UK commercial vehicle production stable in October

28 November 2019

  • UK commercial vehicle production stable in October, down just -0.2%.
  • Output for overseas market up 9.3%, but production of home orders drops -8.5%.
  • Year-to-date performance falls in double digits, down -11.5%.

UK commercial vehicle (CV) production was stable in October down just -0.2%, with 9,065 units manufactured, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Output for crucial overseas markets was up some 9.3%, but production for the domestic market fell -8.5% in the face of weakening demand.

In the month, factories turned out just 15 units fewer than in the same period in 2018, as key new model production ramped up, with just over half of all those made heading abroad, 51.3%. Performance in the year to date remains down, however, falling by -11.5% overall, with the decline driven primarily by dwindling exports, down -16.6%, but also a fall in production for the UK market by a more modest -3.6%. All told just over 62,000 new CVs have been made in Britain this year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Some stability for commercial vehicle production in October is welcome, but it’s far too early to tell if this will last, not least due to a fluctuating fleet buying cycles and model changeovers affecting output. Year-to-date figures paint a clearer picture; with CV output decreasing, and orders at home and abroad down. Preserving beneficial trading arrangements with the EU and other global markets is crucial to the future success of the industry so we need a new relationship based on free and frictionless trade.

Ford does the double in van and pick-up awards

27 November 2019

Ford was celebrating last week after winning both the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up of the Year awards for 2020.

The Hybrid Transit Custom took the IVOTY title while the Ford Ranger took the hotly-contested IPUA title.

The brand is the first to take both the IVOTY and IPUA titles in the same year on two occasions, having first achieved the feat in 2013.

Hans Schep, General Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe, said, “Our new Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and EcoBlue Hybrid models are the right vehicles at the right time – helping our customers reduce costs and emissions, and meeting the challenges of operating in today’s business environment without sacrificing practicality or payload. And our new Ranger is raising the bar for refinement, technology and productivity in the pick-up segment.”

Congratulating Ford, Jarlath Sweeney, Chairman of the International Van of The Year jury, said, “This is a great achievement and well deserved.

“With a clear focus on hybridisation, the Ford engineers have developed a sustainable drivetrain that is here and now to the benefit of urban, inter-urban and rural operators.

He added, “Europe’s best selling 1-tonne pick-up truck has been acknowledged by the Pick-up jury as their number one choice when it came to voting for the 2020 title holder. It’s the second occasion that the Ranger has received this accolade after previously winning in 2013 and has come a long way since then with this latest generation.”

New awards celebrate bus industry innovation

28 November 2019

The UK Bus Awards will turn 25 next year and much has happened over the past quarter of a century.

But never before has the industry the awards celebrate seen so much change and innovation, with everything from new, cleaner drivetrains, to ride-hailing, on-demand services and driverless vehicles become ever-more prominent.

So, when leading figures from the UK’s bus sector gathered in London last week for this year’s event, it wasn’t just the usual categories that were up for grabs. The audience also found themselves applauding the winners of Cultural Change award for the very first time, and other honours for the likes of environmental performance and road safety.

UK Bus Awards Director, Steve Cresswell said, “The awards are operated on behalf of the industry, so behind the awards is a management panel of 12 members, who are picked to fairly represent all areas of the industry.

“Change and innovation has been at the top of our agenda at the UK Bus Awards team for some time, but 2019 saw the continued introduction of new categories to reflect the changing face of the industry, in particular, the Cultural Change category.

“We also trialled new and innovative way to enter the awards, especially looking towards social media.”

Steve continued, “The Cultural Change award was a category that we considered very carefully before we introduced it.

“We had to ensure the award adequately reflected the desired culture of the industry, and that it accurately embodied the whole scope of the diversity within it.

“In the end, the category was very hotly contested and National Express West Midlands took Gold for the clear and inspirational message they send to the industry through their staff empowerment projects.”

Fittingly, for an award celebrating cultural change, the inaugural award was presented by Sonya Veerasamy, CEO of Women in Transport.

Steve continued, “It was important for us have this inaugural award presented by an organisation in tune with Industry progress

“Although currently women represent just 20% of the workforce within the industry, this number is rising year on year, so as the industry becomes ever-younger, more inclusive and more ethnically diverse, it is important that our awards reflect this change.”

Another recent change to the awards is the shift in focus from corporate success to human success.

Steve explained: “The UK Bus industry is ultimately driven by it’s people and the passengers.

“By building an awards ceremony that concentrates on the individuals that make up these corporations, we aim to celebrate the stories behind the operators, and in doing so, promote the industry as a whole, on a human level.

“Ultimately we raise awareness outside the confines of the bus industry, especially among passengers.”

