British CV Show in crisis

Date: Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Organisers of 2009’s British Commercial Vehicle Show are in turmoil after the withdrawal from the event of all the major truck manufacturers because of the dire state of the economy. Four of the truck companies that have pulled out — Mercedes-Benz, Iveco, Renault Trucks and Isuzu Truck — also market light commercials and their LCV line-ups will not be represented either.

 

Turning to commercial vehicle manufacturers who sell vans, but not trucks in the UK, Vauxhall — Britain’s biggest van manufacturer — will not be attending. On a more positive note, Nissan, Citroën, Fiat, Renault and Peugeot among others will all be at the event, to be held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, on 28 - 30 April. Ford too is listed as an exhibitor, as is Volkswagen. “Our stand will be 15 to 20 per cent smaller than the one we had last time, but our 2008 stand was our biggest ever at the show,” says a VW spokesman.

“We are extremely disappointed that some of the truck makers are not going to be there, but we respect their decision,” says Robin Dickeson, PR manager, commercial vehicle issues, at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). “There will still be over 350 exhibitors at the NEC and the show will go on.” Over 28,000 visitors attended the event in 2008.

The exhibition is held by the CV Show Partnership. It consists of the SMMT, the Road Haulage Association and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, a professional section of the Society of Operations Engineers.

Several of the companies who will not be present this year stress that they plan to return to the exhibition in the future. “We look forward to welcoming customers to our stand in 2010,” says Ian Jones, managing director, commercial vehicles at Mercedes-Benz UK.

“We remain committed to supporting the CV Show and believe that under normal circumstances it represents a fantastic opportunity to exhibit products to a wide customer base,” says Nigel Emms, director, brand and communication at Iveco’s UK operation. “The difficult choice we have taken so far as 2009 is concerned has been in the light of the extraordinary economic and market conditions.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling’s autumn pre-budget statement seems unlikely to stimulate the commercial vehicle market in the coming months. While the cut in VAT — reclaimable on vans — may aid company cashflows, the planned increase in fuel duty of 1.84p/litre in April 2009, the same month as the CV Show, can do nothing but harm. The Freight Transport Association describes the Chancellor’s planned duty hike as “a cynical and disgraceful targeting of commercial vehicle operators to help fund his other tax giveaways.”



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