CV show review: Plenty for fleets at CV show

CV Show 2017

The CV Show once again played host to thousands of van and truck operators keen to see the newest vehicles, products and services. 

Highlights included the global debut of DAF’s new CF and XF tractor units and the official unveiling of the all-new MAN TGE.

Isuzu launched the D-Max pickup and at the Peugeot stand three new body derivatives of the Partner were displayed.

Ford’s new six-speed automatic transit also made an appearance as did the all-new Volkswagen Crafter.

There was no shortage of electric vehicles this year, either.

The Renault Master ZE debuted alongside a revised Kangoo ZE with longer range and LDV showcased the ED10 in people carrier form. Mellor Coachcraft used the show to exhibit its Orion E 16-seat electric bus, with a 100-mile range.

Tyre manufacturers came in force with Michelin, Continental, Hankook and Goodyear all displaying new products alongside new players in the UK market such as Giti and Apollo.

Citroën predicts L2 Berlingo will boost EV sales by ‘a few hundred’ each year

Citroën is looking to improve its presence in the electric van sector with the introduction of a long-wheelbase version of the Berlingo.

The L2 Electric is now available to order and features the same range of 106 miles as the L1 Berlingo, with an expected real-world range of 80 miles.

Pricing starts at £22,180 for the L2 (£21,750 for the L1), but when the Government plug-in grant and discounts are taken into account, fleets can expect to pay less than £15,000, according to Citroën.

Helen Lees, head of electric vehicles at PSA, said: “We’ve not focused on electric as a manufacturer. We sell through a small network of 20 dealers that are trained and we are expanding that number. Our volume expectations are still relatively small but we expect to see a big shift in demand soon.”

Lees bases that forecast on the fact that Citroën is receiving a growing number of enquiries from fleets and is doing plenty of demonstrators.

“Previously a company would order one to be seen to be green. But now they are ordering in the fours and fives so they are more serious about EVs, particularly in London as it pays for itself,” she added.

Electric vans work best for fleets doing at least 45 miles per day, Lees said, because the return on investment is based on running costs. Too few miles and the fleet would not get the returns. But at this level, the vans would pay for themselves within four years.

Citroën expects to sell “a few hundred” electric Berlingos per year. Early adopters had been large corporate fleets and local authorities but it sees an opportunity with tradesmen whose vans spend much of the day parked up.

Apollo goes digital with launch of truck and bus tyres

India’s biggest tyre manufacturer has launched its truck and bus tyre range in the UK using a new internet-based sales model.

Apollo Tyres, which already sells Apollo and Vredestein car and van tyres in the UK and Europe through a network of dealers, decided to create a separate channel for its new range after looking for inspiration outside of the automotive sector.

“How do we crack the highly competitive, over-saturated market?” asked Apollo group head – global product management Benoit Rivallant. “We have to look at a new approach.”

After assessing the business models of the likes of Amazon and EasyJet and carrying out extensive tests with more than 50 fleet operators in six countries, totting up 250 million kilometres (150m miles), the company opted to sell direct and exclusively online.

“We wanted a lean, simple and transparent process,” said chief retail and marketing officer Marco Paracciani.

Fleets, leasing companies or dealers log on to the Apollo website and select their vehicle type, which filters the tyre options. Apollo will recommend the best tyre to meet their needs based on fleet experiences through the testing programme.

When the tyre quantity is selected, the website automatically gives a volume-based discount; there is no negotiating. The customer then chooses its delivery option.

“If the client plans it after one month, we will give an extra 1.5% discount because we can plan it into our production,” said Rivallant. “This will encourage them to order in advance.”

Further discounts are offered if the company pays before delivery; if they choose to pay after 60 days, a premium is added. Pan-European fleets can secure additional savings if they are travelling in Hungary and stop off at Apollo’s new tyre plant to collect their order.

“We think lean and we will reward the fleet for helping us,” Rivallant said. “We have stripped out everything that does not add value and we are passing the savings on to customers.”

