Talfix panels, developed to carry both boxed and hanging garments on different levels.  This flexibility helps TNT deliver its one-stop shop service to international garment transport.  The Dutch trailer maker says its special post and sheet riveted panel trailer construction cuts maintenance and repair times and costs.

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Joloda on a roll as air freight recovers

Joloda International says that the airfreight sector is showing clear signs of recovery on both sides of the Atlantic.  The comment comes as the firm said it has won two big orders for the latest version of its highly successful twin roller track system.  One order is from Luxembourg-based Wallenborn and the other is from Forward Air in the US, which was the first to use the Joloda twin track system when it was introduced six years ago.  Liverpool and Anglesey-based Joloda makes the world market leading Hydraroll Aircargo Rollerbed air cargo and palletised freight handling system.

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New UK boss for Eberspacher

Vince Lee is to be the new Managing Director at Eberspacher UK.  He will take over from Russell Brown who will retire on 30 April 2011 after 31 years with the firm, 23 as MD.  Vince Lee has also worked for the firm for 30 years.

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First Volvos deliver more traction for Hewicks

Hewicks Haulage added the first three Volvo FH13 6×2 tractor units to its fleet.  The new trucks will help the East Anglian based firm’s growing port traffic and nationwide food, brewery products and animal feeds business.  Hewicks does general traction as well as work with tanker firm Cave Liquid Haulage.  The tag axle units all feature the latest 12.8 litre, six cylinder, turbochargecooled D13C500 high torque Euro 5 EEV engine   All three units carry the spacious, top-specification Globetrotter XL sleeper cab.

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LEZ surgery at CV Show

Exhaust treatment firm Eminox, on stand 5H80 at the CV Show, will run an LEZ surgery to help operators understand the next round of changes to the London Low Emission Zone.  The firm says it thinks too few operators realise the cost implications of the LEZ phase three emissions standard, due on 3 January 2102.  This will extend the range of vehicles affected to include minibuses and vans and trucks over 1.2t.  Phase 4 will set a tougher standard, based on Euro 4 particulates for buses, coaches and trucks over 3.5t.  Eminox LEZ specialists will be on the stand to advise operators about upgrading or replacing vehicles to meet the new emission standards.

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Volvo reports Q4 profit and boosts 2011 forecast

Volvo AB reported its fourth-quarter income was about $500m, compared with a $308m loss a year earlier.  Revenue rose 23% to $11.3bn.  Volvo also delivered nearly 57,000 trucks in the quarter, 30% up on Q3 and 49% up on Q4 in 2009.  Worldwide truck orders jumped 63% for the quarter from a year ago and 22% from the third quarter.  The firm also expects a 220,000 unit European truck market this year and a similar number in North America, both up 10% on last estimates.  It may also assemble Volvo-branded heavy trucks in China in a deal with its partner Dongfeng Motor Group.

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DfT to ditch sideguard and similar exemptions

As part of the move to type approval, the UK’s Department for Transport wants to ditch the sideguard exemptions available for dustcarts, tipping trucks and trailers.  Similarly, it wants to withdraw the exemption from rear under-run regulations on tipping trucks and trailers, together with a partial withdrawal for concrete mixers.  “We are consulting with our members on the full list of exemptions and their implications before replying to the DfT.   That list also includes spray suppression and front under-run,” said the SMMT’s Allan McKenzie.  He expects that plans will worry many tipper operators.

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EU transport white paper due in late March

The EU aims to publish a White Paper on the future of EU transport policy by the end of March.  It will probably call for a single European transport area with greener infrastructure, as well as specific reduction targets for the transport sector.  The paper was to complement a low carbon roadmap to 2050, a draft of which says that until 2025 the main way to cut transport emissions is likely to be by better fuel efficiency.  It also said that “emissions from surface transport could in fact be brought back to below 1990 levels in 2030″.

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LinkTip refuse truck for Wilshire

Wiltshire Council has put a LinkTip bodied refuse collection truck to work on daily rural household waste collection.

The four compartment enclosed tipper body is on a Mitsubishi Canter 7.5 tonner.  The new truck joins a fleet of four similarly fitted trucks run by private contractor Hills Wasted.

