More Volvos for Basingstoke

Basingstoke Skip Hire and Southern Waste Management has put two more Volvos to work in its 36-strong specialised waste management and recycling fleet.  The new, three-axle trucks have steering and lifting rear axles to give better manoeuvrability.  Each has Geesink Norba rear-end loading bodywork.  The family-run fleet now has 22 Volvos from 4×2 skip loaders up to a 6×4 Volvo FH artic.  “When it comes to fleet replacement, we tend to look at Volvos first these days, says Henry Dent, general manager.
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Fleet conversion centre from Tevo

Modular van racking systems firm Tevo Limited has opened a new dedicated fleet conversion centre.  Designed for fleets of 100 or more vans, the 45,000sq ft Buckinghamshire centre allows Tevo to cut build-time but not quality.  Tevo can also fit heating, lighting, safety steps and towing kit.  Its online build management system means that fleet managers can track each vehicle’s progress through the conversion process with the click of a mouse.
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Euromotive a year ahead

Minibus maker Euromotive has recently converted three extra long Mercedes Sprinter vans to work as 15 seat Approved accessible minibuses.  The customer chose to have the its vehicles built to the highest available compliance standards, so Euromotive managed the project to ensure that its suppliers met Individual Vehicle Approval standards a year ahead of the deadline for vehicles of this class.  The new minibuses can carry 15 conventionally seated passengers or five in wheelchairs and one in a standard seat.  Each vehicle has an Eberspacher climate control system, an AMF inboard tail-lift and AVS step as well as a fully-compliant flat floor Embus system and Rescroft Defender 3 seats.  Supplied by Sparshatts of Kent, the new vehicles are going to work for a south London authority that apparently prefers anonymity to praise.
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SMMT training scheme for ambulance service

The SMMT recently met the UK National Ambulance Service to discuss the industry-wide launch of an electric vehicle safety training programme.  The aim is to ensure consistent electric vehicle safety standards and expertise across the automotive, breakdown and recovery sectors and emergency services.  Launched in May 2010 and developed with the Institute of the Motor Industry and Semta (the sector skills council for the automotive retail and manufacturing industries), the training covers maintenance, repair and hazard management for electric vehicles and related hybrids.
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Motor industry going digital, bit by bit

The UK motor industry has published a draft minimum standard for in-vehicle digital radios.  This is its first co-operative step towards the digital radio switchover.  The draft lists functions that an automotive digital radio should include if it is to offer listeners the same features as an analogue radio.  It also includes one or two new functions to show the benefits of digital radio.  The SMMT has circulated the draft to its members and a wide range of other interested people and organisations and needs comments by 17 December.
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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.
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