He believes Apollo could be a market disrupter by offering premium tyres – “they are indexed to best-in-class” – at a non-premium price. They are also re-grooveable and re-treadable and come with a five-year warranty.

“The view that if you want quality it means a high price is over. This is a way to provide quality tyres at an affordable price,” he said.

Apollo is looking to take a 5% share of the UK truck and bus market within the next three-to-five years. However, it does not intend to replicate this model with its car and van tyre business.

“We aren’t here to disrupt our existing business plans; we will keep that business the way it is,” Rivallant said.

Choose safety now – don’t wait for autonomous vehicles, says Mobileye

Autonomous vehicles will not come to market as quickly as people think, according to the company helping to develop the systems needed to make them work.

Gil Ayalon, regional director Europe at Mobileye, said: “A lot of people are waiting for autonomous cars but there are many questions still to answer before they come to market. It won’t be as fast as people think.”

He should know. Mobileye linked up with BMW and Intel (which is now buying the company) last year to put self-driving cars into full production by 2021. The trio later committed to putting 40 autonomous test cars on public roads in the second half of this year.

“But there are systems that can be installed within one hour that can do the job and reduce up to 80% of accidents,” Ayalon added.

He believes there is not sufficient awareness of ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) because “people do not buy or appreciate safety – everyone thinks they are a good driver; this is a problem”.

Mobileye’s aftermarket system costs around £800 with discounts based on volume. It claims average return on investment of between six and 12 months, with savings from prevention of accidents and mitigation of accident costs.

“Then there is the reduced insurance costs, less maintenance and less admin, as well as indirect costs from the company reputation,” Ayalon said. “And if the fleet takes it seriously and enters the driver behaviour programme, they can also significantly reduce fuel, replace fewer brakes and tyres, and increase uptime.”

Telogis introduces Spotlight app

Telogis debuted its new Spotlight app at the show which has been developed to give operators mobile transparency of their fleet.

The app is available free on Apple and Android devices for all users of Telogis Fleet.

Sergio Barata, general manager for EMEA at Telogis, said: “Spotlight puts all your fleet data into your hands. There’s no need to rely on email updates as the app can send push notifications instantaneously.”

Toyota launches conversion scheme for off-shelf or bespoke solutions

Toyota launched a new conversion scheme at the show which offers off-the-shelf or bespoke solutions through approved partners. 

The first five converters were announced at the show but Toyota LCV manager Gareth Matthews told Commercial Fleet the company plans to approve between 20 and 30 once the scheme gains momentum.

A tipper body for the Hilux will be available alongside a refrigerated Proace and a series of racking solutions, when the scheme goes live in January.

These models will be available through the new Toyota Trade Plus programme, supplied as complete units ordered through any Toyota retailer and delivered ready to go. “These products have been introduced as a result of customer demand. We see this as a natural continuation of the LCV strategy we launched last year,” said Matthews.

The company is also exploring further options with the Proace platform and confirmed a Hilux Dropside will be added to the line-up.

New DAF CF and XF tractor units cut fuel by 7%

DAF’s new CF and XF cabs use less fuel, have more power and feature an enhanced trim with a redesigned instrument panel.

Preston Feight, DAF president, said the savings add up to a 7% reduction in fuel and were attributed to a number of improvements, including new engines, rear axles and driveline software.

“It started with the exterior design. We have improved the aero-dynamics with a new sun visor, grille closure, elongated wheelbase extensions and radiator flow guides,” he said. This contributes to a 0.5% improvement in fuel efficiency.

The single biggest saving came from the new MX-11 and MX-13 engines, which require less rpm at cruising speeds. They also offer additional torque in the highest gear, which means they can stay in top gear for longer. This promotes smooth and efficient driving.

Together with a new turbo charger and oil module, the engines reduce fuel use by 3%.

The engines, which are certified for biodiesel fuels, are also lighter and smaller. They help the vehicles to heat up more quickly which increases the de-NOx efficiency, enabling them to operate in their highest efficiency mode, knocking another 1% off fuel consumption.

