The Commercial Vehicle Show 2017 takes place between 25 and 27 April at its usual home, the NEC in Birmingham, and this year’s event is set to be bigger than ever.
Building on steady growth over the last few years, David Crawford, the show’s sales and marketing manager, says floor space for 2017 will increase by 5,000m2 to cover 55,000m2 of the UK’s largest exhibition centre.
Despite significant absentees, including major light commercial manufacturers Mercedes, Nissan, Vauxhall and Iveco, Crawford points out that truck manufacturer MAN will give a UK debut to its first van – the VW Crafter-based TGE – in Birmingham, and is confident of at least matching the number of visitors, 21,000, that attended the 2016 show.
More than 400 exhibitors have signed up once more and Crawford says: “We are up on registration numbers.”
Following the 2008 CV Show, which preceded the financial crash and the subsequent cancellation of the 2009 event in the January of that year, Crawford says he felt “a cold wind blowing” through the industry, but he claims he does not detect the same atmosphere now, despite the Brexit-induced market uncertainty.
“We opened for bookings in July and the confidence has remained,” he says. “It’s still a growth market.”
Below is a round-up of just some of the highlights lined up for the 2017 CV Show at the NEC later this month.
Not surprisingly, the new VW-developed Crafter large van (in case anyone still doesn’t know, the last one was based on the Mercedes Sprinter) will be the star of the manufacturer’s stand. On display will be a right-hand drive short-wheelbase, medium-roof panel van and a left-hand drive factory-built dropside, which should make its way to the UK in right-hand drive mode early next year.
Visitors will also be able to see a new Crafter converted into a Mobile Service Clinic van. These vehicles, which went into service at the end of 2016 based on the old Crafter, allow servicing and repairs to be carried out at a customer’s premises as part of the brand’s extended-hours offering.
Also making its debut in LHD will be an E-load Up! compact electric van, which offers 1.0m3 of load space and a 360kg payload. There are no plans as yet to bring the city van to the UK but VW is taking it to Birmingham “to have the conversation” about its market viability.
Southampton-based conversion specialist VFS will use the Commercial Vehicle Show to promote the forthcoming opening of its second factory in Wakefield, Yorkshire, in August.
Marketing manager Ashley Morris claims the facility will enable VFS to expand by opening up the Midlands and north to the business.
With the two centres up and running, Morris says VFS will be positioned within 120 miles of Birmingham from the south and 100 from the north, and be 50 miles from Manchester, 60 from Liverpool and just 15 miles from Leeds. He adds that the Wakefield site will be within easy reach of Immingham docks, a major import point for the likes of Renault, Peugeot and VW, “so it makes the manufacturers’ choice for VFS easier”.
Morris says 2016 was VFS’ best year in terms of conversions, with 8,000 units completed compared with 6,500 the previous year. “We do 40% of the total (conversion market)
now,” he claims, “so there’s another 60% to look at – much of which is in the north.”
On the VFS stand visitors will be able to peruse a new lightweight aluminium tipper –
that’s 160kg lighter than the company’s previous offering, so improving payload. Options with it include cages, cranes and secure load compartments, and Morris says it is light enough to be adapted for double-cabs without impairing N1 regulations that would prevent fitting options such as tail lifts. He says the time is right for the launch of a lightweight body to counter the extra weight of new light commercials caused by AdBlue tanks and extra safety equipment.
VFS will also launch an all-steel Budget Tipper at the NEC aimed at the entry-level market, such as spot hire (short-term rental and hire firms) and owner-drivers.
Morris says it will still carry the three-year VFS warranty and has attracted interest from Iveco, LDV and Ford dealers as well as from Renault and Renault Trucks.
Tranzaura, which provides driver management software equipment, is to launch a new platform to enhance operators’ training processes at the show.
Branded KATE (knowledge, awareness, training, education), the tool is a smartphone-based app that delivers information and training to drivers when they are on the road to avoid downtime.
Features include a 90-second safety video that drivers view just before setting off in the morning. HQ is notified the driver has watched the video and answered the embedded questions to demonstrate understanding of the training.
CEO Mike Price explains that the app bridges the gap between training and health-and-safety modules, which take up time and keep drivers off road. He added it also helps fleets show they are compliant.
