Launches galore at truck show

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The Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham saw a host of new truck launches as manufacturers updated their product ranges to meet the Euro 4 environmental legislation that comes into force in October.

All the manufacturers have had to develop new engines to meet the Euro 4 standard. Mercedes, DAF, Iveco, Renault and Volvo have all gone down the SCR route which involves squirting urea into the exhaust to neutralise the harmful gases. MAN and Scania have chosen the EGR route which focuses on making the engine run cleaner. And with the Chancellor making noises about the possibility of offering discounts for Euro 5 engines, some manufacturers were promoting their Euro 5 offerings as well.

DAF showed its renewed LF and CF ranges. The LF range of six to 18 tonners has an optimised chassis layout and modernised interior. It is available with Euro 4 engines and an automated AS-Tronic gearbox. The CF range is available with Euro 4 or Euro 5 engines as well as the AS-Tronic gearbox.

Renault had two new distribution trucks on display: the Premium Distribution tractor unit with a new cab, chassis and driveline; and the Midlum rigid which also has a new cab, chassis and driveline.

Iveco used the opportunity to launch its new Eurocargo range of seven to 18 tonners which is available in both Euro 4 and Euro 5 versions. It also had Euro 4 and 5 versions of its Stralis tractor unit.

MAN focused on the benefits of its Euro 4 EGR engine, arguing that it was a lot simpler for operators as they would not have to worry about buying and storing Adblue. It also announced that its TipMatic automatic gearbox will be fitted as standard to all its Euro 4 trucks from 77.5 tonnes right up to 44 tonnes.

The trailer of the future could be built of very light aluminium panels rather than GRP, Don-Bur believes. It has been developing trailers using “Technolite” which consists of two thin aluminium panels connected by a central honeycomb core for lightness.

Don-Bur reckons that this can reduce the weight of the trailer by as much as one tonne compared with conventional GRP construction. This equates to a fuel saving of about four per cent.

So far Don-Bur has one such trailer in operation with John Lewis and a second is now going into service with Argos. This is also the 100th lifting deck trailer built for Argos and Don-Bur reckons it will provide a good test of the performance of the Technolite panels.

Isuzu was showing its new look NQR light truck range, all featuring Nees 2 Easyshift gearbox. Currently 70 per cent of all Isuzu NQR 7.5t vehicles being sold here in UK feature the Easyshift system, hence giving this particular vehicle specification maximum exposure at this great industry event.”

The show was just as much about light trucks as their bigger brothers. LDV has launched its Maxus Platinum range, in both long and short wheelbase variants. LDV are offering the model at all three weights including; 2.8t, 3.2t and 3.5t and in both roof heights. As well as the standard features of; alloy wheels, air conditioning, steel bulkhead, privacy glass, the specifications can be enhanced by the addition of two option packs. The Safety and Security pack includes an adjustable driver’s seat, anti-lock brakes, passenger airbag, perimetric alarm and front fog lamps. The Professional Trade Pack adds Hexagrip flooring with load lashing eyes, a multi-wall lining kit and a rear step.

Volkswagen has launched the Crafter, which replaces its LT van. The Crafter will be the biggest van in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ range and is due to be released in September 2006. The design comes with a choice of four five-cylinder engines, delivering 88, 109, 136 or 163 PS. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, although Volkswagen says that an automated manual transmission will be optional. In-cab features include; a dash-mounted gear leaver, extra storage space and a driver’s airbag fitted as standard. The Crafter has a maximum load capacity of 17 cu m, allowing the 5 tonne panel van to carry around 2,670 kg.

Modec released its high performance, zero-emission van. The battery-operated Modec van is designed specifically to deliver in and around urban areas, but is no milk float. It offers a top speed of 50 mph, from a 76Kw motor, producing 102 Horse Power. Modec says that the van has a range of more than 100 miles, driven with a conventional load.

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