DAF has also developed a new family of rear axles and gearboxes with a higher gear spread and multiple driving modes – the saving equates to 1.7%.

New driveline software with predictive cruise control, predictive shifting, ecoRoll and driver performance aids results in another 1.5% improvement. 

Finally, a new air-con system, which uses residual heat in the cooling system, adds another 0.2%.

Feight said: “We have also enhanced the chassis space with a larger low deck ground clearance. The 4x2 tractor has 100kg weight saving and the 6x2 130kg.”

DAF has improved the interior trim with new interior lighting modes: night drive, relax and floodlight. 

New country manager plots Fiat van growth

One day before the Commercial Vehicle Show, Fiat Professional announced a new UK country manager. Richard Chamberlain was promoted from head of sales after his predecessor, Alejandro Noriega, became country manager, Fiat and Abarth.

Only seven months earlier Chamberlain had made the switch to Fiat from Renault Trucks, where he was LCV brand manager. 

He was attracted by the opportunity to manage a full range of vans but recognised that Fiat Professional was heavily dominated by big corporate business.

“That’s good, but does leave you exposed if there is a change in the marketplace,” he said.

In the past few months, he has sought to develop relationships with the leasing sector and with SMEs, appointing a leasing manager and a service, maintenance and repair manager to increase “our touchpoints and visibility in the market”.

He added: “We have ambitions for growth. I’ve not come in to baby-sit the business. But it’s about marginal gains and small improvements.”

Chamberlain is looking to increase business through Fiat’s conversions programme, pointing to the advantages offered by the Ducato’s flexible chassis and the fact it does not need AdBlue to be Euro 6 compliant. 

Fiat Professional already has a tipper and dropside as a factory solution and Lutons through approved converters. Next up is a box body, while Chamberlain also sees an opportunity for refrigerated vehicles.

However, he has no immediate plans to bring electric vans to the UK, although Fiat has a number of projects elsewhere. 

“There is no payback for the customer and the investment in the network with training is a massive undertaking for a few hundred vehicles,” he explains.

“When Government makes the necessary steps on the Operator’s Licence and driver licence for the increased gvw, then we will look at it.”

Ford to start Transit Custom PHEV trials with five London fleets

Ford has placed a handful of plug-in electric Transit Customs with five fleets in London and is in talks with other organisations as part of a 12-month pilot.

The multi-million pound project starts this autumn and will involve up to 20 vans. It is designed to explore how lower-emission plug-in hybrid electric vans could support cleaner air targets, while boosting productivity for operators in urban environments.

The first wave of fleets comprises Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police, Clancy Plant, Addison Lee and British Gas. They will run the new Ford Transit Custom PHEVs which reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of inner-city trips.  

Equipped with range extenders, the Customs are not limited by battery range, making them capable of the longer journeys (up to 250 miles) that may be required by businesses and bluelight services.

Using telematics, each Transit PHEV will collect data on its financial, operational and environmental performance to help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles could be maximised.

Ford has also appointed Mark Harvey as director of its Urban Electrified Van programme – a new position. Harvey will work with TfL, the participating fleets, and the Ford development team, to bring manufacturer, consumer and city together to better understand EV use in a megacity.

“There is a strong pull from customers for a solution to deliver improving emissions and air quality and avoiding the diesel issues,” Harvey said. 

LDV assesses viability of second electric vehicle

LDV is undertaking a feasibility study to assess the opportunities offered by launching a second electric vehicle, the EG10.

If feedback is positive the EG10 will be launched as an electric full-size people carrier with range of more than 100 miles. 

It would accommodate seven passengers and would target taxi companies, small-parcel deliv-ery firms and families. LDV will offer the vehicle in two equipment grades – Flagship and Elite. 

Mark Barrett, LDV UK and Ireland general manager, hopes the EG10 will launch within the next 12 months. “The decision will be based on feedback from the market and meetings with potential customers to find out what they want,” he said. 

