Transport News Brief – Monday 18 February 2008

Transport News Brief Week eight, Monday 18 February 2008 January boost for van and truck registrations UK van and truck registration figures recently published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show a strong start to the year, with rolling 12-month van registrations at 338,351 and trucks at 52,573 units. These put vans up 2.7% for January and 3.3% for the rolling year, while trucks are up 51.3% for the month, with artic registrations rising 137.7%. “We’ve seen a strong start to the year, with truck registrations back to expected volumes,” said Paul Everitt, chief executive at the SMMT. “January’s figures are encouraging, it’s early days, but by the end of the year we may well have a total that beats the year-end average for each of the last 10 years.” More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or [email protected] Victory for Euro 5 deal Transport for London has agreed £2.00 congestion charge discounts for Euro 5 trucks. Starting from 27 October Euro 5 trucks will pay £6.00 a day rather than the £8.00 charge for older trucks. The deal lasts till 1 October 2010. At the same time, TfL says it will extend the 100% discounts for LPG and CNG powered trucks till January 2010. Euro 5 vans get a deal too, but lasting till January 2012. The SMMT, FTA and other people who’ve been lobbying for this have all welcomed the move. “Clearly incentives for the cleanest and latest technology make sense – they bring wider benefits than just better emissions; better brakes, less noise and greater safety, for instance,” said Robin Dickeson, manager, commercial vehicle affairs for the SMMT. More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or [email protected] Hybrid truck trial for Deutsche Post Mercedes-Benz says it handed the first two hybrid trucks to the Deutsche Post Group, which it says is the first logistics company in Europe to trial hybrid trucks in its operations. The trucks involved are an Atego BlueTec Hybrid and Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid. The trial will initially include DHL Express operations in the UK as well as mail transport in Germany, with more Daimler hybrids to join the DHL fleet later. At the same time, Mercedes says the use of AdBlue in some 100,000 of its Euro 4 and 5 trucks so far has already saved 700,000 tonnes of CO2 More from Ian Norwell on +44 (0)1 908 245 949 or [email protected] CV Show to be ‘an even bigger success’ Last week 4,910 people registered on the CV Show website for fast track passes for the Show. They will each get an advance copy of the CV Show Guide some three weeks before the event’s doors open, together with their ticket. “We’ve more people registering than we had this time last year,” said Claire Balch, CV Show co-ordinator, “which bodes well for attendance”. Previously the demand for Show Guides was enormous and we ran out by the morning of the third day, so it looks as though people are thinking ahead and making sure of their copies as soon as possible. The message is register soon if you haven’t already done so.” The organisers also say they’ve already successfully sold 99.5% of the available stand space, with two months to go before the Show opens. “This is great news because once again the CV Show will be an even bigger success this year than it was the last time”, said Claire,” it has grown more successful every year for the last nine years.” More from Claire Balch on +44 (0)1634 261262 or [email protected] Departmental delusion At a recent meeting on Whole Vehicle Type Approval, most of the people the Department for Transport invited from trade associations and industry bodies said that the DfT is deluding itself over the now infamous Type Approval By-pass. Once Whole Vehicle Type Approval starts, unscrupulous bodybuilders will be able to avoid the system and its costs by simply registering a van and then converting it, typically to a minibus. “That way, the bodybuilder avoids any safety checks and can undermine the entire system,” said Robin Dickeson, manager, commercial vehicle affairs for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The SMMT has been warning the DfT since last summer, but thinks the civil servants are deliberately ducking the issue and deluding themselves that “people wouldn’t do that” The SMMT’s own van maker members say that already some 40% of the nation’s estimated 10,000 minibus and crew-bus conversions follow the ‘by-pass’. “Unless the DfT wakes up and does something, it will create a system that penalises responsible firms while letting cowboys skimp and undercut them with potentially lethal vehicles. Ironically, this is the DfT’s take on legislation that is supposed to level the commercial playing field.” More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or [email protected] Collease