The final countdown

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2012

The CV Show enjoyed a successful comeback last year and exhibitors are gearing up for the 2012 event later this month. James Dallas previews at the expected highlights
With the countdown to the 2012 Commercial Vehicle Show underway, the organisors are once more confident of pulling in a profit from the event, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 24-26 April.
Last year the show received strong support on its return to full size and finished £300,000 in the black. More of the same is on the cards.
Show manager Rob Skelton tells What Van?: “We’re expecting the same level of profitability as
last year.”
He also claims the floor space for sale is almost fully booked with just a few stands on the periphery remaining open.
“We’re 1500m² up on where we were last year,” he says.
Overall the show will cover a slightly larger area than 12 months previously – 44,000m² compared with 41,000m².
Apart from Volkswagen, all of the major van manufacturers have taken stands at the exhibition, although it Ford, just like last year when it unveiled the new Ranger pick-up, that is set to steal the show.
This time around it is to reveal its next-generation Transit (see preview on p16), the van that has dominated the UK’s commercial vehicle market for almost half a century. The Blue Oval’s new range of LCVs, designed and engineered in the UK, is on track to go on sale before the year is out, with van derivatives set to hit showrooms before the minibus based on the Tourneo Custom Concept that Ford displayed in Geneva.

“This is a massive year for us – we’re revealing the evolution of our commercial vehicle range,” says a spokeswoman.
Joining the Transit on what will be Ford’s biggest-ever stand at the CV Show – covering 1805m² – will be the latest Econetic Fiesta Van with emissions cut from 95g/km to 87g/km, and a selection of short-wheelbase van conversions produced at the manufacturer’s Southampton plant.

Picking up the slack

Content to leave its more glamourous peers, such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford and Volkswagen, to battle it out for the highly specced leisure end of the pick-up sector, Isuzu continues to target the customers who need a durable, capable workhorse.
At this year’s show the brand will unveil its D-max pick-up, which will replace the Rodeo when it goes on sale in June.
The D-max will be powered by redeveloped common rail diesel engines, which the manufacturer claims will deliver improved emissions and fuel economy as well as more accessible power and torque. Prices will start from £14,499 and stretch up to £21,499, with four trim levels and a choice of three body styles including an extended cab version joining the single and double cab models. Top-spec Utah models get heated leather seats and parking sensors.
The firm’s UK boss William Brown says: “The D-max will deliver in every key area that matters to those in farming, construction and other outdoor industries.”
The brand is confident the D-max will build on the success of the Rodeo, of which 2431 units were shifted in the UK last year (up 11% year-on-year), making it Europe’s biggest market for the first time.
The new model will continue to appeal mainly to owner/operators – at least 50% of customers are expected to come from the farming community – but a spokesman says the brand is also “working on targeting larger fleets”.



Scaling up

Another no-frills but eagerly anticipated launch at the CV Show will be the V Series Loadhopper minivan from Chinese brand DFSK, which follows hot on the heels of the October 2011 arrival of the smaller K Series Loadhopper range.
The V Series is 15% bigger than its sibling, and marketing boss Peter Seaward says it too will be available in van, single- and double-cab pick-up and tipper guises, although the model on show in Birmingham will be a minibus because “this is what we got from China”. The full line-up, however, should have arrived in DFSK’s 28 dealerships by October.
Seaward says 150 K Series Loadhoppers have been sold so far with demand strongest for pick-ups, which are filling a variety of roles from cherry pickers to milk floats. Customers fall into two groups, small traders such as gardeners, florists, bakers and delivery companies, and local councils and government bodies.
The Loadhopper is the first minivan to come to market in more than five years and DFSK claims: “Interest has been very high from minivan owners who now urgently need replacement vehicles.” The company aims to sell 1000 units annually over the next five years.
With a turning circle from
8.8m and payload capacity up to 900kg, Seaward describes the Loadhopper as an “incredibly efficient cargo vehicle”.
Joining the newcomer on the stand will be the full K Series line-up as well as conversions carried out by Welsh dealer
and development specialist Better by Miles.