Meanwhile, LDV’s EV80 electric panel van, which was unveiled at the 2016 show, is close to coming to market. Barrett said it was undergoing “final testing” with an anticipated launch within the next few months. Powered by a 56kW battery, the EV80 has a 130-mile range and payload of 900kg.

LDV parent company SAIC is investing more than £2bn in clean air technology which will result in plug-in electric options across its van range plus, in the heavy vans, hydrogen fuel cell.

“They already have hydrogen but the infrastructure isn’t here yet,” Barrett said. 

Nexus expands its offering to include HGV rentals

Vehicle rental provider Nexus has expanded its portfolio with a new HGV rental proposition.

The company has access to 50,000 vehicles across the UK including tractor units and construction vehicles.

“This is a brand new proposition for the market, driven by customer demand. We can now supply everything a company needs with wheels – making us a one-stop shop for mobility,” said David Brennan, Nexus chief executive.

Nexus developed a new system to handle the compliance element of HGV rental such as O-licences and loader checks but rentals will be handled through the existing booking system.

The customer base is predicted to vary from short-term replacement haulage vehicles to longer-term construction and civil engineering products.

Goodyear’s real-time tyre monitoring

Goodyear showcased its Proactive Solutions business, a new service combining telematics and tyre pressure monitoring.

Announced in November last year, the system allows fleets to monitor their vehicles and tyres in real-time.

Aljosa Sitar, Proactive Solutions sales manager, said: “The unique element of this product is the algorithm which can predict tyre failure up to a month before an issue actually occurs.”

Data is fed back to the operator directly and the system can be used with any brand of tyre.

The company was also promoting its new re-treading guarantee whereby it promises to accept all casings for re-treading, provided they have no visual damage. 

“We are now self-sufficient in casings and no longer need to rely on getting them from third parties. This means we can guarantee the integrity of that tyre from day one through to its fourth life,” said Marc Preedy, commercial director at Goodyear. 

He added: “With prices up by 25%, due to a spike in the cost of raw materials, it makes re-treads far more attractive in a wholelife costs model.”

Ingimex duo offer increased payload

Ingimex unveiled its new T6-Pick-up and T6-Tip-up bodies for the Volkswagen Transporter chassis, increasing payload to one tonne and 1.2 tonnes, respectively.   

The new bodies have been designed exclusively for the VW T6 chassis with tubular bulkheads and underbody foot-steps aligning with the cab’s profile, and with multiple load securing points incorporated into the new design of both the deck and bulkheads, giving users an extensive provision of payload security and safety. 

“Vehicles are getting heavier and trying to maintain a payload while keeping the vehicle under 3.5 tonnes is a challenge,” said Justin Gallen, Ingimex managing director.

Gallen added: “By keeping the vehicle under 3.5 tonnes operators benefit from enhanced fuel efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and the flexibility to use any driver. Our task is to ensure suitably high payload capabilities are retained.”

New X Multi tyre

Michelin has replaced its most popular heavy truck tyre with the newly launched X Multi tyre.

The company says it can return 15-20% more mileage than the current series, at no extra cost.

Four key fitments are available at launch: 315/70R22.5 multi-position and drive, and 385/55R22.5 steer and trailer. Additional sizes will be added throughout 2017.

MAN targets 3% share with its first van

MAN is looking for a 3% share of the large panel van sector when it launches its first LCV in September, equating to 3,500 annual sales.

The TGE, based on parent Volks-wagen’s Crafter and built at the same plant in Poland, gives the truck manufacturer an opportunity to extend its business with existing customers that have a van need as well as appealing to new organisations, according to MAN head of van Stuart Beeton.

“The priority is to introduce it to our existing bus and truck customers where we can give them added value – that’s the low hanging fruit,” he told Commercial Fleet. “However, we also need to approach new customers who want to treat their LCVs like trucks.”

