Only ambitious Brexit deal will safeguard jobs and Britain’s green future

26 November 2019

  • Industry calls on next government to put sector at heart of economic and trade policies, and agree an ambitious Brexit deal to deliver on UK’s green growth ambitions.
  • New figures show tariffs would decimate UK manufacturing, with 1.5 million vehicles lost by 2024 at a cost of £42.7 billion.
  • UK Automotive can lead in global green mobility revolution but needs collaboration to drive progress, prosperity and jobs.
  • Industry launches ’key priorities for a new government’ at 103rd Annual Dinner to secure sector’s future success and competitiveness. 1

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has this evening urged all parties to put UK Automotive at the heart of their economic and trade policies. Setting out the industry’s priorities for a new government, the trade body called for an ambitious, world-beating Brexit trade deal to maintain the sector’s competitiveness and ability to deliver innovation, productivity and prosperity for Britain.

Speaking at the 103rd SMMT Annual Dinner in London, SMMT President George Gillespie outlined the industry’s vision for a better, safer and cleaner future, saying,

The automotive sector is going through a period of unprecedented change and we must not let the pressure of Brexit deflect from our focus on a coherent national industrial strategy. Collaboration between industry and government must be stronger than ever… We want to work closely with the next government, as we have in the past; united in a common purpose to keep UK Automotive a global player that drives employment, creates wealth and gives all of us pride in what we can do here.

He spoke as SMMT revealed new figures showing the devastating impact of Brexit without an ambitious trade deal. Independent research commissioned by the trade body shows WTO tariffs on imported components and exported vehicles would add more than £3.2 billion a year to UK automotive manufacturing costs.2 Such a colossal increase – equivalent to almost 90% of the sector’s annual spend on R&D – could not be absorbed, forcing prices to rise and global demand to shrink. At a time when additional investment in ever safer, cleaner and more intelligent mobility technology is essential, this would be a tragic waste.

The analysis estimates the impact of such tariffs could result in the cumulative loss of more than 1.5 million units from UK production volumes over the next five years, worth some £42.7 billion at factory gate prices. Under this scenario, by 2024, falling demand and model reallocation to more competitive and welcoming production locations would see annual output falling to just 1 million vehicles per year.

Automotive is one of the UK’s most valuable economic assets, exporting more goods than any other sector to over 160 countries worldwide. The manufacturing sector is directly responsible for putting food on the tables of 168,000 British workers and their families. The sector provides high value, highly skilled jobs right across the country, with wages typically 21% higher than the UK average.

In addition, with its annual economic contribution of £18.6 billion, the sector contributes enough to the economy to pay for the salaries of England’s NHS nurses twice over, or the entire NHS spend on medicines.3 Leaving the EU without an ambitious deal that eliminates tariffs, delivers frictionless trade, maintains regulatory alignment and secures access to talent from across the globe would jeopardise this contribution, causing serious economic damage and putting thousands of jobs and progress at risk.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said,

UK Automotive’s needs are clear: frictionless trade free of tariffs, with regulatory alignment and continued access to talent. Detailed trade negotiations have yet to begin. They will be complex and they will take time. But a close trading relationship is essential to unlock investment so we can deliver our goals: cleaner air, zero carbon emissions, and the ability to go on building our products and marketing them globally.

Rather than producing two million cars a year by 2020, a no trade deal, WTO tariff worst case scenario could see us making just a million. The next government must deliver the ambition, the competitive business environment and the commitment needed to keep automotive in Britain.

Over the past decade, thanks to massive investment and collaboration with governments through a comprehensive industrial strategy, UK Automotive has undergone tremendous growth. It is globally competitive and a hotbed of innovation, providing the platform from which the industry can develop, manufacture and deploy electrified, connected and autonomous vehicles – with a £62 billion economic opportunity up for grabs if it succeeds.4

To realise this potential, however, sustained government support will be vital, starting with an ambitious Brexit deal, and including a long-term commitment to secure giga-scale battery manufacturing investment and to bolster the market for ultra low and zero emission vehicles through substantial incentives and infrastructure spending.
Notes to editors

1. SMMT UK Automotive Priorities for new government.
2. Independent analysis conducted by AutoAnalysis for SMMT based on 2018 production volumes.
3. Based on ONS and NHS data. Average nurse’s weekly wage of £627.30 x 52 weeks. NHS workforce statistics show 287,458 nurses working in England in August 2019. The Kings Fund report £17.4 billion spent on medicine in 2017
4. SMMT Report 2019 – CAVs: The Global Race to Market

Lack of toilet facilities may be a breach of basic human rights

27 November 2019

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling on government to do more to improve toilet facilities for drivers, claiming current the current provision may be a breach of basic human rights.

