January 23, 2019

CV Show – and the public – celebrate commercial vehicles

While official figures have not yet been released, around 21,000 people were expected to attend the CV Show 2018, held last month at the NEC, Birmingham. Now in its 19th year, some 460 companies exhibited.

And, as the doors opened on the show, the results of a YouGov survey revealed that almost nine in 10 people (88%) said they believed their life would be negatively impacted if their use of at least one CV-driven service such as online deliveries was restricted.

The survey for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) uncovered the extent of British consumers’ reliance on commercial vehicles. It showed that 46% of respondents had directly benefitted from a commercial vehicle in the last 24 hours, with post and online deliveries the most popular daily uses. Some 79% said they benefitted from CVs at least once a week, with rubbish collection the most commonly recognised weekly use.

Commercial vehicles play an essential part in our daily lives – and in driving our economy. From the 1.8m sole traders who depend on their vans for their livelihoods, to the 17,228 ambulances that carry some 5m people to A&E each year, Britain’s CVs are responsible for keeping the country running. And, says the SMMT, more than 96% are powered by diesel and the latest low emission Euro VI models are delivering real world improvements in emissions in towns and cities across the UK.

Utility and delivery vans and trucks together move three times more goods than water and rail combined – contributing some £27.5bn to the UK economy.

The vast majority (84%) of respondents to the survey recognised the importance of CVs. And when presented with a list of situations, nearly nine in 10 (88%) said that reduced or restricted services from commercial vehicles would significantly affect the quality of their life. Less frequent rubbish collection was seen as having the most significant impact, while almost a third (32%) said the same about the idea of increased time to receive online deliveries.

As well as delivering essential services, Britain’s commercial vehicle fleet is increasingly serving growing demand for online purchasing, says the SMMT. The UK is now the EU’s biggest online retail sector, with consumers here buying some £67.3bn worth of goods and services online in 2017, and online sales are forecast to have made up 17.6% of all retail sales last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “There are 5m commercial vehicles on Britain’s roads and they play a vital role in powering our essential services. Britain’s CVs are the backbone of our economy, and manufacturers invest heavily in technology, with the latest CVs on our roads today the cleanest, safest and most advanced in history. For the sector to grow and continue to drive investment and jobs, government must maintain the right economic conditions, and help promote fleet renewal through the right policies and incentives.”

Fiesta van back – by popular demand

The Fiesta Sport Van is back, literally due to customer demand. Having ended production of the previous generation Fiesta commercial last year, Ford has reversed its decision to drop the model and reintroduced the car-derived Fiesta Van. Available with a choice of 125bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine or 120bhp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, the compact three-door van offers 1m3 of load volume and a payload of up to 500kg.

The Fiesta Sport Van will come with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment and connectivity system, plus it will be one of the firm’s first vans, along with Transit Connect, to benefit from FordPass Connect on-board modem technology. This provides on-board Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, along with improved telematic and diagnostic links. All of Ford’s vans will feature built-in connectivity by 2020. The van also offers Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Information Systems.

MAN adds rear-wheel drive options

MAN Truck & Bus has added rear-wheel drive versions of its new TGE van to the front-driven models launched last year. The addition of rear drive is important for the truck manufacturer as unlike parent company Volkswagen, it expects up to 60% of customers to opt for rear drive. The company has also unveiled an off-the-shelf bodied service called Vans To Go, which will offer dropside and tipper bodies from Ingimex, plus a Luton body from JC Payne. The conversions will be available from dealers as pre-built vehicles, carrying a single three-year/unlimited mileage warranty from MAN.

Nissan boosts range on e-NV200

Nissan’s e-NV200 electric van has been given a boost, with revised batteries offering a 60% increase in possible range. The 40kWh driveline has no effect on the van’s 705kg payload or its load volume, yet offers a range of up to 124 miles on a single charge. The van also features Nissan’s bi-directional charging technology, that allows operators to return excess energy from the battery back to the grid.

Commercials for Land Cruiser…

Toyota has moved into the all-wheel drive van market, with the launch of both three and five-door Land Cruiser Utility commercials. Both are powered by a 175bhp 2.8-litre diesel engine driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. The commercials offer payloads of up to 756kg with a towing capacity of 3.0-tonnes. A working specification includes steel wheels, full height metal bulkhead and non-slip floor tray. However the Land Cruisers do come with Bluetooth, air conditioning, cruise control and Vehicle Stability Control.

