Aftermarket exhibition opportunities at Autopromotec

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is working with the UK Government’s Trade and Investment branch to help firms exhibit at Autopromotec in Bologna, Italy from 25 to 29 May.  “This is a leading global automotive aftermarket event,” says Ruta Aisthorpe, speaking for the Society.  “The show attracts over 100,000 visitors from 47 countries.”  The SMMT deal also includes a tour of the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani plants.  There are a number of grants of up to £1,000 available to help with exhibition costs for firms that register early for this event.
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UK commercial vehicle production up

New data from the SMMT show UK commercial vehicle production up 47.1% in October and 39.0% up for the year to date.  Car production rose 6.0% in the month.  “UK vehicle production rose 8.8% in October and signals steady improvement in global vehicle markets and the strength of the UK product line-up,” said SMMT boss, Paul Everitt.  It is “extremely important” that the government continues to champion the auto industry and helps it attract more cash for R&D, skills and equipment as part of its work to restore the UK economy.  “The industry’s focus on low carbon technology can help the private sector growth the country needs.”
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BT starts electric van trial

BT says its Openreach business has started tests with four electric vans, two in Milton Keynes and two in East London.  The aim is to see if such vehicles could help in the firm’s plans to cut its carbon output by 80% by 2020.  If the trial succeeds, Openreach aims to use them more widely in its 23,400 strong fleet.  BT’s fleet management division worked with Allied Electric and Smith Electric Vehicles to convert two Peugeot and two Ford zero emission vans.  It will test these for their suitability for engineers’ work patterns, battery life and energy use.  Openreach looks after BT’s British communication network.
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Antwerp office for Suttons

Bulk liquid and chemical haulier Suttons has a new office in the Port of Antwerp with five new people to run it.  Led by Rob Van Dijk, general manager, the team aims to build the firm’s European short sea and international deep-sea shipments as well road haulage business.  “The international division is growing and this year has seen significant growth in some of our key markets,” said Andrew Palmer, group managing director for Suttons.  The UK based firm has offices in Essen, Houston, Kuantan, Le Havre, New Jersey, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.
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Plan now for a tough future

Fleet managers must plan now for a tough 2011, warns The Fuelcard Company.  It says fuel price hikes have helped push inflation to 3.2%, from 3.1% in September.  With more increases in both fuel duty and VAT due on 1 January, “businesses must act now” to ensure survival, says the firm.  Fuel prices will “inflict more pain” in the short term.”  Jakes de Kock, marketing director, says the firms that survive “into next year” will be those that plan ahead and cut costs.  Vehicle use monitoring or economy driver training can be valuable in this context and the Fuelcard Company’s data can help operators monitor its effects.
More from Chloe Ingham on +44 (0)8 454 567 251 or

SMMT webinar – priorities and issues for 2011

The SMMT’s final free webinar this year, on Wednesday 15 December from 10:30 to 11:30 will look at the priorities and issues for the motor industry in 2011.  Paul Everitt, SMMT boss will outline the Society’s strategy for the coming year.  This includes plans to strengthen the UK supply chain, support innovation and business growth, develop and lead major policy campaigns, encourage collaboration and partnership and improve the profile of the UK motor industry.  The presentation, including an economic outlook, will end with a Q&A session.  You’ll find the registration details on the SMMT website at
More from Robert Morbin on +44 (0)2 073 449 265 or

Ashwoods, Europe’s fastest growing cleantech

Ashwoods Automotive, a UK hybrid commercial vehicle technology firm has been named Europe’s fastest growing cleantech company.  The firm’s turnover is up almost 1,000% in just three years, on the back of demand for its hybrid van system, Ashwoods Hybrid Drive. The firm is the largest supplier to the UK Government’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme.  The Cleantech Connect 2010 Awards recognised this growth naming the firm the fastest growing clean technology company in Europe.  Ashwoods also recently signed a US distribution deal and is looking for other partners to market its technology worldwide.
More from Dan Jenkins on +44 (0)7 536 092 768, or

Bio-SNG could cut carbon

A new report says that a mixture of bio-gas and synthetic natural gas could play a more effective role in cutting transport carbon emissions.  The snappily-named North East Process Industry Cluster (or Nepic), Centrica and the National Grid commissioned a study to look at the use of Bio-SNG.  This suggests that “green natural gas”, a mix of bio-gas and SNG might be delivered via the gas grid for both transport and heating use.  The gas uses methane from “sustainable” volumes of biomass mixed with synthetic or substitute natural gas, sometimes produced from coal or lignite.
More from Jen Clayton on +44 (0)1 217 073 369 or

Chapter 8 Hi-Vis livery from Tevo

Modular van racking systems firm Tevo now offers high-visibility livery for vans working on highways, meeting the UK Department for Transport’s DfT Chapter 8 guidelines.  The firm says its liveries are guaranteed not to crack or lift and the company says they’re up to nine times more visible than conventional retro-reflective film.  Fleets and van owners can choose to have liveries fitted at Tevo’s workshops, fitted at their own premises by a mobile Tevo technician, or buy an easy self-apply pack and fit it themselves.
More from Dan Jenkins on +44 (0)7 536 092 682 or

Big fleet success for Safetytrim

Safetytrimworldwide says Lafarge, Sainsbury’s, Balfour Beatty and Volvo Trucks have all bought its wheel nut management systems recently, fitting these to vans, trucks and trailers.  The firm says it is the only system on the market that shows when a nut is loose and then holds it in place until it can be re-tightened.  There is one, tough and heat-resistant plastic unit per wheel, fitting tightly over all the nuts at once.  “It looks like a wheel trim but with an indicator to show if a nut has begun to loosen,” says the firm’s Philip Aerts.  Each unit can be easily removed and refitted in a workshop. “The system is unique in that it not only flags up a problem but also stops it from getting worse,” says Aerts.  It cuts wheel losses from vans, trucks, trailers and buses.
More from Philip Aerts on +44 02 088 478 638 or