Ford hits show with triple whammy
FORD hit the CV Show with a triple whammy this year – a new Transit, a fresh Transit Connect and a new Ranger 4x4 truck. In a year which saw more new launches than any other in the show’s history, Ford pulled off the grand slam and was rewarded with a flock of potential fleet buyers.
The Transit, Britain’s best-selling van for the past 40 years, took centre stage as it made its world debut – and even before the press had driven the vehicle it was obvious this was a different animal from the last incarnation.
Outside, the Transit boasts a bold new grille and the largest Ford badge ever seen on a vehicle. Inside, the old floor-mounted gearstick migrates to the dash and there are new instruments and switchgear.
Under the bonnet, Transit offers three 2.2-litre common rail diesel engines for front wheel drive models, offering 85bhp and 184lb-ft of torque, 110bhp/210lb-ft or 130bhp/228lb-ft. Rear-wheel drive models have three 2.4-litre motors offering 100bhp/210lb-ft, 115bhp/228lb-ft and 140bhp/276lb-ft.
There will also be a 145bhp petrol engine which has hardened valve seats suitable for conversion to LPG or CNG.
There will be three wheelbases and four load lengths from 2.58m to 4.0 metres. Prices will be announced nearer the launch in June.
Megastars see new Megastar
A NEW van and a new marque are set to hit British shores this summer when the BMC Megastar is launched.
The Turkish-built vans are aimed at the ‘cheap and cheerful’ end of the market and the importers are hoping to pick up sales after the demise of the old LDV Convoy. Panel vans, dropsides and a minibus version will be available.
The vans range from 3.2 to 5.0-tonnes gross vehicle weight and have a 2.8-litre common rail VM powerplant offering 130bhp, mated to a six-speed gearbox. The importers used the show as a vehicle to recruit dealers and are hoping to have between 40 and 50 throughout the UK by launch date in July or August.
Zero emission van
THE most radical vehicle at the CV Show was the Modec electric van.
Previous attempts to convince the industry that an electric vehicle was viable have been far from successful, but Modec chairman Jamie Borwick said his company’s vehicle was different.
He said: ‘The Modec van is the first of its kind. It compares well with other vans currently on the market, but goes one better because it produces no CO2 emissions.’
The Modec’s sodium nickel chloride electric battery will propel the van to 50mph and carry on for 100 miles between recharges, which can be done from the mains. One recharge is estimated to cost about £4 in electricity. Available for £23,000 from November, Borwick expects to sell 500 in the first full year and 1,000 in the second.
He said that annual sales should rise to 5,000 within three to four years.
Double storage space
THE new Renault double deck dropside has two loadspaces – a conventional one with a bed height of 900mm and a secure, weatherproof lower deck with a height of 660mm. The lower storage space is lockable and a handy tool drawer is incorporated into the design. The truck is available with either a 100bhp or 140bhp turbodiesel powerplant with a payload of either 977kg or 1,100 kg and costs between £18,600 and £20,000 ex-VAT.
New Astravan unveiled
VAUXHALL used the show for the world premiere of the new Astravan, which will be built at the firm’s factory at Ellesmere Port.
The old model was still based on the last generation Astra car and had been built in Poland.
The new van looks smarter and has new engines and transmissions too. There is a 1.3 CDTi turbodiesel offering 90bhp, a 1.7 CDTi with 100bhp and a new range-topping 1.9 CDTi with 120bhp.
ABS brakes are standard, along with front airbags and a half-height bulkhead.
Unveiling the new van at the show, Vauxhall managing director Bill Parfitt said: ‘This van handles the road as well as the load.’
BY far the most expansive stand was that of Volkswagen, which was dominated by the world premiere of the striking new Crafter van.
The replacement to the LT, the Crafter is a response to the ever-growing needs and demands of commercial vehicle buyers. It is available in 378 derivatives and can be powered by one of four different diesel engines – all 2.5-litres, but producing 87, 108, 134 or 161bhp.
Although a six-speed manual transmission is standard, Volkswagen is rather proud of its Shiftmatic system. Think of it less as an automatic gearbox, but rather an automated manual gearbox, with the clutch and changes carried out by hydraulic actuators. This reduces weight compared with a traditional auto and improves performance and fuel consumption.
Paul Wiseman, Volkwagen’s national fleet manager, said the Crafter would broaden Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle appeal into new areas.
‘It’s a complete development, a revolution of the LT,’ he said. ‘We’re looking at the blue-light market and local authorities. We’ve already established ourselves within the construction, railway maintenance and ambulance markets and we want to build further upon that.’
The new van hits UK showrooms in September.
World debut for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
THE new Sprinter took pride of place on the Mercedes-Benz stand as the van made its world debut on the public stage. When it goes on sale this month, there will be three wheelbases and roof heights, with load volumes from seven cubic metres to 17 cubic metres, and payloads up to 2,440kg. Chassis-cabs will also be available.
In the cab, a driver’s airbag will be standard (it was a paid-for option on the old model) and window and thorax bags will be optional. A CD/radio, adaptive traction control and ABS brakes will also feature as standard.
There will be a choice of engines – a 2.2-litre four cylinder unit offering 87bhp, 115bhp and 147bhp, while there will be a new 3.0-litre V6 diesel pumping out a massive 181bhp – a new record power output for large panel vans in the UK.
Meanwhile, the smaller Vito van has been upgraded with all body parts zinc-plated on both sides, while sound insulation has been increased. Also launched was the new Vito 120, featuring a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine offering 204bhp and 324lb-ft of torque. Price is £18,855 ex-VAT.
New fuel offers extra
SHELL’S big CV Show announcement was its new fuel, Diesel Extra.
The fuel has more engine-cleaning additives in it and promises improved performance and efficiency.
It works by breaking down and preventing carbon and combustion deposits from forming on diesel injectors inside the combustion chamber. Such build ups can restrict fuel flow and therefore slow the vehicle down. Diesel Extra has replaced regular diesel in more than half of all Shell service stations and costs the same as regular diesel.
Keith Reading, the project leader of the development team, said: ‘When people buy a new vehicle it’s sharp and the performance is there.
‘After a few tens of thousands of miles it’s not quite as sharp as it was. There’s no reason why we should accept that, and that’s what this product is all about.’
New Tracker alert
TRACKER has added a new alert feature to its Vehicle Asset Management system.
It allows fleet managers to create their own custom alerts, sending them an email or text message when a certain event happens at a certain time.
For example, it can send an alert if a vehicle is started between two set times, or if a driver goes over the speed limit. It is designed to keep fleet managers abreast of particular events without the need for constant monitoring of a computer screen.
Tracker’s national corporate sales manager Stuart Brunger said: ‘Currently one of the major issues with drivers is the amount of fuel used when they leave a vehicle idly running while making a delivery.
‘If this happens, the manager will be notified by their chosen method, allowing them to take action.’