In all, the product consists of 12 videos but Price says companies can also upload their own content for their drivers’ core function, which could be working as an engineer for a utility company, for example.
Racking specialist Tevo is to branch out in a new direction at the CV Show by launching Modul Fleet, a smartphone-based fleet management app, for its customers.
Businesses can use the app for scheduling, according to Tevo, to keep track of employees’ movements and to fix appointments. It can handle invoicing and undertake stock inventories too. Used in conjunction with an on-board diagnostics (OBD) dongle, the device also monitors driver performance.
Tevo is also to launch its Modul-Floor system at the NEC (pictured), which it claims provides an alternative to ply-lining cargo bays. Tevo claims the floor material, a sandwich construction with high-friction aluminium plates surrounding a lightweight core, joined together with glue, is a new innovation in the industry, although similar click-lock floor systems are commonly used in offices and homes.
The system works on rails for quick and safe installation of racking systems, according to Tevo, and requires no drilling through the vehicle body, which avoids corrosion and protects residual values, it claims.
Tevo will also showcase an upgraded Modul-Connect electrical installation for van load areas and an ultra high-strength steel folding-shelves system for delivery vans.
At last year’s CV Show Toyota announced it was “Back in Business” in the LCV market with the launch of the new Hilux pick-up and the Proace medium van, the successor to the Hiace.
This year, the brand vows to “show what they (the new models) can do” with the announcement of a new converter programme – details of which it is keeping under wraps until the doors of the NEC open on 25 April.
Since the 2016 event Toyota has established a network of 22 LCV specialist sites and claims to have trained 900 dealership staff in light commercial sales.
The company will also give a UK show debut to its seven-seat Proace Verso VIP (pictured), which it says will serve as a chauffeur-driven airport shuttle.
Market leader Ford will once more have a considerable presence at the exhibition. Top of the bill will be the six-speed SelectShift auto transmission the brand is introducing to 130hp and 170hp versions of its 2.0-litre Ecoblue engine on Transit Custom and FWD Transit models. Prices, excluding VAT, start from £24,980 for the Transit Custom Auto, £26,605 for the Transit Auto, and £27,955 for the Transit Chassis Cab Auto.
The manufacturer will also display its Transit equipped with Intelligent AWD; like the automatic transmission, this is available on 130hp and 170hp variants. Ford claims fuel consumption from 32.8mpg represents an 11% improvement over the old 2.2 AWD Transit. Prices start from £33,055 excluding VAT.
The brand will showcase a Transit Custom Sport Van, which is available as an L2 van, L1 and L2 DCIV (double-cab in van), and as L1 and L2 versions of the passenger-carrying Tourneo Custom. The custom Sport Van comes with the 170hp Ecoblue engine and is priced from £29,230 without VAT, with SelectShift auto adding on £1,200.
Visitors will be able to view the Transit Custom Colour Edition too (pictured), only 400 of which will come to the UK. Available in four colour schemes, all examples are SWB, standard-roof vans based on the 290 Trend series and feature the 170hp engine as well as enhanced chassis settings taken from the Sport series. Prices start from £26,730, excluding VAT.
It’s a big show for truck manufacturer MAN as it gives a UK debut to its first van in Birmingham. Based on the new VW Crafter, the TGE means the manufacturer can now claim to have a range of commercial vehicles spanning from 3.0t to 250t.
The TGE will be available in front-, rear- and all-wheel drive and is powered by a 2.0-litre engine with outputs of 102, 122, 140 and 177hp. Torque levels go from 280Nm up to 410Nm.
Chassis-, single- and crew-cab versions are up for grabs and the TGE comes in two wheelbases, three roof heights and three lengths. The range’s top load volume is 18.4m3 and maximum towing capacity is 3.5t. MAN says the core normal roof-height (high and super-high are also offered), short-wheelbase model has a payload of 1.5t.
MAN will showcase three TGEs on its stand: a 3.5t tipper crew cab, a 3.5t panel van with windows, and a 5.0t panel van. It will reveal prices for the full line-up at the show before full production starts in June and the vans arrive in showrooms in September.
