World premieres for Citroen and Peugeot
Two world premieres, two UK premieres, two new vans and two new names – Citroen and Peugeot, partners under the PSA banner, dubbed the 2008 CV Show its most important event in a decade.
On the Citroen stand the French firm showed the world its new Berlingo for the first time, a van which has grown in size and weight over the old model.
Meanwhile the smaller Nemo was revealed to potential UK customers for the first time.
Over on the Peugeot stand, the Partner got its world premiere while the smaller Bipper made its first showing in the UK.
The Berlingo/Partner and Nemo/Bipper are basically the same van with different badges, although there are some minor differences.
The Berlingo has consistently been Citroen’s biggest LCV seller since its launch in 1996.
In fact it has been so well received that a bargain basement model called the Berlingo One will continue to be made along side the newer model, priced at between £9,065 and £10,115 ex-VAT.
Peugeot will be re-badging its old Partner as the Partner Origin.
It will cost from £10,140 to £10,440.
The new Berlingo/Partner boasts three seats in the cab for the first time.
The middle seat folds down to reveal a handy desk and there is also a storage space underneath it.
Meanwhile the outer passenger seat either folds down into the floorwell to allow for extra cargo or the squab folds up so that loftier items can be stored.
In the rear, there will be two load lengths on a common wheelbase, allowing for load volumes of either 3.3 cubic metres or 3.7 cu m.
With the passenger seat folded down on the bigger model, this extends to 4.2cu m.
Bear in mind that the old Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, a vehicle always considered to be in the sector above, only had a load volume of four cubic metres.
Maximum payload, meanwhile, rises to 850kg.
Under the bonnet is a choice of 1.6-litre petrol engine offering 90bhp or 1.6-litre diesels with either 75bhp or 90bhp.
Prices for the Berlingo range from £10,399 to £12,035 ex-VAT while the Partner will cost from £10,395 to £12,395.
On sale date is June 5.
Citroen pulled off something of a marketing coup at the show by announcing that the Berlingo will come with a Trafficmaster Smartnav system as standard – at present only the bigger Dispatch and Relay have this system fitted for free.
It not only acts as a conventional ‘intelligent’ sat-nav system that will talk drivers round any hold-ups but for an extra £25 per vehicle per month, fleets can also link up to Trafficmaster’s Fleet Director system which gives operators a mass of information about each vehicle in the fleet.
Via the fleet manager’s PC, it shows the position of vehicles in the fleet, their speed and also alerts managers of any unscheduled halts or deviations from the route.
The system can also ‘geo-fence’ vehicles, altering the manager of employees making unauthorised use of vehicles at evenings or weekends.
Private and business mileages can also be separated out for benefit-in-kind tax purposes.
Robert Handyside, Citroën’s commercial vehicles operations manager, said: “Efficient fleet management can provide tangible environmental benefits as well as significant cost savings for all fleet operators, from the smallest to the largest.
“Trafficmaster Fleet Director enables them to make efficient choices about vehicle use and make real savings in fuel, maintenance and labour, plus reducing emissions.”
Tests of the system in the US showed that fleets can expect reductions in fuel of 13%, reductions in overtime of 15% and a 12% cut in unauthorised use of vehicles.
Carbon dioxide emissions, meanwhile, can be cut by 4.3 tonnes per vehicle per year.
One of the reasons why the Berlingo and Partner have grown in size is to make way for a new pair of contenders in a brand new sector – the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper.
They fit in between the compact and hi-cube vans and the firms have understandably dubbed this new sector ‘compact hi cube.
The Nemo and Bipper boast a payload of 610kg and a loadspace of up to 2.8 cubic metres with a fold-down passenger seat similar to that offered in Berlingo and Partner.
Loads up to 2.5 metres in length can be stored.
Under the bonnet goes either a 1.4-litre petrol engine with 75bhp or a 1.4-litre diesel with 70bhp.
To suit its urban environment, the turning circle is less than 10 metres.
In addition to the manual gearbox there will also be the option of a clutchless automated manual transmission and the diesel version emits just under 120g/km of carbon dioxide.
Nemo prices range from £7,995 to £9,915 ex-VAT while the Bipper weighs in at £7,995 to £9,555.
New telematics application proves popular
There was no shortage of visitors at the show to watch demonstrations of the latest commercial vehicle telematics applications of the Navteq Transport system.
