Renault has developed a real taste for service-led initiatives, with not one but two launched in just over 12 months designed to make van operators’ lives easier.

The big one, unveiled in June, is the iCare package, a pay-as-you- go scheme addressing service, maintenance and repair across the Kangoo van, Trafic and new Master, on new vehicles or those under a year old that haven’t yet hit 12,000 miles.

Operators pay a month in arrears according to the actual mileage covered by a vehicle at a pre-arranged fee of around 3.5p per mile, with the mileage monitored remotely by the telematics system fitted when a company or individual signs up to iCare. There’s a one-off £160 fee for installing the equipment and telematics system.

Vehicles are fitted with a four-way communication button, one of which is assigned to Renault Assistance’s 24-hour call centre, which can immediately route the call to the appropriate agency, such as breakdown or tyre replacement services, or accident management. A second is connected to the emergency services, the third takes the driver to the iCare operational support desk for maintenance or repair issues, and the fourth button is designated by the vehicle owner, so can be assigned to a depot or head office. The iCare element co-ordinates all routine servicing and MoT work, and any extra maintenance issues, through Renault’s dealer network, and Renault will also hold electronic copies of all documentation.

All SMR work is included, excluding damage, neglect or abuse, and for an additional fee tyres can also be covered.

Renault’s iCare package follows closely behind the Pro+ dealer programme launched late last year. There are already more than 25 Pro+ dealers active across the country, with the French manufacturer looking to get that to 30 as soon as possible.

Pro+ dealers have extended opening hours to help business users carry out maintenance work while their van isn’t earning its keep, they have dedicated sales and aftersales business teams, larger stocks of commercial vehicles including conversions, which can be tested without needing a booking, guaranteed quotes within 48 hours on all work and all-makes servicing with capability of dealing with vehicles up to eight tonnes.

It’s an impressive line-up that’s designed to “address any concerns an operator may have about choosing a Renault”, according to Renault commercial vehicle boss Darren Payne.

Highly commended in this category is Fiat. We’ve been hearing for years about the firm’s plans to improve its dealer network, which hasn’t historically had the best reputation in the market, but now, thanks to a focus that’s included bringing in some of Fiat-owned brand Iveco’s truck dealers, we’re starting to see evidence from the marketplace that things are improving quickly.