Man calls the TGE a “fleet proposition” and says it will target customers who already operate its trucks. It will emphasise its ability to provide out-of-hours servicing, as it does for HGVs, through its network of 67 aftersales sites.
LCV accessories manufacturer Trucksmith has announced it will launch a dropside body for the Renault Trafic at this year’s CV Show in Birmingham. Called the Target, the new product line is based on the low-roof platform-cab model and offers a loading space underneath the loadbed, which is accessible via a tailgate.
The upper area has 400mm-high foldable sides, while the top deck is measured at 2,850x1,890mm. The Devon-based What Van? Award-winning converter said the new storage space is 1,260mm wide and 505mm deep and has been designed to store bulky loads such as strimmers.
Constructed from pressed and welded steel, the loadbay is then mechanically fixed to the vehicle’s floor to form a one-piece structure.
While pricing information hasn’t been announced at this stage, Trucksmith said the accessory will match Renault’s four-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Fleet Source and FORS
Driver training provider Fleet Source delivers compliance auditing for the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) in its capacity as a member of the FORS Community Partnership.
To gain accreditation as Silver members of FORS, customers must undertake Fleet Source’s Van Smart training course. Fleet Source is exhibiting at the show for the first time to present its services to a wider audience. Van Smart is particularly targeted at drivers in urban areas, and Fleet Source is the primary training provider for Transport for London.
“We want to get Van Smart into the public domain,” says Ed Holliday, sales manager.
The focus of the show for FORS itself is on promoting the suite of training schemes for both drivers and managers that come under the FORS Professional umbrella – consisting of e-learning, workshops, courses and practical reference guides, which all drive home the three core best-practice principles of safety, efficiency and environment.
A key selling point FORS wants to communicate is that contract specifiers are more likely to choose scheme members for work contracts because they have demonstrated good practice compliance.
Citroen and Peugeot
The product line-ups of the two PSA brands follow similar paths and both launched electric versions of their long-wheelbase L2 light vans in February. The Citroen Berlingo Electric L2 550 LX (pictured) and the Peugeot Partner SE L2 Electric join the existing L1 Electric derivatives.
The longer vans offer 250mm more load length than the L1 versions (2,050mm versus 1,800mm) and the load volume goes up from 3.3m3 to 3.7m3. With the folding passenger bench seat utilised, load length extends to 3,250mm and volume increases to 4.1m3.
Payload is 552kg and both L2 vans cost £22,180, excluding VAT, but with the Government’s Plug-in Van Grant included. Only the Citroen Berlingo Electric L2 will be on show at the NEC, however. Peugeot is to concentrate on promoting the strength of its range – particularly the new Expert medium van, one of which will appear in police livery.
Citroen will display its equivalent, the Dispatch, and will also celebrate 70 years of the Citroen Type H van, which UK light commercial vehicle boss Jeremy Smith describes as the “spiritual predecessor” to the Dispatch.
The telematics supplier is to launch its KP2 device at the NEC, which it claims combines a dashcam, telemetry, GPS and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Smart Witness claims KP2 breaks new ground by providing visual recording and professional-grade data capture to enable the ability to review warnings given to the driver, which can then be used for driver training. The device also offers Bluetooth, wi-fi connectivity and up to 16 cameras.
The main attraction on the stand will be the new-generation D-max pick-up.
The brand has caused a stir by jettisoning its old 2.5-litre diesel engine in favour of a 1.9-litre unit, leading to concerns the truck may be underpowered – its 164hp output, however, matches that of the previous powertrain. Maximum torque has dropped though, from 400Nm to
360Nm, but UK boss William Brown insists: “When you drive it it’s engineered for towing, so it feels more powerful because of the gearing.” The towing capacity of 3.5t is retained.
Brown also highlights the fact that the D-max will be the only pick-up on the market that does not require the addition of AdBlue to meet the Euro6 emissions standard.
He points out that a 64kg weight saving from the new engine leads to an average payload increase of 50kg across the range and enables the inclusion of a spare wheel.
The D-max continues to be available in single-, extended and double-cab modes and in D-max, Eiger, Yukon, Utah and Blade trim levels. Prices (excluding VAT) range from £15,749 to £26,999.