Following the scaled-down CV Operators’ Show last April, the exhibition is to return to full size at Birmingham’s NEC in 2011 for the first time in three years, from 12-14 April.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Road Haulage Association and the Society of Operations Engineers jointly own the show.

Show organiser Bob Sockl of Crystal Communications said about three-quarters of the UK’s leading van manufacturers have already booked space, including Ford, Peugeot, Isuzu, Fiat, Renault, Nissan and Vauxhall.
He is confident the exhibition will fill halls Four and Five of the NEC, an area of 42,000sqm.

“We are already 50% ahead of bookings for the CV Operators’ Show. The appetite is there for a full size show,” he said.

The exhibition will include a Workshop section dedicated to aftermarket suppliers. “The section will be the common denominator between the CV Operators’ Show and the CV Show,” said Sockl. “So the CV Show will contain everything the operator show did.”

Geoff Dunning, chief exec of RHA, said the show was “by the industry for the industry” and would cater for all parties interested in the CV sector. He added that next year the CV Show should benefit from there being few other events at home or abroad that could be regarded as a competitor.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, highlighted the opportunity the CV Show presents for the sector to show off its importance to the economy.

He said: “There are few points
in the year when the industry can rally. It’s important to demonstrate the coherence, scope and scale of the road transport industry to the Government.”
Everitt stressed the Government risked forcing van makers out of the UK to cheaper manufacturing bases if it did not work towards easing CO2 reduction targets for LCVs. He claimed the proposal to cut emissions by more than 30% to 135g/km by 2020 was “too much” and could drive manufacturers out as they sought to cut down costs to compensate for the expense of the technology required to lower emissions: “Our message to politicians is that we need to sustain the recovery.” He added that freeing up access to finance for smaller LCV operators would also be crucial.

Everitt believes, however, that market factors are becoming more favourable for the 2011 show as operators look to renew their fleets. The SMMT forecasts registrations of more than 211,000 this year, rising to almost 228,000 in 2011. Although these numbers fall well short of the 300,000 vans sold in 2007 they represent a healthy improvement on 2009 when sales slumped to around 186,000. The sharp dip in sales triggered by the downturn means used vans of up to three years old are now in very short supply – driving up RVs. As a result, according to Everitt, many operators will visit the CV Show with an interest in buying new vans.

Nick Jones, chief exec of the SOE, agreed that the steady improvement in the market augured well for the show.

He said all market sectors were picking up in volume terms with demand from food delivery operators strong and even the construction industry showing  “signs of life”.

However, he warned a potential dark cloud on the horizon could be the VAT rise set for January 2011, which could see operators rushing to bolster their fleets in December, leading to a sharp tail-off in sales in the new year.


The manufacturers’ viewpoint

The early indications are that most LCV manufacturers are keen to participate in the CV Show 2011 providing economic conditions continue to stabilise.
David Petts, Transit brand manager for Ford Commercial Vehicles, said: “ We plan to attend – we’ve paid our deposit – but we don’t know our plans yet.” He said Ford was likely to take its full range including new models to a full-scale show. “We’re interested if it’s a full-blown, proper CV show. Last year there were only 9500 visitors. It was not worth going.”

Renault said its budgets for 2011 had yet to be confirmed but that attendance at previous shows had proven good for business.

“We’ve got good, strong plans for it if we get the go-ahead,” said a spokesman.
Peugeot, as well as Renault, Fiat and Nissan, attended the CV Operators’ Show this year when many chose not to go. A Peugeot spokesman said: “We will take it [CV Show 2011] seriously and look at it accordingly. It is more than likely we will go.”Citroen, however, was more reticent, saying it would make a decision nearer to April.

Mercedes-Benz was confident it would present vans at the show with one caveat. “We are confirmed to be at the show but if there was another economic downturn we would review our decision. But we are positive about it,” a spokeswoman said.
Nissan said it would definitely exhibit and both Vauxhall and Fiat said they planned to attend.

Iveco said it supported the show, which was in its budget awaiting approval. It said its attendance would depend upon market conditions nearer the time.
VW?has yet to make a commitment to the show.