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Peugeot van range hits new CO2 targets

Peugeot UK says it welcomes the EC’s new van CO2 targets.  The firm says its fuel-efficient HDi-powered vans already hit the 2014 target and its smaller vans hit the 2020 target.  Van makers must have 70% of their vans emitting 175 g/km CO2 or less by 2014.  This rises to 75% the following year, 80% by 1016 and 100% from 2017.  Peugeot’s 207, Bipper and Partner vans already offer models well below the target of 147 g/km CO2, due in 2020.  “These big-selling, clean and economical small vans help bring the overall fleet figure well within the 2014 target,” says the firm.

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Van and car production forecast

The SMMT just published its latest medium term van and car production forecast.  Written by AutoAnaylsis director Ian Henry, the report outlines vehicle makers’ production plans, new model launches and a vehicle production forecast through to 2015.  The package includes an interactive production outlook map of Europe showing all major van and car and production plants.  Click on a plant and you’ll see its 2010 production volumes and its 2011 production outlook by marque and model.  The map is free to use and comes with a 10 minute video that reviews individual firms’ plans.  The report and its summary is free to SMMT members but will cost non-members £4,090.

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New coupling safety systems from Fontaine

Fontaine will launch two new coupling safety systems on its stand 5G92 at the CV Show next month.  Both are designed to guard against vehicle and trailer misalignment.  The first is the firm’s fifth wheel Tech-Lock system prevents ‘high hitching’ and is designed to stop mis-coupling and significantly reduce the risk of a dropped trailer.  The second is its “unique” Two Position Slider with 150SP fifth wheel.  Fontaine says this eliminates the need for split coupling and its patented sensor system restricts the speed of the vehicle if the fifth wheel is left in the wrong position. The firm will also show a three-sensor fifth wheel, a low maintenance 3000 LM fifth wheel and a lightweight slider.

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Rugged Apple-based ePOD

Kinishi will use stand 4E10 at next month’s CV Show to demonstrate its new range of electronic and rugged Proof of Delivery terminals.  The firm says these extend its FleetSure vehicle tracking and fleet management system and offer a wide range of communications options including GPS location capture, barcode scanner and a magnetic stripe reader.  A fully recharged battery will cope with 10,000+ scans and swipes.   All have 3.5in high-resolution widescreen displays and systems to give high-quality signature capture.  Kinishi’s Alex Goldstone says the firm has used Apple’s range of consumer devices as the basis for a Proof of Delivery system to which the firm can add bespoke features and save its customers money.

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Primewell tyres from ATS

ATS Euromaster has won an exclusive deal to sell Primewell’s “internationally-proven” mid-range truck, bus and coach tyres to the UK market.  GITI, the world’s fourth-largest maker of radial truck tyres makes Primewell tyres, selling them successfully in Asia, North America, South America and mainland Europe.  Customers say the tyres cut road noise, improve passenger comfort and offer more consistent tread wear compared to other mid-range tyres.  “Price rises across the tyre sector” mean there is a gap in the UK market for a new mid-range tyre brand,” says Peter Fairlie, Director at ATS.  He also says the new tyres will complement the ATS range and “ensure our customers have maximum choice”.

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Low-entry Volvos for Rotherham

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council just got six 23 tonne Volvo FE Low Entry Cab trucks for its domestic kerbside rubbish collection fleet.   The new trucks all have Terberg specialist bodywork for segregated recycled waste.  They join Rotherham’s specialised domestic recycling fleet of over 200 trucks collecting glass, textiles, paper and tin.  TransLinc in Lincoln did the contract hire and maintenance deal via Volvo dealer, Crossroads Truck and Bus at Rotherham.  “The new trucks are going extremely well and I am very pleased with their performance and reliability,” says Craig Simpson, Fleet Manager.

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And finally

How far from Australia is that?  New Scientist reader Maggi Boult, sent the magazine’s Feedback page a tourism advert which opens: “Iceland is more than halfway round the world for Australians.” But more than halfway is less than halfway, depending which way round you go – unless you are travelling through extra dimensions, perhaps.

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