The organisation says many HGV drivers are being deprived of the United Nations (UN) Human Right to sanitation due to the lack of toilet facilities on the national road network.

And, speaking on the UN’s World Toilet Day it urged renewed its call for government to improve conditions for professional drivers across the UK.

Elizabeth de Jong, Director of UK Policy at FTA, said, “The logistics sector is the lifeblood of the UK economy, ensuring businesses, schools and hospitals are all stocked with the goods they need to operate.

“But despite the invaluable contribution HGV drivers provide to the economy, they are often denied access to very basic amenities.

“The inconsistent provision of toilets and other facilities for HGV drivers across the road network is not good enough; access to hygiene amenities and other welfare services are a basic right for all workers. No other industry would be expected to work without access to toilets, so why should HGV drivers?”

She added, “More than 18 months ago, the government vowed to improve and expand the provision of facilities for those charged with keeping Britain trading, but since that promise, amenities have actually become worse.

“Nearly all the respondents to a survey conducted by FTA of its member organisations felt there had been no improvement in the facilities for drivers on local roads, and over half of them felt that the provision had become worse over the last 12 months.

“In an industry where you are compelled by law to take regular breaks and rest, it is vital drivers have access to these most basic facilities.”

DAF adds further EV to its line-up

27 November 2019

DAF has introduced its first CF Electric truck with a 6×2 rigid chassis.

Ideal for refuse collection, the first examples of the new model will be field-tested in the Netherlands later this year by the Dutch public waste disposal firms HVC and ROVA.

The city of Rotterdam and Cure will follow suit early in 2020 with a fully electric 6×2 garbage truck fitted with a loader crane.

All of these vehicles are equipped with a VDL E-Power driveline. The fully electric superstructure is supplied by VDL Translift.

DAF has been trialling its CF Electric models in 4×2 guise with various Dutch operators since the end of 2018, testing how the models perform in real-world conditions.

Karsan does big numbers in Rome

27 November 2019

Turkish manufacturer Karsan has delivered 227 of its Menarinibus Citymood buses for public service in Rome in just five months.

The deal with the Municipality of Rome was struck as part of the firm’s partnership with Industria Italiana SpA (IIA).

The deal means Karsan has now received orders worth €90 million for the Citymood in 2019 and will have manufactured more than 500 units by the turn of the year.

Karsan CEO Okan Baş, said, “Since our collaboration with IIA, our export of Citymood buses will exceed 1,000 units by this year’s end. Our vehicles currently in use at the Municipality of Rome operates 20 hours a day, every day of the week with 99% serviceability at full performance without interruption. This shows that we provide a huge added value to the Municipality in terms of profits.”

Telematics savings will be more than small feed for agricultural supplier

27 November 2019

A major agricultural supplier with 32 country stores has turned to Microlise for its vehicle telematics.

Carrs Billington, which operates a 60-strong fleet, will deploy a Microlise solution including fleet performance and journey management products in an effort to increase fuel efficiency, reduce mileage run and support improved driver performance.

The Journey Management product will allow Carrs Billington to understand the location of its fleet versus the plan in real time. Data will also highlight performance against schedule and routes, alerting the team to any potential missed time-slots before they’ve happened, to support proactive customer communication.

Meanwhile, driver performance monitoring will support drivers and deliver increased efficiencies across fuel usage as well as vehicle wear and tear.

Phil Rothera, National Distribution Manager at Carrs Billington Operations, said, “We have an ambitious target to deliver increased fuel efficiencies and to support driver performance. When we realise these improvements, we will continue with our planned programme of investment to provide additional technological support to our drivers in the field.”

Bus and coach market declines in third quarter, down -26.4%

15 November 2019

  • New bus and coach market falls -26.4% in Q3, with 1,340 models registered.
  • Demand across all body styles falls by double digits, with single-decks down most.
  • Year-to-date registrations fall -29.4%, with Q3 the 11th quarterly decline in a row.

The UK new bus and coach market fell -26.4% in the third quarter of the year, with 1,340 vehicles registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The performance marked the eleventh consecutive quarterly decline for the sector, as a combination of weak business confidence, confusion over clean air zones, modal shift and tight budgets within local authorities affected order books.