Launched only a few months ago, Navteq Transport features physical and legal restrictions, warning information such as steep hills and sharp bends, hazardous materials and points of interest.
Driver communication number one problem
Driver communication is the number one problem for van fleets trying to meet their responsibilities under the new Corporate Manslaughter Act, delegates on the CFC Solutions stand were told by leading solicitor David Faithful.
CFC held a series of seminars tackling key fleet subjects throughout show, with the first being given by Mr Faithful, a consultant for both civil and commercial law specialists Lyons Davidson and risk management company Essential Risk Consultancy.
He said: “Driver communication is the number one problem for commercial vehicles fleets trying to meet their responsibilities under the new Corporate Manslaughter legislation.
“Because truck and van drivers tend to be out on the road all the time, it is difficult to let them know about basic measures that the new law may say you need to put in place, such as certain aspects of your risk management policy.
“An example could be if you need to tell your drivers about a new policy you are putting in place to control mobile phone use.
There is no easy way to get the details to them, to know they have read and understood it, and that they are taking notice of it as part of their day-to-day activity.
“Driver fatigue is a linked issue, especially for smaller CV fleets where there are no tachographs.
It is difficult to know how long drivers are actually spending behind the wheel because the driver cannot communicate with you easily – but this is a key area to monitor under health and safety.”
Locks 4 Vans gets Thatcham approval
LOCKS 4 Vans announced at the show that its T series locks were the first to gain Thatcham accreditation under the new Thatcham Quality Accreditation (TQA) programme.
L4V deadlocks and slamlocks obtained the nod from Thatcham after rigorous attack testing.
Managing director Chris Batterbee said: “We have reached a significant milestone.
In five years we have grown to become one of the UK’s major independent lock specialists.”
VOLKSWAGEN showed off its new super-size Caddy at the show.
The Caddy Maxi raises load volume from 3.2 cubic metres to 4.3cu m while load length increases by 47cms.
Visitors were also given the chance to win a beautifully-restored classic split screen ‘VeeDub’ in a competition to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The van was donated by Volkswagen and by rock group The Who.
Movano is Vauxhall’s latest Luton conversion
A new titan from Vauxhall – the Movano Luton – was unveiled at the show, boasting 17.2 cubic metres of loadspace and a payload of 1,385kg.
The new van adds to Vauxhall’s list of core conversions which include crew-cabs, dropsides and tippers and thus is covered by the standard three-year/100,000 mile warranty.
The Movano Luton boasts an aluminium body produced by Aluvan of Belgium and comes with a 2.5CDTi engine boasting either 100bhp, 120bhp or 146bhp.
Standard specification includes reinforced rear suspension, driver’s airbag and remote central locking.
An electronically-operated Ratcliffe tail-lift is an added option.
Prices range from £23,135 to £25,535 ex-VAT and the tail-lift adds £2,750.
Meanwhile taking centre stage on the Vauxhall stand was a trio of ‘black edition’ sporty concept vans – Corsavan, Astravan and Vivaro.
They boasted extras such as metallic paint, alloy wheels and leather seats – all extras available from Vauxhall dealers.
Vauxhall has also unveiled a new service and maintenance package for all its commercial vehicles.
For £29.99 per month for Corsavan, Combo and Astravan and £31.99 per month for Vivaro and Movano, fleets get free routine servicing plus any repairs to items such as brakes, clutches, steering joints, shock absorbers, exhausts and wiper blades.
Toyota has taken the title of ‘most powerful 4x4’ after revealing a new super-powerful Hilux at the show.
The new model boasts a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine that has been uprated with a Toyota Motorsport performance kit to offer 194bhp and a massive 317lb-ft of torque from between 1,600rpm and 3,200rpm.
0-60mph time is down from 13 seconds to 10.5 seconds, or 11.4 seconds for the automatic version.
Numbers are limited to 500 and the new model goes on sale in the summer.
There are many sat-nav systems on the market, but who provides all those detailed maps for them?
That question was answered on the Tele Atlas stand at the show, where the firm proudly showed off its hi-tech skills.
The firm employs nearly 2,000 people worldwide updating maps and is continually improving its databases.
