In the past few years the Commercial Vehicle Show has hosted major van launches such as the Ford Transit Custom and Courier, Vauxhall Vivaro and Renault Trafic.

Although there may not be so many high profile product unveilings at this year’s event, which runs from 14-16 April at the Birmingham NEC, the organisers are confident they can build on the success of last year’s exhibition, which attracted 18,884 visitors to see 435 exhibitors.

Rob Skelton took the helm as show director following the retirement of Bob Sockl after the 2014 show. Sockl’s efforts in steering the show safely through the recession and back to rude health saw him inducted into the Hall of Fame at the What Van? Awards 2015.

That the CV Show is once again the key date on the industry’s calendar is illustrated when sales and marketing boss David Crawford says that by the end of February this year all the exhibition space, bar a few perimeter shelves, had been snapped up, which represented an even quicker rate of sale than last year.

He says the organisers this year promoted the show more to business fleets and SMEs as well as to large fleets in order to attract “the middle ground”, as well as the major players.

Crawford explains: “Their business isn’t vans but they use vans – we reached them through print ads but predominantly through email and business listing search tools.

“It is important the show evolves to reach news people.”

He says the organisers have also used social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to a greater extent this year to promote the event.

Crawford admits it is difficult for owner drivers to take a day out of their working week to visit the show, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday, so says most visitors are CV operators from the fleet and business sectors taking the opportunity to meet industry suppliers.

The organisers claim three quarters of visitors are fleet owners, senior managers or engineers, with most having some purchasing responsibility. Over half of this audience is exclusive to the CV Show, according to the organisers, as they choose not to attend any other UK industry exhibition. For exhibitors, they say the annual event delivers thousands of key buyers that can’t be found at any other meeting place.

Once more, aside from the main exhibition halls, there will be dedicated sectors for service, maintenance and repair in Workshop and temperature-controlled equipment in Cool.

Crawford says for 2015 a new shelf scheme has been introduced as well as a redesigned on-site registration – tweaks made to modernise the layout. There will also be an expanded outdoor display area.

The CV Show has retained its international recognition from OICA, the international organisation of motor vehicle manufacturers, which, Crawford says: “Recognises the show and the importance of the UK industry.”


Show stoppers

Vauxhall provided one of the highlights of the 2014 CV Show with the unveiling of its Luton-built Vivaro medium van and this year the show debut of its car-derived Corsavan is sure to attract plenty of interest.

Prices for the van start from £11,858 for the entry-level 1.2-litre 70hp Corsavan, step up to £13,108 for the 1.3 75hp version with Start/Stop, move onto £13,558 for the 1.3 95hp Start/Stop Ecoflex, which is the most economical derivative with official CO2 emissions of 90g/km and combined cycle fuel consumption of 83.1mpg and peak at £14,558 for the 1.3 95hp Corsavan Sportive with Start/Stop.

The introduction of mandatory ESP brings with it standard safety features such as straight line stability control, cornering brake control, drag torque control, brake assist system, active rollover protection, hydraulic brake fade assist and hill start assist.

Customers opting for the Sportive trim level get extra kit including air conditioning, alloy wheels, sports seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and cruise control with a speed limiter function.

Vauxhall has made a raft of new options available with the new Corsavan such as electronic climate control, a Technical Pack with forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear view camera, traffic sign recognition and a following distance indicator. An upgraded seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is available as are black alloys, rear parking sensors and a Winter Pack with heated seats and steering wheel.

The manufacturer will also display a range of new bodytypes on the Vivaro, including doublecab, long wheelbase high roof (L2H2) and a Combi nine-seater. It will also launch a new programme designed to help customers order specialist conversions of the Movano heavy van.

Ready-bodied Relay Ready-to-Run tipper, Luton and dropside models, upgraded to Enterprise trim from April, will feature on Citroen’s seven-vehicle stand. Teletrac Smartnav and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking telematics, air conditioning, cruise control with variable speed limiter, a perimetric alarm, five-inch colour touch screen/DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, audio streaming and an MP3 compatible CD player are now part of the package.   