In the third quarter, demand across all body styles declined by double digits, with single-decks experiencing the most significant fall in registrations, down -38.1% to 280 units. Meanwhile, the market for new minibuses fell -24.7%, as did demand for double-decks, down -12.2% in the quarter.

Performance over the year-to-date is down too, with registrations dropping -29.4% to fewer than 4,000 units. Registrations of minibuses and double-decks have fallen significantly, reducing by -42.8% and -16.8% respectively. At the same time, single-decks recorded a -10.1% decrease with 1,459 registered in the first nine months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

An eleventh consecutive quarterly decline for the UK bus and coach market is a serious concern. To stem further losses and get more of the latest, low emission vehicles on our roads, we need the right conditions, including appropriate funding for local authorities, to ensure operators continue to invest in their fleets.

This will not only help improve air quality in urban areas but also provide cleaner transport solutions to many consumers.

Notes to Editors

From January 2019 SMMT offers an enhanced MVRIS data service to its members. SMMT will continue to publish data on a quarterly basis, enabling us to better reflect the long-term trends in these low volume markets and offer clearer insight and analysis. To ensure the most accurate data is published, 2019 HGV figures compare SMMT MVRIS data with DVLA data for 2018.

HGV market falls in Q3 as new regulation hits registrations

15 November 2019

  • UK new heavy goods vehicle registrations decline -13.1% in Q3 as market rebalances following regulatory changes.
  • Demand for rigid and artic trucks fall, down -20.5% and -3.4% respectively.
  • Tractors remain most popular body type, although registrations fall -4.7%.
  • Year-to-date registrations up 18.8% with total 36,021 units registered.

The UK new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market declined -13.1% in Q3 2019, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 8,557 heavy trucks were registered between July and September, a result of regulatory changes that saw operators pull purchases forward into the first half of the year.

Registrations of rigid trucks declined by a fifth (20.5%) in the third quarter, with a -28.5% decrease in the >6-16T segment and a -15.7% decline in the >16T segment.

Meanwhile, demand for artic vehicles also fell, by -3.4% to 4,100 units. Tractors remained the most popular vehicle, despite a -4.7% drop in demand, accounting for almost half of the market. All other body types experienced declines, with curtain sided trucks experiencing the biggest percentage fall, down -28.0%.

Despite the fall in the quarter, the new HGV market remains strong in the year to date, with registrations in the first nine months up 18.8% year-on-year to 36,021. Both rigid truck and articulated vehicle registrations show growth, up 16.2% and 22.4% respectively.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Given the rush to register new trucks before the introduction of new regulations in June, the slowdown in quarter three was anticipated, and we expect to see the market to continue to rebalance in final part of the year.

To curtail further losses, however, and to get more of these high-tech low emission vehicles on our roads, we need the right conditions to give operators confidence to continue to invest in their fleets.

Notes to Editors

From January 2019 SMMT offers an enhanced MVRIS data service to its members. SMMT will continue to publish data on a quarterly basis, enabling us to better reflect the long-term trends in these low volume markets and offer clearer insight and analysis. To ensure the most accurate data is published, 2019 HGV figures compare SMMT MVRIS data with DVLA data for 2018.

FEATURE: Virtual reality helping to shape the commercial vehicles of tomorrow

20 November 2019

The commercial vehicle sector is privy to a lot of new technology and innovation, fundamentally affecting the way commercial vehicles are designed and developed. This week TNB caught up with Carsten Astheimer, Managing Director of British automotive design studio ASTHEIMER, to learn how virtual reality is being used to shape the trucks and vans of the future.

Visitors to Freight in the City earlier this month could hardly fail to miss the presence of exciting new EV truck brand Volta.

The company’s founder and CEO, Carl-Magnus Norden, spoke on the main stage which was heavily Volta-branded, but one thing stood out about the truck brand’s presence at the show… it had no truck on display.

That’s because its first vehicle – a model that has already generated much excitement and in the industry and publicity in the media – is still very much in development.

So, in the absence of a physical truck, delegates were invited to experience Volta and the innovative approach it’s taking in virtual reality (VR).

By donning a VR headset and holding connected controllers, they were given a driver’s-eye view from inside the revolutionary cockpit of a Volta truck, experiencing first-hand what it would be like to take the model for a ‘drive’.

The virtual reality technology on display at the show has been, and continues to be, crucial to the development of the new truck, and while the experts at Prodrive are working on the engineering and construction of a finished, working prototype for real-world testing, much of the work involved in bringing the project to life so far, has taken place in virtual reality at ASTHEIMER’s Warwick studio.

