UK commercial vehicle production rises in June, as exports drive demand

31 July 2018

  • British commercial vehicle manufacturing rises 6.1% in June, with 7,769 units built.
  • Production in first six months declines -5.3% to 41,452 units.
  • Exports remain stable in first half, with nearly 70% of production destined for overseas markets.

British CV manufacturing grew 6.1% in June, with 7,769 vehicles leaving production lines, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production for the UK rose by a moderate 3.1%, equivalent to some 91 units, alongside a more substantial 8.1% boost in export demand, with 4,713 vehicles shipped to overseas markets in the month.

In the first six months, however, output remained -5.3% behind performance for the same period in 2017. The decline was largely driven by slower UK demand, down -14.9%, as fluctuating fleet buying cycles and business uncertainty affected the market. Meanwhile, exports remained stable, up 0.2% in the year to date, to 27,873 units. Almost seven out of every 10 vans, trucks, taxis and buses built in the UK in the first half of 2018 were exported – with some 95% of those going to the EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

These latest results once again demonstrate the importance of exports to commercial vehicle manufacturing in the UK. Overseas demand for the high-tech, ultra low and, increasingly, zero emission vehicles we produce has been the major driver of production so far this year, and with the vast majority of exports destined for the EU, maintaining free and frictionless trade is vital for the continued success of the sector.

Land Rover announces commercial Discovery

03 January 2018

Land Rover has introduced a commercial version of its Discovery SUV.

Discovery Commercial removes the second and third row of passenger seats from the standard car to give 1,856 litres of load space, accessed via a powered tailgate. The Discovery Commercial also retains the powered inner tailgate system, preventing unsecured loads from falling. The load space measures over 1.6m long and 1.4m wide with an aperture large enough to accept a load up to 1000mm x 735mm.

Underneath the Discovery Commercial retains the same mechanical layout, meaning four-wheel-drive, an automatic transmission with twin-speed transfer box and air suspension are all fitted as standard. Two engine options are available; a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit offering 237bhp and a six-cylinder 3.0-litre with 254bhp. A Terrain Response system is fitted as standard, allowing optimization of the vehicle systems for off-road conditions, with a fully-automatic Terrain Response 2 system available as an option. Passengers benefit from the same comforts and features from the standard car, including safety systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning.

Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director, Jeremy Hicks said “Discovery Commercial has always been a key part of the Discovery line-up since the Discovery 1, but the latest version brings new levels of practicality, versatility and premium levels of comfort that showcase the vehicle’s hard-working DNA.”

Hyundai Fuel Cell van revealed at IAA

22 September 2016

A van that emits only water and can be refuelled in the same amount of time as a conventional diesel LCV has made its debut at this week’s IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.

Shown as a concept, the Hyundai H350 Fuel Cell is based on the Korean firm’s new Turkish-built panel van and minibus range, but uses similar technology to that found in the company’s iX35 FCV SUV, the world’s first mass production fuel cell car.

Unlike a conventional electric vehicle, which requires a number of hours to recharge, the 175-litre hydrogen tank can be filled in less than four minutes – similar to the time it takes to refill a tank of diesel in a conventional van. The H350 Fuel Cell Concept has a total range of 422 km (260 miles), and emits only water.

The powertrain is packaged under the van floor, so it has no impact on the load area. Depending on wheelbase, the H350 provides 10.5 m3 or 12.9 m3 of space – sufficient to accommodate five standard European pallets – or room for a 14-seat passenger compartment.

The Fuel Cell driveline also enables near silent operation, making it ideal for night deliveries in urban areas.

The equivalent power output of the engine is 134bhp, enough to give it a top speed of 150km/h (95mph).

The H350 Fuel Cell’s powertrain is formed of a hydrogen tank, fuel cell stack, high-voltage battery pack, inverter, and electric motor. The 700-bar high-pressure hydrogen tanks, located under the floor of the vehicle between the two axles, store 7.05 kg of compressed hydrogen, which is then broken down into protons and electrons in the fuel cell stack. The electricity produced by the fuel stack is then stored in a compact 24 kW lithium-polymer battery pack, with the inverter converting the energy to an alternating current to power a 100kW electric motor.

Smith US Granted Deal Talks Extension

Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation remains locked in talks to buy the entire Smith Electric Vehicles operation out of parent company Tanfield Group Plc.

Tanfield owns 100% of Smith Electric Vehicles UK and 49% of Smith US, which builds the Smith Newton electric truck under license in North America. In March, Smith US made a conditional offer to buy Tanfield’s 49% stake, the license agreement and the Smith UK business.

Tanfield has granted Smith US a 60-day extension to its exclusivity period, which gives Smith US until September to table a formal offer.

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Greatest British haulier

Who should be crowned the Greatest British Haulier of All Time?

Truck & Driver magazine wants to know who you would vote for.

“What makes the Greatest British Haulier?” According to T&D editor Will Shiers, it’s up to you; it doesn’t matter if a firm is still in business or shut its doors years ago. “Think about the trucks, loads and destinations and how drivers fare. What about the bosses and their image? Has your winner helped raise public sympathy for the industry? You might choose a haulier you work(ed) for or just one you admire.”

Pick up the September issue of T&D, for an entry form, it’s out now, or enter on-line at:

And to thank people for their nominations, he’ll enter everyone who sends one into a draw to win a Corgi Hauliers of Renown model.

More from Will Shiers on +44 (0)2 086 523 721 or