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 for this week…

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April Orders for US heavy trucks rise

Transport Topics reports that US orders for new Class 8 trucks totalled 40,500 for the first four months of 2010, “a 30% increase from the same time in 2009,” Kenny Vieth, ACT partner and senior analyst told Transport Topics.  Truck makers and dealers sold 32,466 Class 8 trucks in 2010, up from 28,496 units in the same period last year, an increase of 13.9%.  April net orders of medium-duty Classes 5-7 trucks were up by 39% from April 2009.

More from www.ttnews.com

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May registrations: vans improve, trucks still dire

The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows May’s van and truck registrations up 25% to 19,562 in May but down 15% to 2229,799 for the rolling year.  Within that, vans were up 32% to 17,025 for the month and down 11% to 198,054 for the rolling year.  At the same time, trucks were down 7.5% to 2,537 in May and down 33.5% to 31,745 for the rolling year.  “UK van registrations continue to rise, but heavy truck registrations remain very low,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  “Demand in both sectors is around 45% below the pre-recession average; while vans are picking up slightly, heavy trucks are heading for a record low.  Against this background it is vital that the emergency budget helps keep the recovery moving.”

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

Buses still weak minibuses better and coaches improved

May registration data from the SMMT shows that big buses fell 31% versus last year with a sharp fall for double decks.  Big coaches were also down 31%, against a recent trend.  There was a 7.2% rise in 3.5t to 8.5t buses which were also up 18.4% for the year to date.  “Trends for buses are generally downward, except for minibuses,” said Robin Dickeson, manager, commercial vehicle affairs at the SMMT.  “Coaches, though down in May are rising on the more reliable rolling year comparison.  For the bus and coach sector, it vital that the emergency budget helps keep the recovery moving.”

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

Whale’s king of recyclers set to rule in Scotland

Specialist waste tanker maker Whale Tankers of Solihull recently delivered its biggest and most advanced Kaiser-Whale sewer cleaning truck, to Taylors Industrial Services of Aberdeen.  Based on a 32-tonne Scania R560 eight wheeler, the Jet-Vac system has continuous dirty water recycling and is the first Kaiser-Whale recycler with three vacuum pumps.  It also has an 8″ (200mm) diameter hydraulically actuated suction boom that rotates through 300°.  The tanker can suck up a load from depths down to 50 metres and joins Taylor’s 40 strong fleet, which works across Scotland, mostly on sewage and marine contracts.

More from Paul Watson on +44 (0)1 619 736 763 or paul@wentworthcomms.co.uk

Partnership opportunity with Transport for London

The Mayor of London aims to deliver a Cycling Revolution in the Capital and Transport for London is helping.  TfL wants a 400% in cycling by 2025 and is investing £116m this year alone, with the launch of the Barclays sponsored Cycle Superhighways and Cycle Hire schemes.  To help do this, TfL wants suppliers of truck safety products and services to join the Cycling Revolution – to work in partnership with TfL to improve safety for cyclists.  Typical products and services include sensors and warning devices, blind spot vision aids and training.

More from Glen Davies on +44 (0)2 030 540 367 or glendavies@tfl.gov.uk

UPN going for green with hub relocation

Pallet network UPN says it plans to move its hub and network services base.  The aim is to give more space for growth and cut 70,000 road miles a year.  This will cut fuel use and of course, emissions.  The new hub at Fradley Park, Lichfield will mean UPN can double its capacity to 6,000 pallets a night.  The firm got the premises in April, started development work in May and plans to start operations before 1 August 2010.  Established in 2001 as a next-day delivery service for smaller pallet loads, UPN already has a national network over 60 depots.

More from Graeme Dagg on +44 (0)7 967 076 144 or graeme@positav.com

Jack Richards takes over Rowpak fleet

Specialist packaging maker Rowpak Containers  of Audenshaw says it has streamlined its operations by contracting its transport to Jack Richards & Son of Northwich.  The move sees Rowpack’s transport manager, five drivers and seven trucks and drivers join the haulier’s 50 strong fleet and 71 drivers.  The deal allows Rowpack to focus on its core business and “secures and expands” the “drivers’ job  opportunities.”  Richards also works for major food brands and other national customers from its Northwich depot.