Citroen’s first Euro6-compliant vans will also make their debuts and it would be no surprise to see a facelifted Berlingo light van on display following its unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March or a small Nemo van with the £630, excluding VAT, Grip Control option added in the same month.

Fresh off the back of a strong year in 2014, when it increased sales by 50% to 31,867, according to the SMMT, Peugeot returns to the CV Show after an absence of two years. It will parade the revised version of its biggest seller, the Partner light van, which is now available with Euro6 engines.

Six engines power the Partner and passenger-carrying Partner Tepee. The most efficient model is a 100hp 1.6-litre unit. It emits 106g/km of CO2, while a more powerful 120hp version emits 112g/km. A single petrol engine is offered – a 98hp 1.6-litre unit which emits 147g/km of CO2. Styling changes include a new front grille that’s similar to the rest of the Peugeot line-up, while new reinforced protection has been applied to the bumper surface.

Visitors to the stand will also be able to peruse a range of conversion bases modelled on the Boxer heavy van, including chassis cab, chassis crew cab and floor cab.

Standard specification includes driver airbag, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth and a driver’s seat adjustable for rake, reach and height and fitted with lumbar support and an armrest. Payloads are 1410-2230kg for the chassis cab, 1620kg for the chassis crew cab and 1870-2335kg for the floor cab.

The star turn on the Mercedes-Benz stand will be the new Vito medium van, which will go on sale in the UK on the show’s opening day – the 14th April.

All examples of the model will be on view – panel van, crew van, Tourer Pro and Tourer Select. Mercedes will also showcase its Sprinter heavy van and Citan light van, so expect to see the new high-specification Citan Sport, which went on sale in February, priced from £16,490, excluding VAT.

The Sport is offered in long panel van models with 90hp and 110hp diesel engines. Standard items include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, Sport mats and badging, daytime running lights and chrome inserts.

The manufacturer will display a range of chassis cab models on a stand outside the exhibition centre.

Having completed the roll-out of its new LCV product line-up Ford will use this year’s CV Show to launch its next-generation telematics product, which it has developed in partnership with Telogis.

The new platform will be available as a dealer-installed option through Ford’s network of specialist Transit Centres and is warrantied and serviceable at all Ford dealerships.

The manufacturer says that through its integration into the diagnostics system, Ford Telematics can distinguish between personal and business mileage for HMRC compliance.

It also claims the product can optiomise the efficiency of LCV fleets and cut fuel costs by 20%.

Ford says the telematics device can be fitted to all van makes – not just Fords – which will broaden its appeal because most fleets employ more than one brand.

Ford will also make six vans available to test drive at the show, including a Transit dropside and AWD. All will be fitted with Ford Telematics.

In addition the manufacturer will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Transit at the exhibition with a convoy of historic vans.

Isuzu will exhibit the second version of its limited edition Blade D-max pick-up, having sold out of the initial run of 400 models.

Southampton-based LCV converter VFS will once more take a stand at the CV Show in 2015 having proclaimed its attendance in 2014 a success. The firm supplies OEM bodywork to Ford, Vauxhall, Mercedes, Renault, Nissan and Fiat. It implements a policy of obtaining European Approval where possible as opposed to National, ensuring volume limits imposed by the National scheme are avoided. For low volume bespoke vehicles not covered by European or National approvals, Individual Vehicle Approval’s (IVA) are performed at a local VOSA facility.

VFS specialises in tippers, dropsides, Lutons, box vans, curtain sliders and a range of bespoke bodies.