Now Tele Atlas Logistics has been launched, a commercial vehicle system which automatically calculates not only the quickest route but the safest too, avoiding roads with weight restrictions and low bridges.
Database operations manager Allan Rasmussen said: “Facilitating efficient and safe road routing in ever more important.
By using our fleet of mobile mapping vans and data from the Ordnance Survey, Tele Atlas has rich and accurate routing information.”
Ampere unveiled by Smith
Electric vans have very much come into the mainstream fleet arena in the last year – and if Smith Electric Vehicles has its way, that focus will increase this year with the launch of the new Ampere.
Last year’s show saw a new tie-up between Smith and Ford, in which Ford provided Transit shells for electric motors to be added by Smith.
This vehicle was named the Edison.
This year, on the Smith Electric Vehicles stand, managing direction Darren Kell took the wraps off the Ampere, which is based on the Transit Connect.
Mr Kell said: “Last year we revealed the Edison, the first mainstream high performance electric van which now comes with a completely flat loadfloor.
"This van has been extremely successful for us and now we are going one better with the Ampere.
“Obviously we can’t cater for fleets that go up and down the M6 every day as our vans are restricted in how many miles they can do before needing a charge but there are enough private firms and local authorities out there who are interested in what we have to offer.”
The Ampere boasts a payload of 800kg, a top speed of 70mph and a range of 100 miles. It will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Kangoo gets split personality with Compact version
The Renault Kangoo is about to have a split personality – when the new model is launched later on in the summer there will be a larger version and a smaller one, called the Kangoo Compact.
Both models were revealed for the first time at the show and were found to be very different types of vehicle, aimed at different customers.
Based on the Scenic MPV, the new Kangoo has a load volume of three cubic metres and a load length of 4.21 metres, while payload is up to 800kg.
Under the bonnet is a choice of two 1.6-litre petrol engines with 90bhp and 106bhp or 1.5-litre diesels with 68bhp, 86bhp or 106bhp.
Meanwhile the Kangoo Compact has a load volume of 2.3 cubic metres and a payload of 500kg.
Engines on offer are a 1.5-litre diesel with 68bhp or 86bhp and a 1.6-litre petrol with 90bhp.
Nissan used the show to debut the new NP300 truck, which will sit beside its more glamorous brother the Navara.
Prices range from £11,395 for the single-cab 4x2 to £14,795 for the double-cab 4x4.
With a maximum payload of 1135kg, the NP300 has 2.5-litre direct injection diesel producing 133bhp with 224lb-ft of torque.
The NP300 also has a towing capacity of up to 3,000kg.
Minorplanet Systems showcased the latest Vehicle Management Information (VMI) technology, which enables commercial vehicle operators to improve productivity and reduce fleet running costs.
VMI systems automatically link in with back office functions including payroll, human resources and customer relationship management database systems so, for example, driver working hours can be added to a payroll package without any manual intervention.
Terry Donovan, CEO of Minorplanet Systems, said: “Commercial vehicle operators now demand so much more than just simple track and trace technology from their telematics systems.
"Minute-by-minute tracking of vehicles and assets offers operators much more efficient journey scheduling, planning and routing, so reducing their running costs and increasing their profits.
“The latest VMI systems greatly improve driver and vehicle efficiency so that more deliveries can be made and appointments can be met with greater time accuracy.
"This leads to more satisfied customers, more efficient use of fuel, lower insurance premiums, elimination of personal use of vehicles and validation of overtime claims.
“Our latest systems monitor driver behaviour, identifying instances of both good and bad driving.
"This helps reduce vehicle wear and tear, ensures compliance with legislation and enables vehicle operators to review individual driver performance.”
Vito sales leave Mercedes-Benz disappointed
Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a record year in 2007, with 8,141 Vitos and 18,632 Sprinters sold. But despite this success, director and van sales and marketing Steve Bridge is not a happy man.
For while Sprinter enjoys a high profile among Britain’s LCV operators, he feels that the smaller Vito isn’t getting the attention it deserves and Mr Bridge has labelled 2008 a year of cracking the medium panel van market.
Speaking the show, he said: “We could have sold even more Sprinters last year but the factory in Germany is already working flat out and we are restricted in the number we can obtain.
"But we don’t feel that Vito has as high a profile as we want and we have set aggressive sales targets for this year.”