The aftersales support and extended operating hours – typically 16.5-hour/six-day working weeks – offered from the truck and bus dealer network will be the key differentiator between the new MAN TGE panel van and those offered by rivals, added Beeton.

“There is a frustration with ‘car-up’ networks in terms of booking times; they want instant responses to keep their vehicles on the road and our network has a truck can-do attitude,” he said.

“We will have at least 17 centres of excellence for the LCV range.”

The MAN TGE will go on sale in September with weights from 3.0 to 5.5 tonnes, in standard, long and extra-long lengths, plus normal, high and super high roof heights, with options of FWD, AWD (both 3.0-4.0 tonnes), and RWD (3.5-5.5 tonnes). All engines are 2.0-litre diesel with outputs from 102PS to 177PS, with eight-speed auto and six-speed manual options.

Pricing starts at £23,990 for the 3.0-tonne panel van and from £26,490 for the 3.5-tonne van with a three-year/unlimited mileage full manufacturer warranty.

“We treat LCVs like HGVs. We will have mobile 24-hour roadside assistance to keep vehicles moving, aftersales and technical support, repair and maintenance packages, and compliance and safety support,” said Beeton.

MAN will also add telematics and fleet management services, including alerting fleets when vehicles are due for service.

A factory-produced minibus will be introduced towards the end of next year, although converter options will be available from launch.

MAN UK managing director Thomas Hemmerich said an electric version was also planned, although timescales had yet to be agreed. 

DVLA urged to open up more data for licence checking

Licence Check has called on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is open up its data files to enable software suppliers to bring together key information and help their customers run compliant fleets.

Richard Brown, Licence Check managing director, gave an example: “Very few people know there is a unique identifier on the back of their licence. If the DVLA would release the data to us, we could check if it is a valid card, if it has been stolen, lost or duplicated. It would be another way to authenticate that it is a genuine card.”

Brown would also like to see more information on vocational drivers, such as training records. Fleets taking on new drivers should be able to access online records in one submission for CPC and training, for example.

Licence Check has grown its turnover by 50% over the past three years, both through signing up more fleets, but also by existing customers taking on more services, such as Davis (Driver and Vehicle Information Services), a cloud-based fleet management solution to manage driver and vehicle compliance.

Licence Check has published a 140-page guide to fleet management to provide advice and information to fleet decision-makers. Also it will shortly launch a licence verification qualification course to train fleet and transport managers on licencing, CPC and “anything to do with the driver and a vehicle with a licence requirement”, Brown said.

“It will help them to manage their drivers better,” he added.

His latest project is to assess how apps might help to change a driver’s behaviour or mood by understanding key trigger points which indicate stress or anger. 

“We are looking at how apps might combine with telematics so if it identifies that a driver is driving more aggressively, it changes the mood in the cab, such as the music, to calm them down,” he said. 

“We are talking to the University of Nottingham and development will happen this year so it is probably 12 months away from launch.”

Lex breaks through 100,000 CVs

Lex Autolease has broken through the 100,000-unit threshold for commercial vehicles in its risk fleet for the first time, representing growth of more than 15% in the five months since the publication of the Commercial Fleet CF25 at the end of 2016.

According to head of commercial vehicles Richard Tilden, it has gained business in both the SME and the corporate sectors.

“We now have 105,000 CVs,” he said. “We are seeing a lot of demand for conventional contract hire, although there is a place for daily rental and flexi-lease where vehicle contracts are based on the life of their business contracts.

“Customers are cautiously optimistic . They are still ordering vehicles; our order bank is 20% higher than it was this time last year, which takes our deliveries up to six months away. ”

Lex Autolease is winning business by offering out-of-hours, truck-level servicing to fleets who are “treating their vans like little trucks”, Tilden added.

It is also increasingly sharing best practice by understanding its customers’ operations and applying those learnings to other fleets, particularly on health and safety and compliance.

“We are seeing a lot more demand from customers for advice and support, especially electric vehicles and telematics,” Tilden said. “We can help customers to re-risk the process, future-proof their fleet; but at the same time they still expect value for money – they are demanding more for their money.”