takes its first new Stralis Norwich-based Collease Truck & Trailer Rentals is the first contract hire and rental fleet in the UK to take the new Iveco Stralis heavy truck model. The initial order comprises 37 Stralis Active Space 6×2 twin-steer tractor units with mid-lift axles. A further 100 new Stralis tractors are due for delivery before the end of June 2008. The deal, won by Iveco distributor Norfolk Trucks, follows the delivery of 23 of the previous model Stralis AS tractors last August. Collease will use its new trucks across a range of contract hire and long term rental agreements. More from James Keeler on +44 (0)2 083 991 184 or [email protected] New Actros gets PowerShift transmission as standard Mercedes says that as part of a package of ‘comfort, safety and economy’ changes, the new Actros truck model will get the PowerShift transmission as standard. The firm also says this is a first in the market in which the Actros competes. Mercedes has sold 550,000 Actros trucks in over 100 countries since its launch in 1996. More from Ian Norwell on +44 (0)1 908 245 949 or [email protected] Truckers meet the Chancellor People from the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association met Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer recently to plead for the Government to scrap its plans to hike fuel duty by a further two pence a litre from 1 April. The FTA and RHA, which together represent operators of over 300,000 UK trucks, wrote a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph, with 11 major groups representing industry and motorists. This said that at 50.35 pence a litre, UK fuel duty for diesel and petrol is already the highest in Europe, double the EU average and that the increase will cause ‘further serious difficulties’ for the transport and forecourt industries. More from Kate Gibbs on +44 (0)1 932 838 917 or [email protected] Scrap Dartford tolls says FTA The Freight Transport Association is angry that discounts for using the Dartford crossing are to be restricted to local residents and that the facility is not to be extended to local businesses. The FTA says that local industry, as daily users of the facility and providing employment and a contribution to the local economy, should also enjoy free transit. “We have always said that, since the construction of the crossing has long since been paid for, tolls at Dartford should be totally scrapped,” said Geoff Dossetter, director of external affairs for the FTA. For industry and motorists they are costly and inconvenient and the process of slowing traffic to collect a toll is very bad for air quality.” He says the discount scheme for local residents is good news and a step in the right direction but wants it extended to local truckers. “The continuing collection of tolls at Dartford is outdated, unnecessary and unfair and should be stopped.” More from Geoff Dossetter on +44 (0)1 892 552 255 or [email protected] MAN merges truck and bus divisions MAN says it has merged its Bus Division with MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, the firm’s truck division. The aim is to more rapidly exploit ‘synergies’ with the Truck Division. Joachim Dürr, previously managing director of the bus subsidiary is now senior vice president for corporate development in the MAN Group, responsible for the strategic development of procurement and IT. Detlef Romberg remains as head of bus sales. More from Dr. Detlef Hug on +49 (0)89 1580 2485 or [email protected] Experts advise MEPs on urban mobility The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism has held a public hearing on urban mobility policy. MEPs and invited experts looked at the ways they might use EU policy and technology to cut urban traffic congestion and improve local people’s quality of life. More from Jochen Hahn to race for MAN MAN says Jochen Hahn will drive a 1,000hp racing TGS truck for the firm in this season’s truck racing championship. Hahn finished last season in fourth place, driving a Mercedes. The first round of the FIA controlled championship will be at Barcelona on 10 and 11 April. And on 26 and 27 July the European Truck Racing Championship will return to the UK for the first time in nine years, with an event at Donington, the circuit at which UK truck racing started in 1986. More from Dr. Detlef Hug on +49 (0)89 1580 2485 or [email protected] Further interest rate cuts unlikely Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England has warned that UK growth is likely to be less than 2% by the end of the year. “The near-term outlook is one of inflation rising sharply alongside a marked slowing in growth,” he said. The continuing risk of inflation makes further interest rate cuts unlikely, though King says that the UK is unlikely to see a full-blown recession. More from ‘Excellent’ results as Paccar records 69 straight years’ profit Paccar says 2007 delivered its second highest revenue and net income in its 102-year history. The firm earned a net profit for 69 consecutive years, according to Mark C. Pigott, chairman and chief executive officer. “Paccar’s excellent financial results” came in a year that saw North American heavy truck sales down 45% on the previous year. For the full-year 2007, consolidated net sales and financial service revenues were $15.22bn versus $16.45bn in 2006. The firm’s return on shareholders’ equity (ROE) was 27.5% in 2007 and total shareholder return was 29.8 percent. In the last ten years, its shareholder return has averaged 22.7% year versus the S&P 500 Index average return of 5.9%. More from Martin Hayes on +44 (0) 2 074 948 050 or [email protected] VED evasion cost £79m in ’07/08 According to DfT figures released on Thursday, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency collected an estimated 98.5% of all potential revenue from road tax in 2007. However, the Conservative Party estimates that vehicle excise duty evasion is likely to cost the Treasury around £79m in 2007/08. More from Motor Transport Awards for 2008 Motor Transport says entries for its 2008 Awards competition are already looking good. There are 17 categories this year, including long-term stalwarts like Fleet Engineer of the Year and Haulier of the Year. There are also some new awards and some old favourites return: the Environment Award, International Operator of the Year, the Innovation Award, Best Use of Technology, and the Low Carbon & Efficiency Award. The deadline for entry is 28 March, but go to to see how to enter the Awards, how they are judged and how to book tables at the black tie dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane on 2 July. Motor Transport will publish an Awards shortlist later this spring and announce the winners at the Awards dinner. “Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it,” said Justin Stanton, editor. More from Justin Stanton on 02 086 523 500 or [email protected] Hino and Guangzhou agree a JV Hino Motors, Ltd. and the Guangzhou Automobile Group have agreed to set up a joint venture, called Guangqi Hino Motors Co., Ltd. or Guangqi Hino, in Guangzhou, China. The new firm will build and sell a range of commercial vehicles. More from UK exhibition debut for new TomTom systems TomTom plans the UK exhibition debut for its Work, Webfleet and Go 720 software on its stand 12-319 at the CV Show in April. The firm says the range of software gives truckers 24-hour access to vehicle management and comprehensive reporting tools as well as sophisticated hands free phone and satellite navigation using what the firm says is the best-known and interactive European map range. Working with the firm’s recently launched Link 300, this can give fleet operators minute-by-minute journey information and a wide range of summary reports and data to show their vehicles’ whereabouts and drivers’ activities. More from Chris Wakeley on +44 (0) 2 074 948 050 or [email protected] Environmental best practice available online Lloyds TSB Autolease says it has developed an environmental best practice guide to help fleet managers find how to make their fleets greener at the click of a button. The guide will help with practical advice on how to measure, manage and improve the environmental performance of fleets. “Along with greater vehicle choice, online CO2 reporting and environmental consulting, a click of a button at gives fleet managers access to tips and common-sense advice on how to cut the carbon footprints of their fleets,” says Grahame Negus, head of Lloyds TSB’s specialist commercial vehicle unit. More from Lawrence Hamilton on +44 (0)1 614 477 251 or [email protected] Isuzu wins orders for new heavies Isuzu says that it is winning orders for its newly announced ‘Forward’ range of 11 to 18 tonners. Keith Child, the firm’s marketing director says he thinks the industry’s ‘extraordinarily long order lead times’ are working in Isuzu’s favour. “We are already taking orders for the new vehicles because we can beat those lead times. To date we have approaching 30 orders ‘in the bag’ and indeed every one of the vehicles to be on our stand, 6-050 at the CV Show is ‘sold’”. He says the stand is the biggest the firm has taken at the CV Show, will display seven trucks and has an “even bigger hospitality area from which we can serve our now famous ‘bangers and mash’ lunch.” More from Keith Child on +44(0)1 920 463 962 or [email protected] And finally New Scientist’s Feedback column reports that the instructions supplied with Bryan Carter’s Sonic Plakaway toothbrush include a warning: “Never use while sleeping.” More from Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

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