Mr Bridge wants to see 9,000 Vitos sold in 2008 rising to 10,000 ‘within a few years’.
One way of increasing sales is the launch in September of a new long wheelbase 3.2-tonne gross vehicle weight model (the present limit is 2.8 tonnes), which Mr Bridge believes will appeal to fleets such as the AA and RAC.
Meanwhile, making its world debut on the stand at the show was a new EcoStart Sprinter, which takes over from the old MSS stop-start system.
The van automatically switches off the engine when it has been stationary for five seconds and switches it back on again with a dab of the accelerator.
The new system has a beefed up starter motor and alternator and Mercedes reckons that in tests the van has shown a 10% fuel saving over the standard diesel model.
There will also be a 4x4 Sprinter launched in the summer and eventually Mr Bridge promised a hybrid Sprinter for the UK.
He said: “It will come but we don’t know when. It is a case of slowly does it.”
Meanwhile Mr Bridge said some fleets were also showing an interest the petrol/CNG Sprinter.
Although CNG is not generally available in filling stations in the UK, the environmental benefits of using the cleaner fuel, the possibility of fuel bunkering at central fleet sites and cash savings by using the fuel have proved enticing.
He admitted that such vehicles would probably end up having a zero residual value as no-one would want to buy them secondhand, but this would be factored into the fleet equation.
Visitors to the Manheim stand were able to watch live auction action on screen throughout the three-day event.
On the first day a ‘CV Live for Vans’ event at Haydock was beamed live to the show while on Wednesday and Thursday it was the turn of Manheim’s centres at Colchester, Glasgow, Washington and Leeds.
Experts from the firm, including commercial vehicle sales director Alex Wright, were also on hand to give advice to visitors on residual value issues.
Summer launch for LDV’s electric Maxus
From near bankruptcy two years ago, it was a very different LDV that presented itself at the show this year.
Now owned by Russia’s GAZ Group and with a significant injection of cash under its belt, the firm announced an array of new models and initiatives, including the imminent arrival of an electric-powered Maxus this summer.
The company’s chief executive, Evgeniy Vereshchagin, announced that LDV was working with RVL to produce the new vehicle which, he said, “could be here as early as June.”
LDV is also working with Prodrive to develop a DC-DC converter for use in automotive hybrid and electric vehicles.
The converter will be more efficient, smaller and lower in cost than those currently available.
The vehicles will recycle energy lost during the braking process through an electronic motor, which can then be used later.
LDV also launched six new vehicles – a mobile post office designed in conjunction with the Royal Mail, a minibus that comes with ABS brakes, reversing camera and driver training as standard, a new Luton-bodied Maxus, box van and curtainside models, a sportvan and an ambulance conversion that nudges in under 3.5-tonnes gross vehicle weight.
Mr Vereshchagin gave an upbeat view of the coming year to visitors at the show.
He said: “We have made solid progress since our acquisition in 2006.
"This includes 51 new Maxus derivatives introduced into the market, a 30% increase in Maxus UK registrations, an increase in our UK dealer network of some 25% and over 100 new dealers appointed on the continent.
"Our manufacturing volumes have doubled with productivity increasing by 38% and we have created 200 new jobs.
“2008 will see us introduce more new models to the market and we are also extending our bespoke product offering through our dedicated special vehicle operations department.
“On export, sales will increase significantly this year and we are confident that we will export around 5,000 vehicles from Birmingham.
"Our relationships in the Asia Pacific Rim are also strengthening and we plan to send over 1,000 vehicles as either built up MAXUS products or vehicles in kits for local assembly in Malaysia.
“We believe a platform for growth is now in place and it is the whole teams’ responsibility to build on this for future success.”
Isuzu Truck used the show to launch a whole new range of vehicles with gross vehicle weights of between 3.5-tonnes and 18-tonnes.
The new Grafter (all models above 3.5-tonnes gvw will now be called Forward), features many components from the larger models.
For instance, only two types of door are used. Under the bonnet goes a 3.0-litre turbodiesel powerplant offering 150bhp at 2,800rpm and 276lb-ft of torque at 1,600-2,800rpm.
Maximum payload is 1635kg.
Twin airbags come as standard and a range of extras can be specified including suspension seat, sat-nav, parking aids and speed limiters.
Chassis-cab, dropside and tipper versions will be available and prices range from £14,950 to £18,900 ex-VAT.