More from Paul O’Malley on +44 (0)1 263 715 900 or info@hallspr.com

Raymond Brown changes to Renault

Raymond Brown Minerals and Recycling Ltd. has put four new Renault Kerax 8×4 tippers to work.  Fitted with Abba bodies, these are the first Renaults in the 43-strong fleet and replace four older trucks.  The firm will use its new Kerax on muckaway and bulk aggregate work across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire and West Sussex.  The firm is part of a £66m turnover group based in Ringwood, Hampshire.  Renault Trucks dealer Sparks Commercials won the business and, last week, an order for four more Kerax.  Sparks will maintain the new trucks on a contract basis too.

More from Penny Randall on +44 (0)1 582 479 619 or penny.randall@renault-trucks.com

Optare’s £8.5m independent orders

Bus maker Optare says it has won orders for 75 buses worth some £8.5m from the independent sector in the second quarter of this year..  “This shows that independents are continuing to invest despite difficult trading conditions,” says Optare’s commercial director, Glenn Saint.  These cover every Optare model from SlimLine Solos to Olympus double-deckers.  Whilst Solo range is the best-selling Optare model with independent operators, the larger Versa proves increasingly popular.  Nottingham City Transport has eight Omni-Dekkas on order to follow ten delivered earlier this year.  Ipswich Buses ordered two Olympus double-deckers and Transdev LUT will take eight Tempo single-deckers for work in Lancashire.

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

Low Emission Zone consultation

Transport for London is consulting to delay the date that the Low Emission Zone affects larger vehicles from 4 October 2010 to 3 January 2012.  The idea is to allow operators more time to comply, given the current economic downturn.  TfL has made a variation order to defer the change until January 2012 and this now out for consultation.  A new date will be confirmed and publicised in advance to allow vehicle operators time to take any necessary action.  The consultation is on TfL’s website www.tfl.gov.uk or you can e-mail lezlondon@tfl.gov.uk  It closes on 28 June 2010.

More from Glen Davies on +44 (0)2 030 540 367 or glendavies@tfl.gov.uk

AA wins TfL Fors deal

AA DriveTech has won a Transport for London deal to arrange and run the first bronze assessments for its Freight Operator Recognition Scheme.  This is free and voluntary membership scheme that aims to improve freight efficiency in London.  Fors is open to all van and truck operators and gives a basis for benchmarking.  “We’re delighted to be on board as the new assessment partner,” said Jason Vallint, development director at AA DriveTech.  “The assessment process for potential Fors members is an integral part of the scheme and you’ll find details at www.tfl.gov.uk/fors.”  He says AA DriveTech will use its wide experience to help applicants to the scheme.

More from Jason Vallint on +44 (0)1 256 495 700 or jason.vallint@AAdrivetech.com

New boss at GRP

Refrigerated bodybuilder GRP says Duncan Read has taken over as managing director.  The move follows Don Rastrick’s retirement earlier this year; he founded the firm 38 years ago.  Read enjoyed a successful career in financial services before taking over at GRP.

More from Duncan Read on +44 (0)1 132 554 664 or dread@grp-group.co.uk

Good show for GITI

GITI Tire (UK) Ltd says it is “extremely pleased” with the “very positive” outcome of the three-day Commercial Vehicle Operator Show at the NEC in mid April.  The company is launching a wide range of new patterns and sizes that it says will deliver low running costs.  All combine low rolling resistance, low noise, tough casings, long life and “increased retreadablity,” according to Richard Lyons, general manger, “our philosophy is simple, to be the easiest tyre company to do business with.”  He says the firm offers a “comprehensive, mission-matched product range” with local technical and sales support and next day delivery across the UK.

More from Peter Foulkes on +44 (0)1 612 661 172 or peter_foulkes@eu.giti.com

More from Manheim

Manheim Auctions is to expand its commercial vehicle auction programme to Bruntingthorpe with its first van, truck and plant sale on Friday 18 June.  More than 250 entries will include car-derived vans, panel vans, mini-buses, tippers, 7.5 to 18 tonne rigids, tractor units, mobile workshops, access platforms, compressor units and cable trailers.  Vendors confirmed so far include BT Fleet, Royal Mail, Lombard Vehicle Management, Lombard Asset Management, Northgate Vehicle Sales, NVR Fleet UK and TLS Vehicle Rental.  “I am confident that Bruntingthorpe will prove a very popular location with both commercial vehicle vendors and buyers in the months and years to come,” said Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Remarketing

More from Andrew Andersz on +44 (0)1 865 343 100 or andrew.andersz@thejjgroup.com

