CommercialFleet

Demand for new ice cream vans remains strong, says specialist builder Whitby Morrison

Specialist ice cream van builder Whitby Morrison has maintained a strong order book this year despite the Coronavirus having a significant impact on its customers.

The business, which builds around 85 ice cream vans per year has maintained its regular annual order for Mercedes Sprinter chassis cabs, it’s preferred base-vehicle.

Operations director Ed Whitby said “Covid has had a huge impact on our industry, given that virtually every outdoor event, from concerts and county shows, to fairs and festivals, has been either postponed or cancelled completely.

“What we saw, though, in the period between March and September when ice cream van operators tend to make their money, was something of a return to the 1970s – so instead of parking up at the same location for several days at a time, many of our customers were back on the streets and selling delicious, freshly pulled ice cream right outside people’s homes.

“Of course, some operators have had a really tough time, which is very sad. For others, though, who’ve gone back to their roots, it’s worked brilliantly. There have been a lot more ice cream vans out and about in residential areas than in recent years, and that’s been really good to see.”

Whitby Morrison’s ice cream vans are hand-built and finished to meet each operator’s precise requirements, a process that usually takes six weeks. A new vehicle typically costs anything up to £85,000.

Mertrux Truck & Van has been supplying Whitby Morrison with Sprinters for more than a decade.


Virtual Fleet & Mobility Live 2020: The virtual fleet expo

Video: Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers and events director Chris Lester introduce the 2020 virtual event and give a preview of what it will look like.

The annual event was due to take place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 6-7 but as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and after consultation with the visitor advisory board, Fleet News has taken the decision to hold an online event in November instead.

Among the exclusive features at the virtual event will be a special EV & Hybrid Showroom which will bring to life the latest electric models with interactive displays that will enable you to get up close to the UK’s best fleet suppliers.

Visitors and exhibitors will be able to communicate through live chat, participate in live Q&As, ‘visit’ branded booths, and find out about industry-leading technology solutions.

The decision to go virtual was made easier by the fact that around 40% of fleets already have, or expect to shortly have, a company travel ban that would prevent them from attending live events this year, while a similar proportion did not anticipate attending live events until sometime in 2021.

 

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