New from Fiat
Fiat not only used the show to reveal its new Fiorino lightweight van, but was also out to prove that its vans are ‘Built for Business’.
The new BforB range of a series of vehicles such as tippers, dropsides, Lutons, box vans, double-cabs and crew-cabs which can be ordered straight from the dealer.
A Fiat spokesman said: “We arrange all this work ourselves from recognised providers such as Ingimex and Airtrucks so the customer doesn’t have to do anything.
"The USP for Built for Business is that we have very short lead times.
"An order can be delivered in two weeks, unlike with some other manufacturers.”
The new Fiorino goes on sale on May 5 and comes off the same production line as the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper.
It boasts 2.5 cubic metres of loadspace and a payload of 610kg.
Prices range from £7,999 to £8,750.
Ford to Simplify its Transit range
Ford may not have launched a major new model at the show, but there was certainly no shortage of mini-launches as the UK’s number one van manufacturer unleashed a variety of fresh derivatives.
‘Sporty’ was the name of the game as a new Transit Sportvan, Connect Sportvan and a Ranger with a new colour and sports striping took centre stage.
The Connect Sportvan was seen as a concept at last year’s show and will now go on sale in the autumn.
It features a blue body with white stripes, alloy wheels and a 1.8-litre TDCI diesel engine with 110bhp on tap
The top-of-the-range Ranger Wildtrak also gets a new colour, performance blue, along with white stripes.
It will go on sale priced at £20,900. There is also a new colour for the Transit Sportvan – panther black with silver stripes.
This model goes on sale at £19,800.
Ford also announced that it was simplifying the staggering range of Ford Transits on offer into a new customer-friendly package.
There will be basic Transit models, the Transit Trend aimed at owner-operators, the Transit Limited, which features higher levels of equipment and the Transit Sport.
On top of this, a range of option packs allow buyers to get exactly the van they want.
Identification badges have been introduced to show the model series and these are placed on the rear of the vehicle.
The power output and gross vehicle mass of the models is still identified with the use of black and red text denoting petrol or diesel-powered versions respectively.
Citroen smiles at Nemo buzz
Andrew Cowell surveyed the crowds on the Citroen stand flocking round the new Nemo with an air of quiet satisfaction and a smile on his face.
That smile was understandable – he’s the head of the project team that designed the Nemo so his reputation stands or falls on the success of this new van.
Judging by the remarks of the visitors, Mr Cowell’s reputation is pretty safe.
The Nemo, and its twin brothers the Peugeot Bipper and Fiat Fiorino, so far seem to have been given the thumbs-up by both the world’s motoring press and the CV Show visitors.
The first surprise is that although Mr Cowell speaks fluent French – he has been based at the PSA offices in Paris for many years – he is in fact an Englishman.
The second surprise is that although the Nemo, Bipper and Fiorino are very much a PSA project, the van is in fact based on the Fiat Grande Punto platform.
Mr Cowell said: “When we started the project three years ago, we realised it would be uneconomical to build a brand new platform so we turned to our partners Fiat who happened to have exactly what we wanted.”
Three years is a short gestation period for a brand new van, but Mr Cowell explained: “We had to get it out before the new Berlingo, as that vehicle was going to be a lot bigger than the old one and this one slots in just underneath in terms of size.
"If we didn’t have the Nemo ready, there would be a gap in the commercial vehicle line-up.
“We were aware that when the old C15 finally ended production, it had become something of an icon and we wanted to produce another vehicle that will fill this gap.”
So will this van become an iconic product?
“Very much so,’ said Mr Cowell.
“We were looking to the future when designing the Nemo and what problems need to be tackled as time goes on.
"Congestion is increasing while roadspace is reducing so we wanted a compact van that was easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces.
"We also wanted to build a vehicle which has low CO2 emissions and also one which would appeal to small start-up firms.
"We believe that as the internet shopping boom increases, a lot of small firms will be starting up and those people will want small vehicles which are good looking and cheap to run.”
So is Mr Cowell a happy man?
He said: “Oh yes. We wanted to build a vehicle that is fun to drive and will put a smile on people’s faces.
"We’ve had lost of positive feedback from potential fleet buyers and you only have to see the faces of the people on the stand looking at the Nemo to see how much they like it.”