Marketing boost

Citroen was the first major manufacturer to commit to the CV Show with the brand saying the event plays a key role in its marketing strategy.
Commercial vehicle boss Scott Michael says: “We were sceptical last year but were pleasantly surprised. The format is right; fleet managers and procurement people like it.”
Citroen will display facelifted Berlingo and Dispatch models to coincide with their arrival in showrooms in April.
The stand will also feature a Euro5 Berlingo XTR+, the brand’s cheaper, front-wheel drive alternative to a 4x4 vehicle, which it claims can cope with most off-road conditions such as crossing building sites or negotiating dirt tracks but does not come with an “economy disadvantage”. The model costs £15,010 excluding VAT.

Spaced out

Supertrucks is to debut its 2012 Space Van at the Commercial Vehicle Show. Based on a Euro5 Citroen Relay, the low-loader, which is two feet closer to the ground than a Luton van, according to chairman Peter Wright, features a revised front end and side door option and boasts a payload of 1260kg and cavernous loadspace of 20.4m³.
As part of Citroen’s Ready to Run scheme, the Space Van is available to customers at the manufacturer’s dealerships.
Wright recognises that the market for Space Vans has “vast potential” but 90% of Supertrucks’ business still comes from its traditional trade of making glass-carrying vehicles.
Its stand will also showcase its new glass-carrier conversion, which is based on a long-wheelbase, high-roof Ford Transit and is one of an order for 25 from Glass Solutions.
It features Supertruck’s latest glass-carrying rack and incorporates its new quick-retracting access ladder system – an option priced £197 excluding VAT.

Show lowdown

Eminox specialises in making diesel particulate filters (DPF) for commercial vehicles. Therefore the widening of the London Low Emission Zone to include vans from January led to a peak in demand for the firm’s services as owners of 3.5-tonne vans in particular retro-fitted systems to comply with Euro3 emissions rules.
Marketing manager Kathye Henderson claims Eminox carried out around a third of the 20,000-plus retro-fits to large vans, with each one costing between £2000-£4500. As she explains, for most operators buying a ready-made replacement was not an option.
“Most customers have converted or specialist vans they need to keep,” she says.
With diesel particulate filters requiring regular maintenance to preserve their low emissions, and consequently their LEZ compliance, Eminox will be offering filter service advice at the CV Show.
“If filters become blocked it can lead to an increase in fuel consumption and ultimately to permanent damage that would require replacement,” warns Henderson. “Checking the system’s warning lights is essential as the length of time a filter can run between services is variable.”
Eminox’s DPFs come with a two-year guarantee and reconditioned filters then carry a 12-month warranty.
Low-carbon technology firm Ashwoods is to launch its in-cab Ecodrive+  driver training device in Birmingham. It claims the system can increase fuel savings and cut CO2 emissions by 15% each through a red/amber/green LED display integrated into the instrument cluster.
Ecodrive+ gives both live and long-term feedback (over a period of three minutes) and issues two verbal warnings to drivers frequently registering in amber and red before sending a penalty report to the fleet manager.
Marketing boss Victoria Davison claims that in trialling the system “we’ve seen penalties go from 350 a week to zero”.
But because Ecodrive+ does not include tracking technology, Ashwoods says it is not perceived as “invasive and punitive” and thus does not offend trade unions, which prohibit British Telecom and Royal Mail from using telematic systems. Both companies have trialled Ashwoods’ device.
Ecodrive+ costs £250 plus a subscription fee ranging from £15 a month over 12 months to £9 over 72 months.
Elsewhere at the NEC Mobil Delvac will be highlighting the
fuel economy benefits of its synthetic oils especially developed for LCVs during trials at Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, Cobra will showcase a range of Thatcham-
approved safety and security products for commercial vehicles, and Eberspacher, recently appointed the UK distributor for Wigam, will display a range of the company’s air-conditioning products for commercial vehicle workshops.
Fleet management systems provider TomTom Business Solutions will flag-up its partnership with the Freight Transport Association in support of the FTA’s Van Excellence Programme, lift specialist Ratcliff Palfinger will exhibit three new products for vans, and racking firm Tevo will bring three fully fitted-out vans plus a trio of systems on plinths, which will be on sale to visitors during the event.
The stage is set for the 2012 Commercial Vehicle Show to build on its successful comeback last year.


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