The biggest winner at this year’s awards was Nottingham City Transport, which won five honours, including the highly contested ‘best in show’ category, UK Bus Operator of the Year and Top National Bus Driver.

Stagecoach UK Bus also won big, with a breathtaking 13 awards. The company’s outstanding performance saw them take home four golds, five silver and four bronze.

National Express West Midlands won the inaugural Cultural Change Award for its Master Driver scheme, which recognises driver excellence.

Here’s the full list of winners:

UK Bus Operator of the Year sponsored by Gallagher and QBE Insurance
Gold: Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire
Bronze: Ensignbus

Top National Bus Driver: the Chris Moyes Memorial Award, sponsored by Volvo Bus
Gold: Jatinder Kumar, Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Keith Thomas, First Cymru
Bronze: Gurnam Singh, Stagecoach West

Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations
Gold: Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Brighton & Hove Buses
Bronze: Stagecoach Manchester

Top Shire Operator sponsored by Ticketer
Gold: Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire
Silver: Stagecoach East Scotland
Bronze: Oxford Bus Company

Top Independent Operator sponsored by Omnibus
Gold: Ensignbus
Silver: Prentice Coaches
Bronze: Courtney Buses

Top National Bus Depot sponsored by Personal Group
Gold: Blairgowrie, Stagecoach East Scotland
Silver: Reading, Reading Buses
Bronze: Swindon, Go South Coast, Swindon’s Bus Company

London Bus Garage of the Year sponsored by TfL
Gold: Norwood, Arriva London
Silver: Romford, Stagecoach London
Bronze: Croydon, Go-Ahead London

Top London Bus Driver sponsored by TfL and Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust
Gold: Wasiq Ali – RATP Dev London
Silver: Nick Kukaj, Abellio London
Bronze: Peter Huttly, Go-Ahead London

Making Buses a Better Choice: The Peter Huntley Memorial Award sponsored by Heathrow
Gold: Translink – Glider
Silver: Oxford Bus Company – PickMeUp
Bronze: First West of England – metrobus Bristol

Bus and the Community sponsored by CBW
Gold: Oxford Bus Company – Brand the Bus!
Silver: Translink – Stuff a Bus
Bronze: Metroline – School Library Bus

Gold: The Harrogate Bus Company – Harrogate Electrics
Silver: Stagecoach South – Guildford park & ride electric buses
Bronze: Go South Coast, Bluestar – The UK’s first air filtering bus

Cultural Change
Gold: National Express West Midlands – Master Driver
Silver: Oxford Bus Company – Cultural Change Journey
Bronze: Stagecoach West – West Wellbeing

New Horizons sponsored by Passenger Transport
Gold: Abellio London – Mobileye
Silver: Omnibus – CrewPlan
Bronze: West Berkshire Council – Newbury e-paper next bus pilot

Marketing Initiative of the Year sponsored by Bus and Coach Buyer
Gold: Stagecoach Yorkshire and PARTNERS – Stimulating senior bus travel
Silver: Visit Isle of Wight – Explore by bus
Bronze: Lothian – Cruiselink

ROSCO Award for Innovation in Road Safety
Gold: Arriva Yorkshire – Driving a strong safety culture
Silver: Abellio London – Mobileye
Bronze: Translink – Glider driver training programme

Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Global
Gold: First West of England – Going for Growth
Silver: Uno – People Against Ordinary
Bronze: Stagecoach East Scotland – Express City Connect

Leader of the Year, sponsored by Euro Bus Expo 2020
Gold: Damian Bannon – Translink
Silver: Raj Chander – Arriva Midlands
Bronze: Urvi Patel – Abellio London

Engineer of the Year sponsored by IRTE
Gold: Stephen Stringer – Warrington’s Own Buses
Silver: Jack Abbott – Stagecoach Manchester
Bronze: Paul Slaney – Translink

Unsung Heroes sponsored by Backhouse Jones
Gold: Shelia Swift – Nottingham City Transport

Young Manager of the Year sponsored by Metroline
Gold: Jack Abbott – Stagecoach Manchester
Silver: Kerrie Grant – Go South Coast, Bluestar
Bronze: Adam Green – Arriva Kent and Surrey

Services to the Industry Award, sponsored by Buses Magazine
Mark Fowles – Nottingham City Transport

Nikola claims new battery tech could double EV range

27 November 2019

E-truck manufacturer Nikola has announced the development of new battery technology it claims could double the range of battery electric vehicles without increasing the size or weight of the battery.

Nikola Corporation says its prototype cell removes binder material and current collectors to make way for more energy storage.

The company says the new battery has a record energy density of 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. It adds that cycling the cells over 2,000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance.

A statement by the company read, “Nikola’s new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. While conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants.”

Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company, said, “This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world. We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world.”

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.