Trailer Innovation 2011 award entries

UK-based trailer-makers and their suppliers are being urged to take part in a pan-European award scheme designed to recognise and reward innovation in trailer engineering.  There are five categories in the Trailer Innovation 2011 awards: concept, chassis, body, components and safety.  The judges are editors of ten leading European road transport magazines, including the UK’s Commercial Vehicle Engineer. Among previous UK prizewinners in this biennial awards scheme are Silvertip Design of Richmond, North Yorkshire, and Denby Transport’s Eco-Link semi-trailer.  The closing date for entries is 30 June, with winners announced at the huge IAA commercial vehicle show in Hannover, Germany.  This runs from 23 to 30 September 2010.  The full story on Trailer Innovation 2011 is in Commercial Vehicle Engineer, now online at www.cvengineer.com

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

Iranian firm wants to buy parts

Markaz Mashin sells heavy vehicles and plant in Iran and wants to buy parts from a UK supplier.  The firm is looking for Komatsu, Caterpillar, Cummins engine, hydraulic and transmission parts.  It also buys and sells turbochargers and their service kits and parts.

More from David Croxson on +44 (0)2 073 449 230 or dcroxson@smmt.co.uk

25 more trailers for Micheldever

Micheldever Tyre Services, which says it is the UK’s largest car and van tyre wholesaler has already taken 16 new trailers this year; 15 sliding bogie skelletals and one box van from Montracon.  Now it has 25 more stepframe curtainsider trailers on their way.  Until a little over a year ago the firm only bought used trailers.  That policy changed and led, at first, to two new step-frame Montracon curtainsiders and then many more.  A mix of replacements and additions, the curtainsiders are progressively going to work, distributing tyres to the firm’s 12 wholesale warehouses and 49 Protyre retail sites across the UK.  They will move over six million tyres a year.

More from Trevor Longcroft on +44 (0)1 202 840 662 or tlongcroft@aol.com

Commercial vehicle equipment for Egypt

Nile Wheel and Automotive, an established and very well-connected Egyptian firm wants a UK partner.  NWA wants to find to work with a UK company that can supply a range of commercial vehicle equipment for assembly and manufacturing in Egypt.  The firm is Egypt’s main supplier of wheels in Egypt and also handles bus parts, including seats, interiors, door mechanisms, prop shafts, chassis and suspension parts.  It sells to original equipment makers and the aftermarket.

More from David Croxson on +44 (0)2 073 449 230 or dcroxson@smmt.co.uk

Strong interest in new long-haul tyre

GITI Tire says the European launch of its new GLD617 long haul drive-axle tyre at the recent CV Operator Show went very well.  “The new, cool-running  tyre attracted a lot of interest,” said Peter Foulkes, marketing manager.  The new tyre will be available later this year in a variety of sizes and Foulkes is confident that the firm will convert a lot of the early interest into orders.

More from Peter Foulkes on +44 (0)1 612 661 172 or peter_foulkes@eu.giti.com

New opportunity for crane hire operators

Altec Worldwide has built a new type of mobile crane that is now available for UK crane operators to try.  Built on a 32-tonne Iveco Trakker 8×4 truck chassis from Hendy Van and Truck, the new crane was at last month’s Bauma Show in Munich..  Altec says this is one of the first telescopic cranes for construction use built on a regular heavy truck; it gives operators a cheaper and more flexible alternative to a purpose-built crane chassis.  The demonstrator has an operating height of up to 42m, and a lifting capacity of 36 tonnes.  An optional extra jib extends the lift height to 58.5m and a manned platform can allow two people to work at that height.  Altec says the new crane will prove particularly interesting to crane rental fleets and construction operators that run their own fleets.

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

New Cheetah from Cartwright

The Manchester-based Cartwright Group has unveiled its latest Cheetah trailer, the Cheetah Fastback.  The firm says this is the most advanced aerodynamic trailer in the industry with independent trials showing fuel savings of between 9 and 10% over a standard box trailer.  The Fastback has a normal flat roof at the front of the trailer, with the rear half tapered.  A tapered chassis allow the trailer to maintain its cubic load capacity and high-lift air suspension helps meet loading dock heights.  The Cheetah comes with van, curtainsider or fridge box bodywork.

The first two four metre high Cheetah Fastback trailers are working for TNT in Germany and Holland.