EV experts to boost fleets’ knowledge of Renault vans ahead of ‘explosion’

Renault is looking to employ two electric vehicle specialists – one for the north, one for the south – as it prepares for a surge in interest in its EVs.

Mark Dickens, Renault UK head of fleet sales operations and remarketing, said: “They will support dealers when they have corporate enquiries – there is a need for knowledge on electric vehicles. We are on the cusp of it really taking off; we’ve having more professional conversations about EVs, especially in the public sector.”

He believes the Kangoo ZE will go from a ‘last mile’ proposition to a full journey with its real-world extended range of 124 miles, but the Master ZE, now scheduled for an early 2018 launch, would be primarily for the fulfilment of final mile deliveries.

“Since the announcement of Master ZE, our communications with corporate customers have significantly ramped up. Most of those conversations start with that van,” he said. “The main issues are about how businesses actually go about introducing the vans – infrastructure, charge points and journeys. That’s where the industry needs some help.

“We are doing a lot of work with the London boroughs – they all have an agenda to bring EVs into their fleets.”

Dickens predicted that the demand will “explode” next year, driven by product products and inner-city emissions charging. While today it was all about London, the ‘metro mayors’ who were elected earlier this month across the UK all have an agenda on emissions, he added.

The search for two EV experts are not the only changes Renault is making to its fleet structure. This year, it has expanded its team of area business managers from six to 10 with responsibility for fleets with 25 to 100 vehicles.

“In the past they were purely customer-facing; now they are dealer-facing as well,” Dickens said. “We have to ramp up business through our dealer network.”

Renault has also employed a new manager for rental and mobility, focusing on daily hire, Motability, car share and connectivity for cars and vans, and a new national fleet sales manager.

LeasePlan showcases checking app

A new vehicle-checking app took centre stage on the LeasePlan stand, which also sported the company’s new branding.

The mobile app is designed to replace traditional paper-based walk-around checks, giving the driver a digital platform to record and report vehicle defects.

“A digital solution allows the fleet operator to view when checks have been completed and have instant awareness of any defects on that vehicle,” said Mark Lovett, head of LCV at LeasePlan. 

Defects are also reported directly to LeasePlan’s repairer network who can start to organise the repair.

“Our focus is to improve driver safety while reducing the burden of costly downtime. This app enables us to do both,” Lovett added.

It’s yet to be named but will be available to LeasePlan customers next month at a cost of £1 per week, per vehicle.

Auto Windscreens gets ADAS backing

Auto Windscreens has gained support from Mazda, Volkswagen and Toyota for its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) recalibration solution.

The company has developed relationships with more than 4,000 UK dealers, each providing recalibration of ADAS cameras when a windscreen is replaced.

“New vehicles are increasingly being fitted with ADAS cameras which require recalibration when a new windscreen is fitted. Often the recalibration needs dealer-level diagnostics or equipment to reset the system safely,” said Rupert Armitage, managing director of Auto Windscreens. “We felt aftermarket solutions were not effectively mitigating risk so we set up our recalibration service.” 

Customers can choose whether to have their windscreen replaced at home, work or at a fitting centre and then visit the dealer for recalibration or Auto Windscreens will carry out the whole job at the dealership.

To benefit insurers and fleets, the billing is handled by Auto Windscreens so only one invoice is generated for the entire job.

TomTom Bridge’s smart integration

TomTom launched Bridge Hub, a new device allowing full TomTom Bridge integration with smartphones, tablets or in-cab displays.

Bridge is a hardware platform that incorporates navigation with customised business applications such as route planning, vehicle checking and delivery confirmation. 

Radius app fully customisable

Radius Payment Solutions launched a new vehicle check app for drivers to perform their daily checks.

It integrates with the company’s Velocity vehicle management portal and Kinesis telematics system.

The app is fully customisable allowing checks to be as short or long as desired.


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