Celebrating 50 years of the Hilux pickup, Toyota has also launched a limited-edition version of the range-topping Invincible X model. The truck previews a new front end for Hilux, with a revised grille, bumper, front fog lights and underrun panel. The company was also among a growing number of manufacturers to offer an Arctic Trucks version of its pickup, riding on 35” all-terrain tyres, with wider arch extensions and bespoke suspension.

… and Shogun

Mitsubishi is to offer customers an even greater choice of all-wheel driven vans, with the launch of the Shogun Sport commercial. The Shogun Sport will be launched as a car in the summer, with the commercial version to follow. It is powered by a 181bhp 2.4-litre diesel engine and drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Specification includes adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, a 360° camera, leather interior trim and a smartphone link. At the rear the van body delivers a 1.5m3 load volume, while the vehicle has a towing capacity of 3.1-tonnes. Prices will start from £34,000 plus VAT later in the summer.

All for an Easy Life…

Renault’s Pro+ commercial division continues to offer customers an increasing range of conversions and services to make buying a van easier. This now includes a range of sign writing options, under the Easy Life for Professionals banner. Ordered with the van, the offer uses three standard templates that allow the customer to add their logo, services offered, website address and business telephone number to each side of the van and to the rear doors. The signs are printed and applied as part of the import centre logistics process, so the van is ready for work as soon as it is delivered to the customer.

Renault also added to its range of Renault Tech factory conversions, with the addition of a Master Pharma van, developed in conjunction with Alliance Healthcare. The Pharma van offers temperature control with data recording, a washable, lightweight insulated lining and a temperature display.

There was also a Renault Tech Master Parcel conversion on show, developed with UPS. This features fold-up internal racking and a walk-through bulkhead, making deliveries easier and safer.

A more bespoke conversion on display was a Trafic-based aerial work platform, from accredited converter CPL. This delivers up to 9.2m of working height and the Trafic base ensures that even the tightest working areas can be reached.

Musso pick-up debut

The new Musso pick-up made an appearance on the SsangYong stand. To be launched this summer, the revised truck offers a 1-tonne payload with a 3.5-tonne towing capability in automatic transmission models. Available in double-cab, four-wheel drive layout only, the Musso is powered by a 181bhp e-XDi220 diesel engine with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Expect a high level of interior trim, along with the company’s five-year/limitless mileage warranty.

Conversions for all reasons

Specialist converters were widely represented at the show, demonstrating the versatility and range that they offer.

 With a 1-tonne payload, the VW T6 Transporter Tip-up (from Ingimex) is no slouch when it comes to work but it’s a good looker too with its colour-coded tipper body.

 CPD Bodies was showing its traffic management conversion based on Ford’s new low floor 3.5-tonne skeletal chassis, revealed for the first time at the show. It has a payload of 1200kg.

Not traditionally a feature of the show, the appearance of three Wellhouse Leisure camper vans underlined the growing importance of this sector. Similar conversions of a Trafic, Proace and Ford Custom were to be found on the Renault, Toyota and Eberspacher (who supplied the heating/climate control system) stands respectively.

LDV continues electric roll-out

LDV continues to expand its range of diesel and electric vans, following massive investment in battery technology by parent company SAIC in China. The company will launch a smaller EV31 full electric panel van next year in two wheelbases with body volumes of 4.8m3 and 6.1m3. With both AC and DC charging available, the van is said to offer a realistic 200-mile driving range.

The company is also looking at the feasibility of launching the T60 pickup in Europe, though this may have to wait for the launch of a new 2.0-litre, Euro 6d engine towards the end of 2019. This engine will also power the new SV63 van model, which will be available with gross weights up to 5-tonnes. The SV63, which will replace the current V80 line, will be offered with a choice of front or rear-wheel drive, in panel van and chassis cab layout.

D-Max gets Arctic treatment

Isuzu was the first pickup manufacturer in the UK to offer an Arctic Trucks conversion and the company has continued this offer with the latest D-Max truck. Just 10 of the AT35 double cab trucks will be offered in all-black Stealth trim. Of more interest to business users will be the introduction of the Yukon Luxe extended cab model. For just £1,000 over the standard Yukon trim level, the Luxe gets 18” black wheels, black and red leather trim and pro-lift tailgate  assistance.

Packs add value

Alongside a first opportunity to see the all-electric eCrafter, currently trialling with a number of customers in the UK, Volkswagen unveiled a range of Business packs for its Caddy, Transporter and Crafter models. Adding options such as alarms, rear parking sensors and air conditioning, each pack offers cost savings over the individual elements, providing business customers with improved driving environments and the potential for improved residual values.