The commercial vehicle market is seeing some structural changes driven by developments such as online shopping. Malory Davies examines the impact and suggests some highlights to look out for at the forthcoming CV Show.
Everyone knows that van sales have been increasing dramatically as a result of the growth in demand from the home delivery sector. And figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that registrations were up 15.6 per cent per cent last year to a record of almost 372,000 units.
But the numbers also suggest there are some less obvious changes taking place in the commercial vehicle market.
The truck market (over 3.5 tonnes) in 2015 was up 25.5 per cent on 2014 at 52,064 units. This is not entirely surprising given the disruption to the market that resulted from the introduction of Euro 6 environmental regulations the year before. This is most clearly seen in the growth in top weight artics – up almost 41 per cent on 2014.
But the sector containing the 7.5 tonner (Rigids >6-16t ) was up only 9.3 per cent – well below the growth for the rest of the sector. These trucks accounted for 26.8 per cent of the rigid market, compared to 29.3 per cent the previous year. And in 2013, registrations in this sector were 11,619 – 34.5 per cent of all rigid registrations.
By comparison the under six tonne sector accounted for 20 per cent of registration in 2013 but this year that proportion had risen to 25.8 per cent.
And at the heavy end of the rigid market, in 2013 trucks over 16 tonnes accounted for 45.3 per cent of the market. Last year, that figure was 47.3 per cent.
This suggests a polarisation in the rigid market with a move away from 7.5 tonners towards either lighter or heavier vehicles.
The 7.5 tonner has, of course, been the mainstay of many delivery operations. One of the reasons for this is the fact that older drivers can claim grandfather rights enabling them to drive the trucks on a car licence. But time is running out for this, while the introduction of the Driver CPC has also had an impact.
As a result there has been speculation that the days of the 7.5 tonner are numbered, with suggestions that 10 or 12 tonners would be more suitable in the future. Nevertheless, the truck still sells in big numbers. TNT last year put 150 DAF LF 7.5 tonners on the road.
TNT UK’s national engineering manager, Steve Davis, says: “We have had our own internal debates and listened to the industry as it has explored the future.
“The loss of grand-father driving rights has been significant, but only up to a point. Yes, it has focused us all on the optimum vehicle weights for the more recently qualified drivers coming through, but there is another issue.
“The fact of the matter is that there are still a huge number of weight and access restrictions around the UK above the 7.5t level.
“My personal view is that 7.5t vehicle operations still have a good future in the industry. Especially in the parcels sector perhaps, if we find we can’t service certain areas with, say, 10t trucks, but are currently able to with 7.5t vehicles. People rely on us, trust us, to deliver. That means always specifying the right trucks to maintain the standards of our business.”
What not to miss at the CV Show
Iveco is to exhibit more vehicles than ever before – cementing its position as the only major truck manufacturer supporting this year’s CV Show.
It will be highlighting the new Eurocargo, ‘International Truck of the Year 2016’; Daily, ‘International Van of the Year 2015’ and Stralis Hi-Way, ‘International Truck of the Year 2013’.
Nigel Emms, director of brand and communication, says: “Most manufacturers would bite your arm off to win International Van of the Year or International Truck of the Year. To have three such awards in our current product line-up is unprecedented.”
There will be seven different models of Daily selected to highlight the breadth of the 3.5 to 7.2 tonne range, to include panel vans, chassis cabs, a 4×4 model and a minibus powered by the latest Iveco diesel engine technology. Iveco promises a major international premiere at the show, and will also showcase the latest generation Daily Electric for the first time in the UK.
The rapid growth in the vans market will be reflected at the CV Show this year with van manufacturers out in force. One of the biggest names to make a comeback to the show is Volkswagen, which will be using the show to exhibit its latest Transporter and Caddy and some of its conversions.
Volkswagen will be preparing to launch the new Amarok in 2016 and new Crafter in 2017 and is looking to the CV Show to meet new and existing customers. Head of marketing Kirsten Stagg, says: “We’re looking forward to being back at the CV Show in April. It’s great timing for us to consolidate the launches of the new Caddy and Transporter, as well as to meet customers and provide opportunities for our teams and those from our dedicated Van Centre network to build relationships.”
Also making a return is Toyota, which will be exhibiting the latest variants of its light commercial range, appearing at the CV Show for the first time since 2008.
“We are looking forward to returning to the CV show in 2016,” says Gareth Matthews, Toyota LCV manager. “The venue will provide us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how we plan to increase Toyota presence and product line-up in the light commercial vehicle market.”
The LDV name is also expected to return with the new Chinese-built V80 panel van expected to make its UK debut. And Renault’s stand will showcase 11 vehicles ranging from a Master LHL35 RWD with 17 cubic metres of load space, to the Kangoo Z.E electric van and Twizy Cargo.
European trailer giant Kässbohrer will be attending the show for the first time this year. It will be exhibiting its four-axle low bed, the K.SLA 4, a 60 cubic metre tipping silo, the K.SSK 60, and its heavy duty platform specifically designed for the UK, the K.SPW.XS.
Cartwright will be displaying 3.5 tonne and 7.5 tonne rigids both of which are insulated refrigerated units, plus an Asda liveried trailer. Also on display will be the Cartwright Urban Trailer in Culina livery. This specialist Urban insulated curtainsider, fitted with command steer, tail lift and a single temp fridge, is the first of its kind.
Three trailers will be exhibited in the display area outside the main halls. These will include the Acclaro with extra aerodynamic features.
Cartwright Conversions, the new division specialising in van conversions, makes its debut at the CV Show – launching its new vehicle racking products as well as exhibiting a re-styled welfare conversion.
Cheshire-based Tiger Trailers is exhibiting its Mega Straight Frame Chassis with a curtainside body. The trailer has a full length lifting deck with a lifting roof, which allows it to be 100 per cent loaded on both the top and bottom decks. Tiger reckons this gives a load fill increase of 20 per cent. In addition, the chassis is galvanised, and comes with an eight-year anti-corrosion warranty.
Transdek will show its temperature controlled double deck Wedge trailer, along with its DUET urban double decker. It will also have one of its latest vehicle-to-ground (V2G) double deck lifts.
The Wedge is designed specifically to carry high volume multi-temperature produce on trunking runs, and is capable of transporting up to 50 standard pallets or up to 90 roll cages, twice the load of a standard single deck reefer. The trailer on show will feature a temperature controlled upper deck and ambient lower deck.
The DUET was developed to meet the growing need for transport efficiencies on last-mile deliveries to urban centres, particularly from grocery retailers. Transdek says it significantly reduces the number of deliveries per store and provides up to 100 per cent greater load footprint when compared to an 18-tonne rigid truck.
Managing director Mark Adams says: “Show visitors will be able to see at first hand the key advantages and flexible supply chain solutions that our range of DUET based trailers delivers for transport operators.”