“VR offers us the opportunity to review the vehicle in real scale to fully understand the proportions, the ergonomics and packaging requirements of the vehicle,” explains Carsten, “but that’s just one part of the modern design process.”

One of Volta’s USPs is its reimagining of the conventional truck, which positions the driver low down in a central, single-seat cab and benefiting from the improved visibility this gives – an objective in-line with the principles behind the Direct Vision Standard – VR has been instrumental in developing the driver experience.

Carsten added, “Our design process starts by focusing on the user of the vehicle in a human-centric approach to design, understanding their needs and desires, their pain points, focusing on how we can make the product better, including aesthetics, ergonomics, features and functions. We analyse carefully the competition, the manufacturing process and technologies we can use to minimise part count and using the most sustainable materials.

“Once we have a clear scope or brief for the project we start the creative phase with 2D visuals, which express the values of the brand. We move quickly into 3D virtual models using various 3D modelling software which we review daily in Virtual Reality.”

Having trialled the vehicle in virtual reality, it’s then time to move to a more physical, real-world form. Here too, technology, including the likes of 3D printing plays a massive part.

Carsten continued, “Once a direction has been chosen we move into a physical 3D mock-up, using milled parts, to accurately assess the ergonomics, sight lines and overall proportions, and we will review this physical model with VR, to get a photorealistic image of the vehicle for final validation.

“From here we can move directly into the prototyping phase, making one-off parts with various rapid prototyping techniques, 3D printing, milling and one-off moulding.

“This process cuts out the lengthy traditional clay modelling phases in quarter scale and one-to-one scale. It’s achievable thanks to these new technologies and to the experience of our designers and modellers.”

But with so much technology already involved in vehicle design, how does Carsten see the process developing moving forward?

“The future of technology will continue to streamline the process with interactive VR and AR hardware and software,” added Carsten. “Designers of the future will design directly in virtual 3D, and will be able to interact with engineers, software developers, in real time around the world. This could further reduce design cycle times and give the designer more freedom to create, but we must always remember that these technologies are only tools and do not substitute good experienced designers.”

As this process of streamlining design and prototype development becomes more sophisticated, rapid and seamless, it cannot fail to benefit the industry as a whole.

Hyundai completes truck platooning trial

20 November 2019

Hyundai has successfully completed its first truck platooning trial.

The trial on South Korea’s Yeoju Smart Highway – a 7km testbed for the development of autonomous driving technology – involved two Xcient trucks and trailers.

Yeoju Smart Highway is constantly populated by vehicles and is designed to replicate real-world conditions.

During its trial, Hyundai successfully demonstrated not only platooning, cut-in/out by other vehicles, simultaneous emergency braking, and V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication tech. The speed limit was set at 60km/h to ensure safety.

Jihan Ryu, head of Hyundai Motor’s Commercial Vehicle Electronics Control Engineering Group, said, “We are confident that our industry-leading autonomous driving technology in commercial vehicles showcased in this platooning truck demonstration will lead into a revolutionary paradigm shift in the freight and logistics industry.

“We will strive to create constructive synergy by sharing our knowhow and experiences of developing autonomous driving technology between commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle sectors to expedite level-5 autonomous driving technology.”

Ryder supplies new DAF fleet to Elis

20 November 2019

Ryder, the commercial vehicle rental, contract hire and maintenance specialist, is supplying 162 new DAF vehicles to international textile, hygiene and facilities services specialist Elis.

Replacing a fleet of outgoing models, the new trucks will for the most part carry out laundry delivery operations across 38 Elis sites nationwide.

The new batch of rigid trucks includes latest specification 18t DAF CF230s, 15t DAF LF230s, 12t DAF LF180s and 7.5t DAF LF150s.

Ryder was selected for the new contract following a detailed benchmarking exercise and consultation on Elis’ projected fleet and commercial requirements. The vehicles are being supplied on a full contract hire basis with full maintenance, including tail-lift.

Shaun Stephenson, Ryder Director of Engineering, said, “Our long-standing relationship and operational experience with Elis enables us to understand in detail their commercial transport requirements. Elis’ vehicles operate in an extremely demanding environment and our Account Management team and Engineers have worked closely with Elis, and managed the supply chain, including the bodybuilders and specialist equipment suppliers, to ensure that we provide the right vehicles and specialised adaptations, service backup, and commercial terms to fully meet their operational demands.

“We look forward to continuing to support Elis’ transportation needs and the further growth of their business.”

The new vehicles are being phased into the Elis fleet with the final vehicles being supplied in 2020.