Prominent at the NEC will be examples from the new Ford Transit One Stop (OSS) model range, featuring tippers, dropsides and curtainsliders assembled at VFS’ facility in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

LCV roof rack and accessory specialist Rhino Products is using the 2015 CV Show to launch its new aluminium roof bar range, the KammBar. Rhino claims its  KammBar is the most aerodynamic bar it has manufactured to date. It says the product  is lightweight, extremely strong and anti-corrosive. KammBar is designed to work with the existing range of Rhino´s accessories.

Visitors will also be able to check out the firm’s new Safe Step range, which is aimed to resolve the health and safety issues surrounding the loading and unloading of roof-mounted goods. Rhino’s latest LCV towbar range will also be displayed.

Vehicle-mounted equipment manufacturer Penny Hydraulics will launch its new range of fully hydraulic PH Cranes in Birmingham. Introduced to meet the needs of the 3.5 to 7.5 tonne UK commercial vehicle market, the PH Crane range offers over 470 lightweight, user-friendly models between 0.5 and 5.0 tone metre lifting capacity with boom reaches up to 6.83 metres, according to the firm.

Penny Hydraulics will be promoting the safety benefits of vehicle-mounted cranes by pointing out that in the motor transport sector 38% of injuries are caused by manual handling and could potentially be prevented with the use of the firm’s load handling equipment such as swing lift cranes, hydraulic cranes, load lift, side lift and tail lift platforms for use on pick-ups, dropsides and vans as well as its range of electric winches.

Making its debut at the CV Show will be Xtreme Sales. Based in Christchurch, Dorset, the business launched a year ago and supplies light weight, durable aluminium hard tops manufactured by Alu Cabs in South Africa, priced from £1900, excluding VAT and 6mm  aluminium underbody protection for pick-up trucks made by Russian firm Rival and costing from £1300, excluding VAT. Xtreme Sales says its products are designed to turn soft roaders into vehicles that can handle tougher environments.

The company also supplies Rhino Bumpers from Rhino 4×4, which are finished in a hard-wearing powder coat, fitted with a standard winch mount, integrated fog lights, a 5mm aluminium protection plate and two recovery points. Xtreme Sales says the Rhino Bumper is tough enough for off-road work and can be fitted with a 12000lb winch. Xtreme Sales’ director William Rhodes says the moulded design of the lightweight (45kg) three-piece bumper reduces the understeer issues that square-shaped bumpers can create.

The firm also supplies heavy-duty double-beadlock alloy wheels from Hutchinson, which have a background on military vehicles and on pick-ups participating in the Dakar Rally.

The wheels are suited for use over soft terrain such as sand, snow or mud. Rhodes claims there is a gap in the market for reinforced pick-up trucks due Land Rover ending production of its Defender in December 2015.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will not be at the show Tevo will display a Caddy Maxi on its stand fitted out with its new range of ultra high tensile steel storage system, which it claims is 20% lighter than its previous equipment. It will also show a new locker range with an integrated lock that can be installed vertically or horizontally. The unit features gas pump doors that open vertically to save floor space. Alongside the Caddy Maxi Tevo will exhibit a medium wheelbase, high roof Mercedes Sprinter with its new interior lighting system and will introduce its range of workshop equipment, such as a tool trolley, which is an area the business diversified into two years ago.

With Euro6 emission technology becoming mandatory for LCVs in September 2016, Adblue supplier Top Blue will be making its debut in Birmingham.

The company offers an all-inclusive service to fleets consisting of delivery, storage tank and installation. It claims there is no real payload issue with fitting an Adblue tank to a van as it weighs just 20kg.

Top Blue expects the European market for Adblue to grow by 25% every year until 2025.

We have focused on just a few of the highlights here but many more of the leading lights of the LCV industry will be at the NEC. The likes of Arval, Tevo, TomTom Telematics, Renault, RAC, Manheim Remarketing, Fiat Professional, Paneltex, Iveco, Lex Autolease, Eberspacher, Leaseplan, ATS Euromaster and many more will be offering advice and deomonstrations of their latestproducts, services and initiatives.