More from Celeste Clarke on +44 (0)2 476 228 881 or celeste@centurypr.co.uk

Better results for Optare

Bus maker Optare plc just issued final results for 2009, showing a “marked improvement” in the firm’s performance.  Revenue rose 49% to £79.8m, with an EBITDA loss of £3.6m, in line with expectations.  The operating loss improved 11% to £4.9m.  Optare also slashed net debt by 25% and the sale of its Rotherham site should cut this further.  The firm says orders are at a 12 month high with more in prospect, on the back of product and market developments.  Closing a factory and streamlining manufacturing has hiked production efficiency by 70%.  The firm can now look forward to “improved trading in the second half of 2010 and in 2011 and 2012 as market demand recovers,” according to John Fickling, non executive chairman.

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

Walker wants a UK distribution base

Walker Products, a US firm making emission controls and sensors wants to set up a new UK distribution centre for automotive parts made in the USA.  Its £4m European sales include £1m to the UK from a Birmingham office.  Shipping from the US cuts inventory availability, so the firm wants to set up a UK base to handle all its European sales.  Walker employs 300 in 31 US sites and says the UK base might employ 25.  Though the firm would prefer a “stand-alone” it will consider a partnership or joint venture deal, depending on the added value.

More from Paul Earley on +44 (0)1 212 430 220 or pearley@walkerproducts.com

IEL wants a UK parts supply partner

Inter Equipment Limited, based in the Jebel Ali Freezone of the United Arab Emirates buys construction crane and truck parts for US Army projects.  It wants a supplier or trade partner in the UK to help find engine parts, filters, alternators, batteries and other heavy truck items for Komatsu, Kawasaki, Mercedes, International, JCB, Caterpillar, Terex and Grove Crane.  The firm’s ISO certified operation has an exclusive supply deal to the US Army in Afghanistan and Iraq and also sells into Pakistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

More from Binu Kunnel on +971 50 653 6165 or binu@interequipment.com

Security is key as fuel card fraud hits £40m

Keyfuels, which says it is one of the UK’s largest independent diesel bunkering firms, wants businesses to improve fleet security as the cost of fuel card fraud hits £40m a year, up more than 6% over the past two years.  The firm has new card security systems including On Line Authorisation technology, to stop fleet businesses falling victim to card fraud.  This system uses fuel card data in real time and shows any irregular transactions so that fleet managers can act quickly.  “Fleet managers should ensure their fuel cards have the necessary security features or fraud could end up costing their business a great deal of money,” said Peter Bridgen, MD at Keyfuels.

More from Tara Wright on +44 (0)8 454 567 251 or taraw@acceleris-mc.com

Pakistan importer wants tractor and engine parts

Ahmad Traders in Lahore, Pakistan imports and distributes automotive some agricultural tractor parts and wants UK suppliers for Massey Ferguson and Perkins engines.  It is looking for fuel injection gear, piston rings, cylinder liners and engine overhaul kits for Perkins 200, 300, 400 and 1100 series engines.  It also wants parts for Massey Ferguson 200/300 series tractors.

More from Usman Ahmad on +92 42 37 722 455 or sales@ahmad-trader.com

Commercial vehicle equipment for Egypt

Nile Wheel and Automotive, an established and very well connected Egyptian firm wants a UK partner.  NWA wants to work with a UK company that can supply a range of commercial vehicle equipment for assembly and manufacturing in Egypt.  The firm is Egypt’s main supplier of wheels in Egypt and also handles bus parts, including seats, interiors, door mechanisms, prop shafts, chassis and suspension parts.  It sells to original equipment makers and the aftermarket.

More from David Croxson on +44 (0)2 073 449 230 or dcroxson@smmt.co.uk

Mayor unveils design for London’s new bus

Boris Johnson, mayor of London has unveiled the final design of the new double-deck bus for London.  Based on the Routemaster, the bus will be 15% more fuel-efficient than existing hybrid buses, 40% more efficient than conventional diesel double decks and much quieter on the streets.  Wrightbus and Transport for London have worked with Heatherwick Studio which has done much of styling work.  Wrightbus engineers are making a static mock up of the bus, to be complete later this year.  The first prototype is due late next year.  The new buses will start work in early 2012.

More from www.tfl.gov.uk

And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback column reports that the zoology department at the University of Oxford is hosting the Sixth International Hole Nesting Bird Conference in July.  Ben Haller, who received an email informing him of this, wonders how the hole-nesting birds will find out about it, given that few of them have internet access.

More from www.newscientist.com


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