Archive for January, 2011

Ford Transit Vans – Can they Survive the Onslaught?

Monday, January 31st, 2011

The Ford Transit has been top of the UK commercial vehicle sales charts for more than 45 years.  This is no mean feat for any vehicle, as the manufacturer has to keep right on top of their game and not become complacent about the product that is reaping all the sales.

Only 15 years ago, most vans were pretty terrible – it seems that the car industry concerns surrounding Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) had not yet made its way to the commercial vehicle industry.  So the transit was the best of a bad bunch. Success tends to breed success, as high sales means lots of dealers and repairers and plenty of spare parts.

 Throughout Europe the Ford Transit performs less well.  France has the mighty Renault, plus good contenders in Peugeot Citroen, Italy has Fiat and Iveco and Germany has Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen leading the national sales statistics.  Interestingly it is Renault that comes out top for commercial vehicle sales Euopewide.

So, will the Ford Transit beat the odds and remain Britain’s favourite van into the future.  The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is hailed by many as the best large panel van, although this does come at a price – purchase prices are high – but then so are residual values.  It is the forward march of Volkswagen with their massive power behind them that present arguably the greatest risk.  Not afraid to spend their money on advertising, (even throughout the recession) or develop their dealer network – news of new ‘flagship’ dedicated commercial vehicle dealerships abound, Volkswagen also have the product to match their marketing efforts.

 The Volkswagen Caddy and Volkswagen Transporter reign supreme in quality terms at the smaller end of the market – indeed there are many ex-car buyers who have shunned their cars in favour of a Volkswagen Transporter with seats.  If you can find any Volkswagen Transporters for sale with the right spec, they are soon snapped up.

 So the Transporter can certainly compete with the smaller Ford Transit 260 and 280 versions, but what about the real workhorses, the Transit T300 to Transit T350 in Long wheel base and extra long wheelbase.  Well, the Volkswagen Crafter, which has never been particularly loved on these shores is due a facelift.  Whether this will be enough to make the ugly duckling suddenly desirable remains to be seen.

 One thing is clear – the Germans do not mess about when it comes to the automotive industry, and Volkswagen in particular.  In addition to the multitude of card brands in the automotive giant’s portfolio, they now own large chunks of truck makers German MAN and Swedish Scania.  Much touted to topple Toyota as the worlds biggest car maker, VW could see it above Daimler at the top of the commercial vehicle tree. 

 The top position of the Ford Transit in the UK sales charts may finally be under threat?


Friday, January 28th, 2011

Citroen have started 2011 with some solid offers from their van leasing department. Across the range of vans including the Citroen Berlingo the company has thrown down the challenge price-wise to the other van manufacturers.

In addition, there is a choice of offers only available through Citroen’s new network of ‘Business Class’ van centres.

Robert Handyside, Citroën’s Commercial Vehicle Operations Manager, commented; “After a successful 2010, Citroën goes into 2011 with a choice of attractive offers for its LCV customers. These offers, combined with the benefits of Citroën’s strongest-ever, most economical and greenest LCV range, are sure to maintain the Company’s sales momentum well into the new year.”

Examples of the Citroën Contract Motoring offers available during the first quarter of 2011 are:-
£159 + VAT * for a new Citroen Berlingo First HDi 75 manual 750
£184 + VAT * for a new Euro 5 Citroen Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop & Start 600 X
£169 + VAT * for a Citroen Berlingo HDi 75 manual 625 X
£214 + VAT * for a Citroen Dispatch HDi 90 manual L1H1 1000
£269 + VAT * for a Citroen Relay 30 L1H1 HDi 100 manual

* