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Transport Minister says no plans to cut drink-drive limit in England and Wales

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The Transport Minister is being urged to learn from Scottish drink-drive laws after announcing his plans not to cut the limit in England and Wales.

That’s the message from road safety charity Brake after Andrew Jones confirmed there would be no review of the limit.

As reported by Sky News, Mr Jones said: “The Government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit.”

Brake said the comments seem to be at odds with Mr Jones’ stated intentions to discuss the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.

It added that figures show the number of drink drive offences fell by more than 12% in Scotland in the first nine months after the drink drive limit was lowered from 80 to 50mg/100ml of blood in December 2014. It dropped by almost 8% during the first year in total, the figure being reduced by a drink-driving spike over Christmas and New Year.

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Campaigns director for Brake, Gary Rae said: “We would urge the minister to listen to and learn from his Scottish counterpart and respect the wishes of both the British public and the police by following Scotland’s lead and dropping the drink drive limit. Early indications show a clear reduction in offences in Scotland which can only make our roads safer and mean fewer devastating preventable deaths and injuries. This would be a useful step in moving towards a complete zero tolerance of drink driving, which is the only way to make our roads safe.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Transport-Minister-says-no-plans-to-cut-drink-drive-limit-in-England-and-Wales/0434023618


GM to launch 300-mile Ampera-e EV in Europe next year

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General Motors has confirmed that the Chevrolet Bolt long-range electric car will launch in Europe next year, badged as the Ampera-e.

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, the Bolt features a 60kWh battery – twice the capacity of the latest Nissan LEAF – and offers a range of 200 miles on the U.S. EPA test cycle. Pricing starts at less than $30,000 (£20,000) in the United States and, unlike the Ampera, it’s fully electric; there is no petrol engine.

Opel Group has yet to confirm pricing, or whether it will be available as a Vauxhall. However, to compare it fairly, it’s worth noting that the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) typically produces higher range indications than its U.S. equivalent. The Nissan LEAF returns a 107-mile range under U.S. testing, and 155 miles on the NEDC, which means the Ampera-e could launch with a range of almost 300 miles in European markets.

The drivetrain is unlikely to change much – producing 197bhp and 266lb.ft and reaching 62mph in around seven seconds, which is faster than the BMW i3. Chevrolet has also equipped the Bolt with the Combined Charging system, offering a 7.2kWh AC charge and DC rapid charging capability, and the Ampera-e is likely to offer the same, but with the European Type 2 connector.

Due to the large battery, rapid charging to 80% takes an hour, but the range regained per minute plugged in is the same as most other electric vehicles on the same connection.

Opel group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, said: “Electric vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to climate protection and emissions reduction. The new Ampera-e will open the road to electric mobility by breaking down the barriers of high price and short driving range.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/GM-to-launch-300-mile-Ampera-e-EV-in-Europe-next-year/0434023652


SEAT reveals new Ateca SUV

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SEAT has taken the wraps off its new Ateca mid-sized SUV prior to its showroom launch in September.

Available to order now, the new model – named after a village in Spain – is the first SUV to be launched by the brand and focuses on distinctive design with practical features plus high-tech assistance systems and attractive value for money. It will also offer two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions.

Based on the same platform as the VW Tiguan, the Ateca is 4.36m in length and brings boot space of 485-litres for all-wheel drive versions and 510-litres in standard configuration.

Exterior design blends styling from sister models such as the Leon including its triangular headlights and the trapezoidal grille with SUV styling. The interior is based on a cockpit design cockpit with a clear driver focus.

Three trim levels will be offered, with the top-of-the-range being the Ateca XCELLENCE.

Engine line-up will offer a range of turbocharged TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines spans from 113bhp to 187bhp, with either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, mated to manual or dual-clutch DSG transmissions.

From launch, the entry-level petrol engine is the 113bhp 1.0 TSI and there’s a 147bhp 1.4 TSI.

Diesel engines include a 113bhp 1.6 TDI and 148bhp and 187bhp versions of the 2.0 TDI. Fuel consumption figures for the diesels range from 56 to 66mpg, with CO2 figures from 112 to 131g/km.

Technology options run from full-LED headlights through a broad portfolio of assistance systems, such as Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist, right through to a package of high-end infotainment systems with eight-inch touchscreens and Full Link connectivity.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/SEAT-reveals-new-Ateca-SUV/0434023650


Tesla to unveil Model 3 on 31 March

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Tesla is to unveil its Model 3 compact-executive electric car at the end of March, ahead of production and deliveries late next year.

Confirmed as part of the company’s Fourth Quarter 2015 Financial Results, the Model 3 will be roughly the same size as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, targeting a much higher-volume segment than Tesla has competed in before, particularly in European markets.

It will feature similar drivetrain technology to the larger Model S saloon and seven-seat Model X SUV, which is launching in Europe shortly, with large capacity batteries, ranges of up to 300 miles and fast recharging times. Prices could start at around £30,000-£35,000 in the UK.

Preparation is underway for production, with Tesla indicating that it will start building battery cells at its ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada – a joint venture with Panasonic – this year. The company sold had sold 107,000 cars globally at the end of last year, with the Model S outselling the Audi A7 and A8 combined, and the BMW 6 Series and 7 Series combined, in Europe, the company said.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Tesla-to-unveil-Model-3-on-31-March/0434023648


BVRLA tells HM Treasury to ‘stop punishing company car drivers’

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The BVRLA has called on HM Treasury to treat company car drivers more fairly in advance of the 2016 Budget.

The call comes as the BVRLA reveals that the effect of the 2% increase in Company Car Tax from 2017-18 and the delay in removing the 3% diesel supplement will cost the average company car driver an additional £626.94 in 2017-18, and an extra £882.26 in 2018-19 compared to what they paid in 2013-14.

In its submission the association has urged the Government to carry out a wholesale review of the current system of company car taxation, recognising the benefits these vehicles bring in terms of reduced emissions and tax revenues.

“Since George Osborne became Chancellor in 2013, company car drivers have been hit by a series of tax increases that are both unfair and unsignposted,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“It is no coincidence that we have seen 30,000 fewer employees taking a car as part of their work package during this period.”

The BVRLA believes that more and more company drivers are instead choosing to use their own privately owned vehicles, which on average tend to be older, less safe and more polluting.

“By encouraging employees to give up their company cars, the government risks hundreds of thousands of motorists opting for older, privately-owned vehicles that are not built to the same safety and emissions standards,” Keaney added.

“In 2015, BVRLA members purchased nearly 50% of all new vehicles sold in the UK, and the average BVRLA member’s leased car emitted just 117.8g/km CO2.” 

Keaney added: “The Chancellor must use the Budget to reverse some of the damaging decisions he has made recently, including the delayed abolition of the 3% diesel supplement. These measures are at odds with the government’s stated aims to increase the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles and improve air quality in the UK.”

The key recommendations in the BVRLA’s Budget submission are:

  • Abolish the 3% diesel supplement on benefit in kind (BIK) tax bands for Euro 6 cars from 2016
  • Reform BIK bandings, offering a greater incentive for users of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs)
  • Make leased vehicles eligible for First Year Capital Allowances
  • Introduce a new tax category for electric vehicles that takes their range into account
  • Provide more in-life incentives for ULEV drivers
  • Safeguard the benefits of company salary sacrifice schemes
  • Provide incentives for the fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking technology

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/BVRLA-tells-HM-Treasury-to-8216stop-punishing-company-car-drivers8217/0434023647


Making all vehicles autonomous could prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents, report finds

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The widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles could bring billions of pounds to the UK economy and save hundreds of lives.

That’s the finding of a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which also calls on the Government and industry to urgently address the barriers to adoption, regulatory and insurance issues.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of the Mechanical Engineers and Lead Author of the report, said:

“We need to urgently resolve legislative, technological and insurance issues to help encourage the rollout of autonomous or driverless vehicles.

“The benefits to this sort of technology are huge, with estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51bn a year due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

“Currently 95% of all crashes happen due to driver error, so it makes sense for Government, industry and academia to redouble efforts to look at how we phase out human involvement in driving vehicles.”

The Autonomous and Driverless cars report makes three key recommendations:

  • The Transport Systems Catapult conduct a public consultation, bringing together a working group that includes industry, legislators, regulators and members of the general public. This group should look at how we can integrate and implement new regulatory regimes.
  • All car dealerships and garages must work with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that they can provide adequate information, and give the required training, to any new purchaser of a vehicle.
  • The Department for Transport needs to address the safety issues of mixed road use, looking at how autonomous vehicles can be integrated onto our road network with appropriate road signage and markings in place or updated.

Philippa Oldham continued: “There needs to be much more action from Government to help integrate driverless vehicles into the current UK transport network. This will include updates and standardisation to road signage and road markings to enable these driverless vehicles to operate in the safest way possible.

“There is also a role for the car dealerships and vehicle manufacturers as they will need to clarify how they will provide the greater level of after-sales care, technical updates and upgrades that will be required to ensure the safe introduction of these vehicles on our roads.

“Much more work needs to be done to clarify regulation and insurance issues, such as where liability lies in case of an accident.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Making-all-vehicles-autonomous-could-prevent-up-to-95-percent-of-all-traffic-accidents-report-finds/0434023646


TMC and JCT600 join forces to promote advanced fleet fuel solutions

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Clients of JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions (VLS) are now being offered access to advanced fuel management solutions under a new agreement between VLS and The Miles Consultancy (TMC).

The agreement includes TMC’s mileage capture, audit and control solution, which offers fleets guaranteed savings on fuel bills. It also covers Fuel+, the fuel card and mileage solution launched last year by Barclaycard in association with TMC.

“Our link with TMC enables us to offer a more complete outsourcing package to our clients than is found elsewhere in our sector,” said Paul Walters, sales director of JCT600 VLC. The company now manages its own fuel costs through the Fuel+ solution too.

Yorkshire-based JCT600 VLS operates a fleet of 7,000 vehicles, predominantly serving SMEs, typically with fleets of 5-200 vehicles. It supplies all brands of cars, LCVs and mini buses throughout the UK.

Walters added: “Our sales proposition is that whilst we’re small we can do everything that our clients need and they get a personal service. As well as offering all the benefits of Fuel+, we can now also tie mileage information to our contract hire agreement so that we can give them a more proactive service around mileage-related issues such as maintenance intervals or the need to adjust contracts.”

Paul Hollick, commercial director of TMC, said: “Every fleet should enjoy the visibility – and therefore control – over its operating costs that only comes with robust mileage and fuel data. We’re very pleased that JCT600 has chosen to work with TMC to further enhance their high quality, personal service to the SME sector.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/TMC-and-JCT600-join-forces-to-promote-advanced-fleet-fuel-solutions/0434023644


Hyundai introduces i30 to Zipcar car club fleet in London

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Hyundai has partnered with Zipcar to add the i30 to its London car club fleet.

The deal marks the first between Zipcar and Hyundai in the UK and brings a total of 100 Hyundai i30 models to Zipcar members from key locations throughout central London.

Zipcar members can now reserve a Hyundai i30, to use by the hour or by the day, via the Zipcar website or smartphone app, and be driving in a matter of minutes. Members can unlock the car with either a Zipcard or the mobile app.

Martin Wilson, Hyundai UK fleet director, said: “We are extremely proud to be working with Zipcar and we look forward to the i30 impressing Zipcar’s members over the coming months. With the cars located in so many key areas across London, this will give us an exceptional opportunity to engage with drivers who may not have considered a Hyundai before – and get their feedback too.”

Mark Walker, Zipcar UK general manager, added: “Hyundai’s offering was a natural choice for us. The i30 is well suited to Zipcar, because of its quality, easy handling and intuitive controls. Its quality is essential to both our members who are driving the cars and to us who manage them. Factor in Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, and I have no doubt the i30 will be a big hit with our members.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Hyundai-introduces-i30-to-Zipcar-car-club-fleet-in-London/0434023645


London Mayor tackles air pollution with £5m projects and Tower Bridge ‘no idling’ scheme

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a package of measures to improve local air quality, including a no-idling scheme on Tower Bridge and other projects across the Capital.

From today drivers using Tower Bridge will be encouraged to stop idling and switch their engines off when the bridge is opening, prompted by new road signs.

The scheme, delivered by Southwark and Tower Hamlets and jointly funded by the Mayor of London, is part of the Mayor’s £20 million Air Quality Fund, which will also see a £5m share of the funds allocated to projects across 28 boroughs including:

  • Installation of electric vehicle charging points on lamp posts in Hounslow;
  • A green courier service in Waltham Forest that will provide a same-day delivery service using cargo bikes and electric vehicles for local shoppers;
  • An expanded ‘London Boroughs Consolidation Centre’, which has halved deliveries to council offices since it began. Extra funding will now allow local businesses to start using the consolidation centre and cut their own deliveries and emissions.

In addition, the Mayor has announced his intention to award £1m to at least two flagship ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ in the capital. Nine boroughs have been chosen to work up proposals for transforming a local neighbourhood with a host of measures to improve walking, cycling and air quality.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council cabinet member for parks, public health and leisure, said: “The anti idling scheme is a good example of joint working and it would be great to see more support coming through for local projects. I hope this scheme raises awareness about the damaging affects of idling with your engine on and encourages drivers across the capital to think carefully about ways they could help reduce air pollution.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/London-Mayor-tackles-air-pollution-with-5-pounds-m-projects-and-Tower-Bridge-8216no-idling8217-scheme/0434023642


Masternaut opens nominations process for Safe From Harm Awards

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Fleets can now send in nominations for the awards ceremony at Masternaut’s free Safe From Harm conference.

Taking place on Tuesday 15 March at The ICC Birmingham during the Safe From Harm conference, the awards ceremony is being held by the fleet telematics specialist to recognise excellence in fleet management, safety, driver engagement and community impact.

Fleet businesses are being invited to fill in the online form to nominate themselves for categories. Entries need to only be between 100 and 300 words in length and will be followed by a short telephone interview. 

Applicants can choose from the following categories to enter:

  • Innovation: the Innovation Award is for an organisation who has led the way in safer, greener driving through trying new technologies, policies or practice
  • Improvements in Safety: looking for fleets who can demonstrate real reduced risk through planned and measured programmes of change, which may encompass driver training, vehicle management, technology or policy change
  • Driver Engagement: seeking businesses who through communications, incentive schemes, training or other means have achieved the commitment of drivers to safer, greener driving.
  • Community Impact: for an organisation who has provided better service, safer streets, better air quality or other community benefits, through its fleet management.

Steve Towe, chief commercial officer and UK managing director, commented: “We’re inspired by the vision and moral purpose of businesses of all sizes using telematics, change management, and other technologies to make a real change to the lives of customers, drivers and the public. We’re hoping to see even more of this in entries for the Masternaut Safe From Harm Awards and look forward to hearing how applicants are revolutionising the fleet industry on several fronts.”

The Safe From Harm conference will see directors and managers of fleets, transport, SMEs, operations, risk and finance come together to hear from a variety of speakers, including rugby-hero Sir Clive Woodward, change management consultant Darran Robinson, Dr Natasha Merat from the Institute of Transport Studies and experienced fleet directors from some of the largest companies in the UK.

During the day attendees will be able to compare how their business tackles issues with what others do during focused workshops and through live case studies. Other topics will include: How to measure and reduce risk and How to change the behaviour of drivers.

To sign up for the Safe From Harm conference and for further details, please visit http://www.masternaut.com/events/events-list/safe-from-harm/.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Masternaut-opens-nominations-process-for-Safe-From-Harm-Awards/0434023640


Surrey County Council signs up City Car Club as car club provider

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Surrey County Council has appointed City Car Club to offer car club services using a range of low-emission vehicles to residents, council employees and businesses in the county.

City Car Club has been appointed as the council’s preferred car club provider following a competitive tender process and will initially operate 14 low emission vehicles, including two plug-in hybrids. There are already plans to expand further, with another five vehicles (including two fully electric cars) due to launch in Guildford in April 2016.

Vehicles will be available in on and off-street parking bays near homes and offices in Guildford, Redhill, Dorking, Leatherhead and Woking.

City Car Club managing director Dan Gursel said: “Our intention is to build a long-term relationship with Surrey County Council and the people and businesses in the area, to demonstrate how useful access to a car club can be. Over the coming months, we’ll be working with the Council to promote the programme and build awareness of the benefits of car clubs.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Surrey-County-Council-signs-up-City-Car-Club-as-car-club-provider/0434023636


5% of motorists drive morning after heavy drinking on weekly basis

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Brake is warning drivers about the risks of ‘morning after’ drinking after its research found that one in 20 drivers (5%) drive the morning after a big night out on a weekly basis.

The research by the road safety charity and Direct Line found that one in five motorists have confessed to previously getting behind the wheel the morning after a big night out while almost one in ten (9%) drive the next morning after heavy drinking at least once a month. 

Brake added that if someone drives at 8am after they have been drinking until midnight, there is a serious risk they could still have alcohol in their system and not be fit to drive. A total of 12% of people in the study said they would drive at 8am or even earlier.

One in eight drivers who fail a breath test are caught the morning after and more drivers have been caught over the limit after a crash between 6am and lunchtime on a Monday than on any other weekday for the last three years.

Brake has developed a morning after calculator to help people work out when they will be safe to drive again.

The research has been released in advance of Valentine’s Day, which this year falls on a Sunday and may see couples celebrating when they have to work the following day. 

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, said: “If you can’t be sure that you won’t be over the drink-drive limit the morning after a few drinks, then don’t risk getting behind the wheel. That said, even if you can legally drive, it’s still better to make alternative travel arrangements, as even just being hungover or tired could have an adverse effect on your attention span and driving ability.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/5-percent-of-motorists-drive-morning-after-heavy-drinking-on-weekly-basis/0434023635


Skoda reports 24% rise in true fleet sales

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Skoda UK says it’s seen a phenomenal year for fleet sales, helped by the launch of the new Superb and Fabia.

For 2015, the brand has reported true fleet sales growth of 24% year-on-year – nearly double the rate of growth seen in the entire true fleet sector, which increased at 13% year-on-year.

As a result, Skoda now commands 3.1% of the total fleet market.

The brand also signed more corporate customer agreements than ever before, and achieved a record 4,264 retail contract hire sales – up 215% year-on-year.

Henry Williams, head of fleet for Skoda UK, commented: “There is no doubt that 2015 was a great year for Skoda fleet. Award-winning models coupled with a compelling financial offering make Skoda an obvious choice for fleet managers, small businesses and user choosers – and our record sales are testament to that.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Skoda-reports-24-percent-rise-in-true-fleet-sales/0434023633


Fleet & lease car values fall slightly in January, reports BCA

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Values for fleet & lease cars and the headline average used car value saw a slight decline last month, BCA has reported.

The latest Pulse report shows fleet & lease car values averaged £9,440 in January, a fall of £148 (1.5%) compared to December’s figure of £9,588. Performance against CAP improved sharply from 95.64% to 98.03%, while retained value against original MRP (Manufacturers Retail Price) improved slightly at 40.48%, with age and mileage broadly static. Compared to January 2015, average fleet & lease values were down slightly by £38 (0.4%), with performance against CAP Clean improving although retained value was nearly a percentage point down on 2015.

The headline average value of a used car in January fell to £7,877, down by £169 (2.1%) compared to December, although performance against CAP Clean improved quite sharply from 96.4% to 98.5%. Year-on-year, average values were down by £78 (1.0 %), with age static and mileage declining by some 1,400 miles. Performance against CAP was up by a quarter of a percentage point compared to 2015.

Simon Henstock, BCA UK chief operating officer remarketing, commented: “January saw a well-balanced marketplace in terms of supply and demand, with plenty of appetite for used cars across the board. However, average prices dropped slightly compared to the back end of 2015 and while there is a lot of demand for good retail quality stock, there are challenges at the extremities of the market.

“Valuing older and poorer quality cars accurately is crucial to tempt the buyers. The price of scrap has fallen and this has effectively removed the safety net for these low value vehicles. At the other end of the market, there is pressure on the values of late plate vehicles due to the attractive deals available on new/PCP and the availability of pre-registered vehicles in the marketplace. “

“The relatively mild weather has also meant that the seasonally strong performance for the 4×4 sector hasn’t really reached expectations. With Easter arriving early, we may see values reduce more quickly than usual once we move into the second quarter and the holiday season hits.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Fleet-38-lease-car-values-fall-slightly-in-January-reports-BCA/0434023631


Castelan Group replaces Furniture Care van fleet with new Renault Trafics

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Castelan Group, provider of warranties, insurance and claims handling solutions to the retail sector, has replaced its Renault sole supply commercial vehicle fleet with 80 new Renault Trafic panel vans.

The Trafics replace the company’s previous generation models, with Castelan opting for the new Trafic after putting the order out to tender and considering light commercials from six manufacturers. 

As part of its management of 3,000 furniture and electrical claims each week, Castelan’s new vans will be used by its Furniture Network Care Technicians to visit customers in their homes to rectify issues with varying types of furniture and flooring. 

Castelan ordered its short wheelbase, low-roof Trafics with the Energy dCi 120 1.6-litre Twin Turbo diesel engine which offers up to 47.9 mpg. Another significant influence was the availability of the Business+ trim line, Castelan specifying this equipment level as it incorporates features that it considers essential in its vehicles, such as air conditioning and rear parking sensors, as standard.

Building on the Business specification, which already offers DAB radio with Bluetooth, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with HSA (Hill Start Assist) and Grip Xtend, electric front windows and remote central locking; the Business+ trim level also adds a smartphone dock, passenger bench seat with underseat storage, fold down middle passenger seat with detachable A4 clipboard and laptop storage, body-coloured front bumper, door rail and rear tail light column, full steel bulkhead with load-through facility, and wide view mirror.

Castelan’s Trafics have been further enhanced with the R-Link integrated 7″ touchscreen multimedia system, which includes sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, and reverse parking camera system. Castelan also ordered the additional factory options of a 68mph speed limiter and metallic silver paint.

Leased via Days Fleet and supplied by City Motors, Bristol – one of 40 nationwide Renault Pro+ dealerships – the Trafics come with the reassurance of a four-year/100,000-mile warranty and four years’ roadside assistance. Castelan will also benefit from the Renault Business Quality Commitment – the manufacturer’s 13-point plan provided to corporate customers that guarantees the very best service.

Martin Napper, CEO, Castelan Group, said: “We were very happy with our previous Renault Trafics and after looking in detail at alternative replacements, the model yet again proved to be the best for our requirements. Not only was it a new design and competitive on price, but it also offered excellent fuel economy and a level of equipment that provides our technicians with what we consider to be ‘must have’ levels of connectivity, convenience and comfort.

“With our technicians in the vans for an average of four hours a day, it’s vital that they have Bluetooth to keep in touch with customers and head office, while the option of a good quality, built-in sat nav is another essential – something that we found wasn’t available with a number of competitor vehicles.”

He continued: “Our operatives who trialled the Trafic for a week were also very positive about the drive, and when we attended a commercial vehicle test day where we were able to experience it against rival vehicles in quick succession, the Renault again came out very favourably.”

Darren Payne, sales director, Groupe Renault UK, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Castelan and the way this order was decided clearly underlines why the new Renault Trafic was recently voted the Best Medium Van by What Van? magazine for the second consecutive year.

“The adaptability and innovation of the Trafic have had a major impact on securing this order and it is these and the many other strengths of the extensive Renault LCV range that more and more business customers continue to find so appealing, 2015 being confirmed as the best ever year for Renault van sales in the UK.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/11/castelan-group-replaces-furniture-care-van-fleet-with-new-renault-trafics


New RoSPA website for older drivers

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Aimed at helping older people adapt to changes in their driving to stay safe on the road, a new website has been launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The new website – olderdrivers.org.uk – has been set up with funding from the Department for Transport and gives tips on how people can update their driving skills and knowledge.

The site is intended to help drivers to:

  • Recognise whether and how their driving is changing
  • Find out what they can do to cope with these changes, such as change when and where they drive, adapt their car or take driver assessment or training
  • Find local driving assessment or refresher training
  • Understand the law about health conditions and driving and how to renew their driving licence
  • Plan for the need to change when and where they drive, and if it becomes necessary, to retire from driving.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “The aim of the website is to help older people to continue to drive for as long as they are safe to do so, and to provide advice on making the decision to retire from driving if they are no longer able to drive safely.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/New-RoSPA-website-for-older-drivers/0434023626


The power of choice: Ford of Britain’s Andy Barratt on the brand’s growth plans

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When you’re number one in the UK, how do you continue to grow? Ford’s Andy Barratt reckons the solution is appealing to drivers’ aspirational side. Alex Grant finds out more.

Only halfway through his first year as Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Andy Barratt, may have taken on the role in one of the most interesting periods in the brand’s recent history.

By his first anniversary, the Blue Oval will be well on its way through a major launch cycle. A process which will bolster the number‐one selling range around SUV, performance and luxury pillars, seeking renewed user‐chooser desirability in an increasingly diverse fleet sector.

“We are a very good brand for taking people at the start of their motoring journey,” he says. “We bring them on through Fiesta, through Focus, they may get to Mondeo. Then they reach a tipping point in their earnings and they decide that they may wish to defect because there is not a Ford that will take them on.”

Behind the glitz of new product launches, dealer investment is also underway. There are now around 60 Ford Stores in place, sales podiums for the Mustang, the Focus RS and its new Vignale luxury sub-brand.

The aim is to reach 80 by the end of the year, putting 90% of the UK population within an hour’s drive of their nearest one.

But it’s Vignale that Barratt says is becoming a common topic for conversation. Launching with the Mondeo, closely followed by the S‐Max and – though he wouldn’t confirm either way – the Edge SUV, it’s an attempt to retain drivers who would otherwise move to premium brands.

“If I go back far enough in my history, to when I was Mondeo brand manager, in around 1999 we were selling 100,000 Mondeos alone. We’ve had real compression, and it’s market forces not lack of desire for the car. The premium part [of the D‐segment] is pretty constant but segment pressure is driving non‐premium down.”

Vignale models are built to order, on a specific line at Ford’s Valencia plant, getting acoustic glass, soft leather trim on the doors and dashboard, and unique bodystyling, colours and wheel options. It’s a step up for the Mondeo, but with 70% of UK customers opting for Titanium models, it’s perhaps not as much of a stretch as it sounds.

“Vignale is the highest expression of luxury for Ford in Europe,” explains Barratt. “But it’s space that we’ve already occupied with Mondeo in the past. If you look at the price points where we are with Titanium X Sport, which we sell in huge numbers, and Titanium X, Vignale is in the same space.”

Perhaps a little like Ghia once was? “Consumers’ tastes have changed. At the premium end you can have luxury or sport, where if you go back to Ghia it was just luxury. So it won’t do the volumes a Ghia would’ve done, nor should it because there is that fragmentation of choice and series that’s happened over time.”

Vignale is also about customer service, he says. Services such as collection and delivery, complimentary washes and a bespoke app, a dedicated Vignale ‘relationship manager’ for one‐to‐one contact and possibly access to other cars on short‐term loan if required. “These people are successful, they’re time poor. The more we can take away a lot of their motoring challenges around servicing, ownership, purchase, the easier we can make the experience and the more relevant we make ourselves.

“What you’ve got is proactive relationship, not a reactive relationship.

The traditional dealer model is promiscuous. This should be enduring, it should be a love affair. We’re not doing the high discount fast‐turn fleet business, we’re doing a high quality product with a quality sales process. It’s a really different proposition for Ford, we’re really excited about it.”

However, it’s SUVs which are expected to drive volume. Kuga sales have trebled to over 30,000 units since the new model was introduced in 2013, and its US counterpart, the Escape, was recently updated – so expect a refreshed version later this year. It will join an updated Ecosport and a Europeanised version of the Edge large SUV, and sales are expected to reach around 45,000 units by the end of the year.

“In the SUV space we’re very active – it’s the fastest‐growing space in the market. The Kuga SUV space is as big as what was the Focus market historically, so it’s growing exponentially.

That SUV midsize market is as big in fleet and retail, so it really is a linear growth that you see.”

Ford’s performance products are also showing strong potential.

The Focus ST gained a diesel engine earlier this year, and the 6,700 sold to the end of October are a near three‐fold increase on 2014 full‐year figures, with 45% opting into the 2.0 TDCi version and 70% of those going to fleets. That’s higher than the Focus range as a whole.

“Historically, Ford has always owned affordable performance in the UK. The Focus ST diesel has really brought that corporate sector alive, contract hire customers absolutely adore this,” says Barrett, adding that there are opportunities among SMEs, including for the Mustang.

“If you talk to the RV providers, they see [Mustang] higher than list. I’ve proved to the guys at CAP recently that the old [Focus RS] is going for list today. If you bake that kind of depreciation in, an affordable lease should be very achievable when I look at competitive products. If I’m an SME and I’m successful, then why shouldn’t I have a performance car?”

But it doesn’t have to be user‐choosers. “We’re currently building a Mustang police car, because they need high‐performance, fast‐reaction road vehicles. So why wouldn’t a Mustang serve that purpose? We’re going to put it out as a demo and we’ll get the feedback.”

Ultimately, though, it’s broader appeal rather than a shift of positioning that Ford is seeking: “We don’t want to be premium, but we do want to compete with the premiums. I think that’s really key, it gives people an alternative choice. Not everyone wants to go and have a premium brand on the drive, and some people are incredibly happy and familiar with Ford.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/The-power-of-choice-Ford-of-Britains-Andy-Barratt-on-the-brands-growth-plans/0434023502


The power of choice: Ford of Britain’s Andy Barratt

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When you’re number one in the UK, how do you continue to grow? Ford’s Andy Barratt reckons the solution is appealing to drivers’ aspirational side. Alex Grant finds out more.

Only halfway through his first year as Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Andy Barratt, may have taken on the role in one of the most interesting periods in the brand’s recent history.

By his first anniversary, the Blue Oval will be well on its way through a major launch cycle. A process which will bolster the number‐one selling range around SUV, performance and luxury pillars, seeking renewed user‐chooser desirability in an increasingly diverse fleet sector.

“We are a very good brand for taking people at the start of their motoring journey,” he says. “We bring them on through Fiesta, through Focus, they may get to Mondeo. Then they reach a tipping point in their earnings and they decide that they may wish to defect because there is not a Ford that will take them on.”

Behind the glitz of new product launches, dealer investment is also underway. There are now around 60 Ford Stores in place, sales podiums for the Mustang, the Focus RS and its new Vignale luxury sub-brand.

The aim is to reach 80 by the end of the year, putting 90% of the UK population within an hour’s drive of their nearest one.

But it’s Vignale that Barratt says is becoming a common topic for conversation. Launching with the Mondeo, closely followed by the S‐Max and – though he wouldn’t confirm either way – the Edge SUV, it’s an attempt to retain drivers who would otherwise move to premium brands.

“If I go back far enough in my history, to when I was Mondeo brand manager, in around 1999 we were selling 100,000 Mondeos alone. We’ve had real compression, and it’s market forces not lack of desire for the car. The premium part [of the D‐segment] is pretty constant but segment pressure is driving non‐premium down.”

Vignale models are built to order, on a specific line at Ford’s Valencia plant, getting acoustic glass, soft leather trim on the doors and dashboard, and unique bodystyling, colours and wheel options. It’s a step up for the Mondeo, but with 70% of UK customers opting for Titanium models, it’s perhaps not as much of a stretch as it sounds.

“Vignale is the highest expression of luxury for Ford in Europe,” explains Barratt. “But it’s space that we’ve already occupied with Mondeo in the past. If you look at the price points where we are with Titanium X Sport, which we sell in huge numbers, and Titanium X, Vignale is in the same space.”

Perhaps a little like Ghia once was? “Consumers’ tastes have changed. At the premium end you can have luxury or sport, where if you go back to Ghia it was just luxury. So it won’t do the volumes a Ghia would’ve done, nor should it because there is that fragmentation of choice and series that’s happened over time.”

Vignale is also about customer service, he says. Services such as collection and delivery, complimentary washes and a bespoke app, a dedicated Vignale ‘relationship manager’ for one‐to‐one contact and possibly access to other cars on short‐term loan if required. “These people are successful, they’re time poor. The more we can take away a lot of their motoring challenges around servicing, ownership, purchase, the easier we can make the experience and the more relevant we make ourselves.

“What you’ve got is proactive relationship, not a reactive relationship.

The traditional dealer model is promiscuous. This should be enduring, it should be a love affair. We’re not doing the high discount fast‐turn fleet business, we’re doing a high quality product with a quality sales process. It’s a really different proposition for Ford, we’re really excited about it.”

However, it’s SUVs which are expected to drive volume. Kuga sales have trebled to over 30,000 units since the new model was introduced in 2013, and its US counterpart, the Escape, was recently updated – so expect a refreshed version later this year. It will join an updated Ecosport and a Europeanised version of the Edge large SUV, and sales are expected to reach around 45,000 units by the end of the year.

“In the SUV space we’re very active – it’s the fastest‐growing space in the market. The Kuga SUV space is as big as what was the Focus market historically, so it’s growing exponentially.

That SUV midsize market is as big in fleet and retail, so it really is a linear growth that you see.”

Ford’s performance products are also showing strong potential.

The Focus ST gained a diesel engine earlier this year, and the 6,700 sold to the end of October are a near three‐fold increase on 2014 full‐year figures, with 45% opting into the 2.0 TDCi version and 70% of those going to fleets. That’s higher than the Focus range as a whole.

“Historically, Ford has always owned affordable performance in the UK. The Focus ST diesel has really brought that corporate sector alive, contract hire customers absolutely adore this,” says Barrett, adding that there are opportunities among SMEs, including for the Mustang.

“If you talk to the RV providers, they see [Mustang] higher than list. I’ve proved to the guys at CAP recently that the old [Focus RS] is going for list today. If you bake that kind of depreciation in, an affordable lease should be very achievable when I look at competitive products. If I’m an SME and I’m successful, then why shouldn’t I have a performance car?”

But it doesn’t have to be user‐choosers. “We’re currently building a Mustang police car, because they need high‐performance, fast‐reaction road vehicles. So why wouldn’t a Mustang serve that purpose? We’re going to put it out as a demo and we’ll get the feedback.”

Ultimately, though, it’s broader appeal rather than a shift of positioning that Ford is seeking: “We don’t want to be premium, but we do want to compete with the premiums. I think that’s really key, it gives people an alternative choice. Not everyone wants to go and have a premium brand on the drive, and some people are incredibly happy and familiar with Ford.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/The-power-of-choice-Ford-of-Britains-Andy-Barratt/0434023502


Support BEN with Fleet World registration

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Fleet operators are being asked for their help in raising funds for automotive industry charity, BEN, by completing their Fleet World/VAN Fleet World reader registrations/renewals online.

This year will once again see Dan Gilkes, industry expert and editor of VAN Fleet World, compete in the London Marathon to raise funds for BEN, which is the UK’s dedicated charity for those who work, or have worked, in the automotive and related industries and their dependants.

Dan ran on behalf of BEN in last year’s 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, completing the race in 4 hours 46 minutes and raising over £4,000.

And this year he’s looking to beat both the amount raised and his time, hoping to be well under four hours 30 minutes.

Already Dan has received strong support from within the motor industry but to add further funds, Stag Publications, the publisher of Fleet World/VAN Fleet World, has pledged to donate £1 for every reader registration or renewal made online.

All fleet operators need to do to help BEN is fill out the online form at http://www.fleetworldsubscriptions.co.uk/

Fleets can also sponsor Dan through the dedicated website at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanGilkes

Dan commented: “BEN continues to offer incredible support to those working in the automotive and related industries. In 2015 it reached its 110th anniversary, helping more people than ever before. But to do that BEN needs more help itself, as it intends to take annual fundraising from £4.6m to £7.7m by 2020.

“Support for Virgin Money London Marathon runners is always strong and I would like to thank Fleet World, Citroën, Renault, Iveco, JCB, Isuzu Truck, Volkswagen and many others for their backing for the second year running. It literally is backing too, as once again I’ll be wearing a running shirt with all of my major supporters on the back. There is still space for more logos on this year’s shirt for any companies that would like to donate.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Support-BEN-with-Fleet-World-registration/0434023615


Honda Civic prototype to be revealed at Geneva

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Honda has given a sneak preview of its Civic concept prior to its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The all-new hatchback is due out in 2017 and will be produced in the UK and sold globally, including in the US.

The rear shot of the prototype that will premiere at Geneva shows likenesses to the 2016 Civic Coupe Concept revealed at the 2015 New York auto show.

Other models on the Honda stand at Geneva include the Clarity Fuel Cell, which will make its European debut following its global unveil at the Tokyo motor show in October last year.

The new NSX will also be at Geneva and will start its first European customer deliveries in 2016.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Honda-Civic-prototype-to-be-revealed-at-Geneva/0434023617


Nick Butler named head of corporate mobility at Alphabet

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Alphabet has announced the appointment of Nick Butler as its new head of corporate mobility.

Butler joined Alphabet’s commercial team in 2003 and has spent the last five years heading up the Intermediary and Wholesale Funding division.

He commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Corporate Mobility team. Advanced mobility products like AlphaCity, AlphaElectric and Electric Car Sharing are cutting edge in terms of infrastructure and technology. I look forward to managing the team as we continue to provide our customers with innovative business travel solutions. Our unique AlphaRent+ offering also continues to gain momentum as our Customers reap the benefits of a rental fleet that is fully owned by Alphabet.”

Butler replaces Kit Wisdom who, as previously announced, becomes head of technical services after Martyn Gallop retired following 30 years in industry.

Alphabet said the new appointments are part of the business’s continued efforts to build on and enhance its operational service.

Matt Sutherland, chief operating officer at Alphabet, commented: “Kit and Nick are valuable and well respected members of our Alphabet management team. Their impressive knowledge and wealth of experience in the industry means that they understand the challenges faced by our customers. Their new roles are fundamental in driving Alphabet forward as the UK’s leading provider of Business Mobility solutions as they further strengthen our Operations team.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Nick-Butler-named-head-of-corporate-mobility-at-Alphabet/0434023616


One in five qualified drivers doubt they’d pass their test now

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6.9 million British drivers think that if they had to take their driving test again, they would be likely to fail.

The research, conducted by Young Driver, which provides driving lessons for 10-17 year-olds, questioned more than 1,000 UK drivers and found that 18% of qualified drivers doubt their current driving skills would get them past an examiner – rising to 24% of over 65s.

The research also found that one in four drivers struggle with parking manoeuvres.

A total of 28% of drivers said they struggled to parallel park, with a further one in four (25%), admitting that reversing into a parking bay was a challenge they preferred to avoid. For female drivers these figures increased to 36% and 30% respectively.

A quarter of all drivers (26%) said they regularly parked some distance from where they needed to be in order to get an ‘easier’ car parking space that didn’t require as much skill. One in six drivers (16%) admitted they often felt nervous when it came to parking – increasing to one in four (26%) of 18-25 year olds.

And one in six (16%) admitted they struggle to complete a turn in the road without needing to undertake significantly more manoeuvres than the traditional three-point turn.

Kim Stanton, head of Young Driver, said: “When you learn to drive you are taught specific techniques to help you get your parking and reversing spot on, every time. But once you pass your test, unless you continue to use these techniques, the skills can quickly fade. Our new research shows that before long, many drivers are actively avoiding having to try, even if it means parking a long way from their destination and walking the rest of the way to avoid certain parking spaces!”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/One-in-five-qualified-drivers-doubt-they8217d-pass-their-test-now/0434023614


Subaru to unveil XV Concept at Geneva

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Subaru has issued a teaser pic of its next-generation XV as it announces a number of updates to the current compact crossover.

The new model will debut at the Geneva Motor Show early next month and is expected to share its platform with the new Impreza family.

The current-generation XV also gets a number of midlife updates, including updates to the exterior design, such as updated headlights and a redesigned front grille and bumper, plus improvements to interior quality. It also gains Subaru’s new factory-fit 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system and Siri Eyes-Free voice control.

The engine line-up – which comprises 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder Boxer engines – has been updated to bring improved economy.

Economy for the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, rises to 52.3mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions fall from 146 to 141g/km.

Fuel efficiency for the petrol engine increases by 2% to a combined average of 43.5mpg when equipped with Subaru’s Lineartronic transmission (CVT) and emissions fall to 151g/km.

The 2016 XV goes on sale across the UK next month, with OTR prices remaining from £21,995.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Subaru-to-unveil-XV-Concept-at-Geneva/0434023613


Rise in road fatalities shows ‘irresponsibility of cuts to road safety budgets’, says GEM

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Latest Department for Transport figures showing a rise in road deaths indicate that much work is needed on road safety.

The comments come from road safety and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist as the UK Department for Transport road safety data shows a 3% reduction in casualties for the year ending September 2015 but a 2.83% rise in road deaths to 1,780in the year ending September 2015.

GEM added that the latest figures give cause for concern and show the irresponsibility of cuts to road safety budgets across the UK.

Chief executive David Williams MBE said: “It’s good to see a fall in casualties, even with a 2.2% rise in motor traffic levels. Particularly encouraging is the 5% fall in the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured, as well as the 4% reduction for pedestrians. 

“But the rise in road fatalities shows just how much work needs to be done to make our roads safer for everyone.

“We must put an end to this needless loss of life, and we once again call on the UK Government to take a strong lead in making our roads safer. This could be done through reducing the drink-drive limit, introducing a graduated licence system for new drivers, tougher and more consistent sentencing of drivers who pose the greatest risks to others, and the re-introduction of casualty reduction targets.

“We must also remember the vital role of road safety education in helping to prevent collisions. Allowing local authority road safety units to shrink or even disappear can only mean that the longer-term outlook for road safety in this country remains bleak.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Rise-in-road-fatalities-shows-8216irresponsibility-of-cuts-to-road-safety-budgets8217-says-GEM/0434023611


Fleets more actively managing tyres as costs rise, reports Chevin

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Fleet operators are becoming more proactive on tyre management as tyre costs continue to rise, reports Chevin Fleet Solutions.

The fleet software provider said the issue is not just being forced by the increase in bigger, and more expensive, wheels and tyres being used on vehicles but also the fact that they are seemingly more susceptible to accidental damage and even more likely to be stolen.

Ashley Sowerby, managing director, said: “All of these factors lead to higher costs and fleets are increasingly trying to take managerial control in this area.

“This is something that is being seen on a wider industry basis with some of the largest fleets changing their buying arrangements and we see reflections of this in increased levels of price comparison using our software, for example.

“However, there is also a strong desire among fleets to take a greater amount of operational control over tyre costs.”

Sowerby added that Chevin offered a tyre management module as part of its FleetWave software and that this was increasingly being used to monitor tyre use.

“Successfully tackling costs in this area requires something of a change of culture, recognising that tyres are an area that respond to management attention. This is why, in our software, each tyre is recorded as a separate, specific asset.

“Managing this asset might mean actions as simple as looking at examining the different tyre replacement cycles that occur for different drivers in similar vehicles, seeing which are getting through sets of tyres more often and why?

“It might also mean identifying which drivers most often suffer accidental tyre damage and again trying to work out whether this is a result of their driving style or other factors that can be tackled.” 

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Fleets-more-actively-managing-tyres-as-costs-rise-reports-Chevin/0434023609


Tevva Motors commended at Rushlight Awards

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Tevva Motors has received a commendation in the powered transport award category at the 2015-16 Rushlight Awards for the development of its electric range-extended powertrains.

Held at London’s Royal College of Surgeons of England, Tevva was commended for a significant achievement “that has resulted in the commercial development of forms of transport for land, sea or air, resulting in a significantly improved embedded environmental footprint”.

Asher Bennett, CEO and founder of Tevva Motors, said: “We are truly honoured to receive this commendation at the Rushlight Awards.

“The recognition we have received for our electric range-extender powertrains represents a significant step in highlighting our capabilities as we target our next phase of investment for production.”

Tevva’s electric range extender powertrain can either be fitted on the production line during the build process or as a retrofit package to an existing vehicle.

It is controlled by Tevva’s Predictive Range Extender Management System (PREMS), which enables the most efficient use of the range extender without driver input.

This ensures the range extender is only used when necessary, such as on motorways, while electric-only propulsion can be used in areas of poor air quality such as towns and cities.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/10/tevva-motors-commended-at-rushlight-awards


Record-breaking year for Renault vans

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Renault significantly outpaced the UK van market last year, reporting a 39.5% year-on-year surge in sales compared to a 15.5% rise overall.

The manufacturer registered 25,458 vehicles, increasing its full-year market share by 1.2 percentage points to 6.7%.

Strong growth was helped by the new Trafic’s first full year of sales, it  registered 13,700 units last year – up 49% on 2014.

“LCV was a real success story,” said Mark Dickens, head of fleet sales at Renault Group UK. “How did we do that?  A real strong performance from our conversion business. We particularly improved our volume in the Master Tipper market, improving sales by 185% year-on-year.”

The conversion market was up 31% in 2015, while Renault achieved growth  of 79%.

“It’s a key area for us in 2016,” continued Dickens.

The surge in sales in the UK has also helped Renault to retain its position  as the best-selling van manufacturer in Europe for the 18th consecutive year.

It registered 269,203 units, up 16.9% on 2014, and recorded a 0.7 percentage point increase in market share to 15%.

It is also targeting growth in the car market with a C-segment product offensive.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/10/record-breaking-year-for-renault-vans


Midland Bacon Co take on refrigerated rigid truck to ensure loading compliance

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Midland Bacon Co has taken on a rigid truck with an aerodynamic Gray & Adams temperature-controlled body mounted on a 32-tonne Scania chassis to ensure it meets axle loading regulations.

Chris Cox, managing director of the West Midlands-based processor, said: “The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) is becoming very hot on overloading issues and it’s easy to get caught out on the front axle with a 26-tonner.

“As a responsible operator I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that my vehicles meet all legal requirements and I see this concept as being a template for the future.”

Midland Bacon Co is one of a small handful of privately-owned suppliers that provide a complete bacon processing service which encompasses butchering, curing and then slicing.

This allows it to minimise transit damage, so foodservice customers nationwide benefit from a highly consistent product.

The 32-tonner has lined up alongside the other 11 vehicles which work from Midland Bacon Co’s headquarters in Walsall.

As well as being the company’s biggest truck yet and the first with a livery – its other trucks are plain white – it is also the first with a Gray & Adams body.

The 9.0-metre insulated box was built and fitted at the manufacturer’s Doncaster production facility. Positioned very close to the back of the cab to reduce drag, it features an underslung Carrier Supra 950 u single-temperature refrigeration unit and Gray & Adams’ latest, aerodynamically profiled panel cappings.

The interior has a full chequerplate floor, stainless steel rear end and a PIR (passive infrared) lighting system.

The truck offers an 18-tonne payload and 18 pallet carrying capacity, compared to the 14-tonne payload with 16 pallet spaces that Midland Bacon Co’s 26-tonners can accommodate.

“We run out of weight before we run out of space with the six-wheelers,” added Cox, who founded his company in 1995.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/10/midland-bacon-co-take-on-refrigerated-rigid-truck-to-ensure-loading-compliance


Prohire introduces i2i electronic SMR and invoicing platform

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Truck rental and contract hire firm Prohire has saved more than 12,000 sheets of paper in the six months since introducing R2C Online’s i2i SMR system.

Operations Manager Mick Steele explained: “How we managed fleet maintenance compliance was a manually intensive process. Inspection sheets and supplier invoices were physically printed and processed for compliance checking and approval. We recognised that r2c Online, as a specialist solution provider to the commercial vehicle market, offered the potential to digitise and automate these processes, which would result in significant efficiency improvements for our customers, suppliers and our business.”

Steele continued: “We have greatly reduced the need to print, approve and process invoices manually and overall we are completing at least twice as many authorisations per day.”

R2C Online is currently used by over 10,000 fleets and repairers throughout the UK.

‘Issue 2 Invoice’ is a web-based SMR booking, pricing, authorisation and e-invoicing platform. After just 6 months the platform is processing more than £1 million of monthly maintenance spend, a figure which is growing exponentially every month.

“Efficiency was the main driver for us and we have already seen significant, and importantly, measurable gains for everyone. Everything is just quicker now: service inspection paperwork is automated, authorisation is electronic and easier to manage and we can divert more focus on customer service orientated tasks with the time savings we have realised. At the end of the process we receive pre-reconciled invoices, massively reducing queries and telephone calls for both customers, supplier and ourselves.”

Steele added: “Because inspection sheets, invoices and work authorisations are now processed digitally we have saved over 12,000 sheets of paper so far”.

Nick Walls, managing director of r2c Online added: “The whole premise of i2i is to provide fleets and repairers of commercial vehicles and other asset classes with an electronic method of pricing, authorising and invoicing SMR. This dramatically streamlines processes for both repairers and fleets and massively reduces queries requiring manual intervention. We have already seen great uptake of the i2i solution and with efficiency opportunities such as those Prohire has experienced, we are expecting interest levels to accelerate even higher. It is great to see Prohire enjoying these benefits within their operation.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/10/prohire-introduces-i2i-electronic-smr-and-invoicing-platform


London cycle proposals must consider all road users, says FTA

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the Mayor of London’s proposals for major new bike routes across the capital must consider the impact on all road users.

Consultation has started on a package of cycling, pedestrian and road improvements designed to reflect the fact that cycling in central London has trebled in 15 years and the number of people commuting by bike will soon overtake the number in cars.

Among the proposals are plans to allow cyclists to travel on segregated tracks or low-traffic roads from Acton and Swiss Cottage to central London, Elephant and Castle and Canary Wharf.

FTA supports the principle of safe, segregated bike routes – both to improve safety for cyclists and to encourage car users to switch to bikes – but this must balance the needs of all road users.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London at FTA, said: “These schemes must be well thought out so they not only serve London today, but for decades to come.

“We are already seeing massive delays on Lower Thames Street due to the construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway.

“This is resulting in some companies putting more vans and lorries on London’s roads to deliver the same quantity of goods, either to comply with the maximum shifts required under EU Drivers’ Hours rules or to maintain customer service levels.

“This is not good for emissions, congestion, transport costs or indeed safety.

“And this is not a temporary situation – the loss of capacity will be permanent.”

FTA is calling on the next Mayor of London to work with the freight industry and the businesses it serves to ensure that future schemes are better planned for the benefit of all road users.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/10/london-cycle-proposals-must-consider-all-road-users-says-fta


Anglian Water expands use of Ctrack telematics

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Anglian Water is fitting Ctrack telematics to a further 500 vans having seen a 14% reduction in the number of road accidents, a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and a 4% drop in its carbon emisisons after fitting the system to 750 vehicles a year ago.

The latest agreement, takes the total number of vehicles tracked by the Ctrack Online system to 1,750. Ctrack was originally appointed in 2014 to implement a web-based tracking solution across Anglian Water’s treatments, waterworks and waste water operations. This included the adoption of the Driver Behaviour Indicator (DBI), an in-vehicle device that alerts drivers to any infringements when on the road by displaying a series of traffic-light coloured warning lights.

Anglian Water uses Ctrack online’s reporting tool to capture management information regarding driver performance and driving exceptions. This has enabled the company to identify areas of improvement and maximise its driver training initiative, resulting in an almost 50% reduction in the number driver exceptions – such as speeding and harsh acceleration, braking and cornering – from 25 miles per event to 49 miles per event.

As part of the driver behaviour programme, Anglian Water also operates a zero tolerance to speeding, so a bespoke speed band reporting tool has been created to enable the company to monitor where any issues are occurring.

Ctrack will continue providing a consultative service to support the ongoing success of the vehicle tracking solution. A dedicated professional services team analyses all available data to provide guidance on how best to drive operational improvements and help realise maximum value. This has included monitoring vehicle usage to identify any areas of underutilisation so Anglian Water can take steps to right size its operation or implement fleet rotation, which will reduce costs and improve residual value.

Stewart Lightbody, head of fleet services at Anglian Water, said: “We have worked closely with Ctrack to develop an effective tracking solution that supports our commitment to duty of care. The safety of our staff, other road users and pedestrians in the areas we operate is our biggest priority, so we are delighted to see such positive changes to driver behaviour. Moving forward we are targeting a 25% reduction in accidents as well further improvements in fuel efficiency.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/09/anglian-water-expands-use-of-ctrack-telematics


New Ubeeqo car club service goes live in London

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A new car club service has been launched in London by mobility start-up Ubeeqo.

Dubbed Matcha, the scheme is simultaneously being placed in Paris and London, where a total of 29 cars have initially been made available in the borough of Wandsworth.

The cars can be picked up from on-street locations in Tooting, Battersea, Roehampton, Putney, Southfields, Earlsfield and Wandsworth Common, and there are plans to increase the local fleet over the course of the year.

Subscribers can hire the vehicles by the hour and bookings can be made via an easy-to-use mobile phone app. All bookings include the first 50 miles and fuel for free.

Drivers can register either on the Ubeeqo website or by downloading the app which is free of charge and with no usage commitment.

Benoit Chatelier, founder and CEO of Ubeeqo which was acquired last year by Europcar, said: “Ubeeqo makes urban mobility easier, more convenient, and more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly too.”

Wandsworth Council’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook added: “We’re delighted Ubeeqo has decide to invest in Wandsworth and is bringing its network of pay-as-you-go vehicles to our borough. We want every home to have easy access to a car club so there is less need for car ownership and fewer vehicles on our streets.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/New-Ubeeqo-car-club-service-goes-live-in-London/0434023603


New London cycle superhighways intended to support large increase in cyclist commuting

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Plans by London Mayor Boris Johnson to open three cycle superhighways in London to meet a predicted rise in commuters cycling to work have met with a mixed reaction.

The schemes – which are now open to public consultation – would implement new cycle links between north and south London, a segregated cycle track on the Westway flyover amongst a package of cycling, pedestrian and road improvements.

In addition, cycle routes linking Bloomsbury to the West End and Farringdon with King’s Cross have also been proposed.

Tfl said the plans for new routes reflect the fact that cycling into central London has trebled in 15 years. Around a quarter of all vehicles on the roads in the centre in the morning rush hour are now bikes, while car use has fallen sharply.

It added that if the trends of the last 15 years continue, the number of people commuting into central London by bike will overtake the number of people commuting by car in a few years. Around 645,000 journeys a day are made by bike in the capital, up 10% on last year.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “Cycling in London is becoming more popular by the day and our proposed Cycle Superhighways would keep London’s roads in gear with the trend. The Capital would become the European city for cycling, not just for the seasoned pros, but for everyone.

“By providing these safer direct routes across the city the roads can support a growing and changing London.”

Already plans for cycle superhighways have gained support from corporates including Microsoft, RBS, Unilever, Orange, Deloitte, Coca-Cola and the Financial Times.

However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the Mayor of London’s proposals for major new bike routes across the capital must consider the impact on all road users.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said: “These schemes must be well thought out so they not only serve London today, but for decades to come. 

“We are already seeing massive delays on Lower Thames Street due to the construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway.  This is resulting in some companies putting more vans and lorries on London’s roads to deliver the same quantity of goods, either to comply with the maximum shifts required under EU Drivers’ Hours rules or to maintain customer service levels. 

“This is not good for emissions, congestion, transport costs or indeed safety.  And this is not a temporary situation – the loss of capacity will be permanent.”

The consultation will close on March 20. The public can respond to the East-West, North-South and Cycle Superhighway 11 consultations here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/New-London-cycle-superhighways-intended-to-support-large-increase-in-cyclist-commuting/0434023602


Nexus records 29% rise in van rentals

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Nexus Vehicle Rental has announced a record year for bookings of commercial vehicles with a 29.1% year-on year increase in December 2015.

Nexus doubled the number of vans it had out on rent year-on-year throughout December and, excluding short wheelbase vans, this number was three times higher than the same period in 2014.

Its fleet covered a combined 8,373,400 miles during December, the equivalent of 336 trips around the equator.

The spike in van rentals highlights the current strength of the UK commercial vehicle market and the unprecedented seasonal demand brought on by online shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas home deliveries.  

David Brennan (pictured), chief executive officer at Nexus, said: “As a leading rental provider, we are well equipped to deal with seasonal demand and can offer guaranteed availability of vehicles – we have access to over 500,000 vehicles across 2,000 UK locations covering Newquay to Elgin.

“Rentals of CVs in particular were three times those observed in December 2014. This can be explained by the trend of the increasing value of online retail spend which was 8.2% higher than last year throughout December.

“We are able to source any vehicle at incredibly short notice, ensuring courier services were not affected over the festive period.”   

The parcel delivery service, Yodel, was one of the new customers Nexus served in December.

Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel, said: “Peak plans assumed that parcel volumes over the busy peak period would vary on a daily basis, therefore Yodel needed to find a supplier capable of quickly meeting the changing vehicle needs. Nexus delivered that promise by helping Yodel adjust vehicle supply to parcel volumes by delivery location and this helped us to deliver a record breaking quality of service and record the highest levels of customer satisfaction over the biggest parcel volume peak in UK history.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/09/nexus-records-29-rise-in-van-rentals


Deluxe Beds takes delivery of Volvo rigids

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Deluxe Beds takes delivery of Volvo rigids

Deluxe Beds of Huddersfield has taken delivery of two 18-tonne GVW Volvo FE rigid trucks.

In the first weeks of operation Transport Manager Bob Mitchell said: “We are over the moon with these Volvo FE trucks,” he says. “We chose them for payload and we’re delighted with the result. Our beds are transported in three pieces and we have found the 18-tonne GVW of the Volvo FE, with steel suspension front and rear, enables us to transport over a 100 pieces, which is a significant improvement on our previous vehicles.”

The two new 6.8m wheelbase FE rigids, which are fitted with single bunk sleeper cabs, feature 9.2 metre GRP Luton box bodies, hinged over the cab, which were built by Micra Truck Bodies in Wakefield.

“The bodies are built to the highest standard, like the trucks, and give us some 76m³ (2,700 ft³) of capacity, which is ideal for the transportation of beds and mattresses,” said Mitchell.

Power comes from Volvo D8K 6-cylinder, 8-litre engines producing 250hp and up to 950Nm of torque. Both trucks are equipped with 6-speed manual gearboxes. Driveability is aided by cruise control, while comfort is enhanced with air conditioning.

“These trucks will cover much of the UK and are expected to amass some 160,000km (100,000 miles) a year,” added Mitchell.

“Even in the first few weeks of more localised runs, I’ve noticed excellent fuel efficiency. What’s more, our drivers love them! There’s a tangible sense of pride shown by the drivers of these new Volvo trucks. They appreciate the comfort, power and manoeuvrability, as well as the ease of driving and the excellent visibility. I am absolutely certain that in choosing Volvo we have simultaneously helped ourselves when it comes to driver recruitment and retention.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/09/deluxe-beds-takes-delivery-of-volvo-rigids


Clancy Plant Hire rolls out first of 33-strong Iveco Trakker order

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Clancy Plant Hire has taken delivery of the first of 33 new Iveco Trakker 8×4 rigids, after expanding an order placed in 2015 with 10 additional vehicles.

The company – the UK’s largest operator of Iveco Trakker eight-wheelers – provides vehicles and plant equipment to all the Clancy Group firms, including utilities giant Clancy Docwra, which uses the fleet in support of utilities projects around the country.

Bernie Stack director at Clancy Plant Hire said: “We’re delighted to see the first of our new Trakker tippers getting down to work. We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with Iveco, and appreciate the low total cost of ownership the brand’s vehicles offer.

“We’re confident these new arrivals will continue to demonstrate the durability, reliability and flexibility the Trakker is known for across our company.”

This latest Trakker order marks the first Euro VI eight-wheelers to enter the Clancy Plant Hire fleet, each with Iveco’s HI-SCR engine technology to meet current emissions limits without the need for exhaust gas recirculation.

Commenting on the technology, Stack said: “We evaluated Euro VI solutions from a number of manufacturers, but felt Iveco’s HI-SCR system stood out for offering a less complex and yet a highly efficient approach. We have become accustomed to enjoying trouble-free performance from our Iveco drivelines, so knowing the HI-SCR technology has followed the same development path as earlier Iveco Euro IV and Euro V engines held strong appeal.”

The new trucks join a fleet of more than 60 Trakker 8x4s at Clancy Plant Hire, and are expected to remain with the company for between four and five years.

The firm’s wider fleet encompasses more than 1,400 commercial vehicles, 500 cars and over 10,000 plant assets.

Each Trakker (AD340T36) is expected to clock-up approximately 35,000 miles annually, working up to seven days a week, with some vehicles operating double shifts around the clock.

Bodybuilder Thompsons has been contracted to provide the bodies for the entire order, with each vehicle arriving equipped with an HMF crane. The new acquisitions will also carry a bespoke onboard camera and audible warning system, improving safety for pedestrians.

Clancy Plant Hire’s new Trakker fleet is powered by the Iveco Cursor 9 engine, which produces up to 360hp between 1,500 and 2,200 rev/min, and up to 1,650 Nm of torque between 1,200 and 1,500 rev/min.

The vehicles also have the EuroTronic automated gearbox, manufactured for Iveco by ZF.

Servicing, maintenance and warranty work on vehicles across the company’s Iveco range is carried out at Clancy Plant Hire’s authorised in-house Iveco workshops, where technicians trained to Iveco’s standards ensure the fleet is always operating to its maximum potential.

Iveco dealer Northern Commercials expects to deliver the last of the 33 Trakkers in the first quarter of 2016.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/08/clancy-plant-hire-rolls-out-first-of-33-strong-iveco-trakker-order


Taunton Deane Borough Council extend partnership with BT Fleet

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Taunton Deane Borough Council has signed a new four-year contract with BT Fleet, extending their partnership until 2019.

As a local authority, Taunton Deane Borough Council is responsible for the delivery of services to both Taunton Deane and West Somerset’s residents and visitors, providing such functions as housing, council tax collection, benefits, environmental health, open space maintenance and street and toilet cleaning, amongst others. The daily demands placed on the council mean that it is critical its fleet of vehicles remain on the road and meet the stringent compliance standards required.

BT Fleet is consolidating all of the council’s requirements under one fleet management programme and is providing account management, vehicle scheduling, service, maintenance and repair, hire services, breakdown services, administrative and legislative management and access to training and support services. The Taunton workshop, which is a five-minute drive away from the council depot, offers direct support, reducing ferrying time and net downtime.

Chris Hall, assistant director of operations at Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “Local authority organisations are coming under increased scrutiny to ensure public money is being utilised effectively. Outsourcing our fleet management to a partner we can trust means we can save a considerable amount of time and achieve significant cost savings.

“BT Fleet identifies the needs of our fleet on a day-to-day basis and ensures that vehicle downtime is kept to a minimum. This helps to ensure that our programme of works can flow as planned, without interruption. This collaborative working arrangement provides tangible operating benefits to all, which underscores how well the partnership is working.

“Since we started working with BT Fleet in 2011, we have made substantial improvements to time and cost efficiencies and we are looking forward to seeing how these results improve even further over the next four years.”

Joe Fielder, sales director at BT Fleet, added: “Expectations on local authorities to rationalise and consolidate spend are only increasing and it can be extremely challenging to deliver consistent, efficient performance. Taunton Deane Borough Council is a fantastic example of a public sector organisation approaching fleet management in an innovative way by being open to working in parternship and gaining knowledge from fleet providers such as ourselves. We have established a strong relationship with the team over the past four years and it was from this partnership we were able to really understand their needs and expectations in meeting financial challenges and procurement requirements.” 

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/new-contracts/2016/02/08/taunton-deane-borough-council-extend-partnership-with-bt-fleet


Fabrifen saves more than £6,000 a year through Northgate flexible vehicle hire

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Steel and timber product manufacturer, supplier and installer Fabrifen is saving more than £6,000 a year after turning to Northgate for flexible vehicle hire.

Based in the North West with offices in Widnes and Salford, Fabrifen has experienced rapid growth, which has resulted in its customer base and service requirements expanding.

The company previously owned its vehicles outright, but the ageing fleet brought about a number of problems, including an increased requirement for service, maintenance and repair (SMR), and a reduction in reliability. As such, it turned to Northgate to provide a more flexible and reliable vehicle offering.

Fabrifen has been able to save more than £6,000 a year thanks to the reduction in maintenance, acquisition and administration costs brought about by Northgate’s all-inclusive package.

A key requirement for Fabrifen’s expanding business is the ability to meet varying client demands, which vary based on season and often touch every point of the manufacture, supply and installation journey, requiring consistent customer service.

The company’s growing customer base also means that team members in the field need to be supported across a larger geographical area.

Northgate has eight branches in the North West and a further 69 located across the UK, ensuring that Fabrifen can be supplied with vehicles of varying sizes on both a regional and national basis within a short timeframe.

Through its partnership with the AA, Northgate provides customers with a fully inclusive breakdown service, with a replacement vehicle being provided if a vehicle needs to be recovered, and a target of less than two-and-a-half hours of downtime.

Fabrifen has been able to save over £6,000 a year through Northgate’s flexible service, with savings made across vehicle acquisition, fuel consumption and maintenance.

Tony Ross, managing director of Fabrifen, said: “During our shutdown period over Christmas, Fabrifen saves approximately £1,925 thanks to the flexibility of being able to off-hire vehicles without penalty.

“Replacing our ageing vehicles with new ones has improved fuel consumption by 10%, which equates to more than £350 per month.”

He added: “Northgate’s SMR package has reduced maintenance bills and its widespread branch network has helped us to access vehicles quickly when new contracts are won on a more national level.”

Northgate’s flexible arrangement has allowed Fabrifen to change the type of vehicles it uses to transport people and materials more efficiently.

This has resulted in cashflow savings and customer service improvements.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/08/fabrifen-is-saving-more-than-6-000-a-year-after-turning-to-northgate-for-all-inclusive-flexible-vehicle


Possible London Mayor move to ban freight ‘counterproductive’, says FTA

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says any move to ban freight vehicles from London or charge for certain types would have a negative effect on safety, congestion and emissions.

Boris Johnson has asked Transport for London (TfL) to look at options for restricting freight, amongst a raft of measures aimed at ensuring the city’s roads can cope with forecast population growth to 2030.

The Mayor’s statement said he had asked TfL to look at “a range of options for banning or charging certain freight vehicle types at certain times of day. It will also consider what further incentives could be put in place to support more efficient use by freight of road space, such as consolidation centres”.

FTA’s head of national and regional policy Christopher Snelling said: “As FTA and others have repeatedly pointed out, cities rely on freight to keep functioning every day – every business and every resident depends on it.  Anything that adds to the cost of freight adds to the cost of doing business and living in London. 

“Banning vehicles is counterproductive – it would have negative consequences for safety, congestion and emissions if operators are forced to use smaller vehicles. Stopping them using the morning peak would make it much harder to run businesses that rely on having their goods delivered at the start of the working day.”

FTA believes there are far more intelligent ways of addressing congestion, pollution and safety that would not compromise the day-to-day running of London businesses.  The Association hopes that by “incentives” the Mayor means positive measures for cleaner, greener or more load-efficient freight, such as discounts on the Congestion Charge or reform the night lorry ban.

Snelling added: “There’s often an inherent contradiction when, in statements like this, people call for some vehicles to be banned and then want more use of consolidation centres.  These centres are supposed to remove vehicles from the road – banning HGVs would do the opposite, creating more traffic not less.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/08/possible-london-mayor-move-to-ban-freight-counterproductive-says-fta


Dagenham Ford engine apprentices restore historic Dad’s Army van

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Apprentices from Ford’s Dagenham diesel engine plant have restored Corporal Jones’s van from the Dad’s Army TV series.

Now owned by the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford, Norfolk, the van made its screen debut on September 11 1969 in the first colour episode.

This month it appears in the big-screen version of Dad’s Army with stars including Sir Tom Courtenay, Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sir Michael Gambon. 

Dagenham-based Ford apprentices, under the command of Ford’s heritage vehicle technicians, helped repair the running gear of Jack Jones’s van – in the same building at Dagenham that it would have left the plant, more than 80 years ago.

The Ford BB truck was among the first commercial vehicles produced at the Ford Dagenham site, which started production in 1931.  The mechanical repairs were carried out in one of Dagenham’s original buildings, which remains in use today as Ford’s heritage workshop.

Paul Neighbour, Ford Dagenham engine plant manager, said: “It has been wonderful to see the van back at Dagenham after all these years, and we’re delighted that our apprentices have had the opportunity to get involved with getting such an iconic vehicle back on the road.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/08/dagenham-ford-engine-apprentices-restore-historic-dad-s-army-van


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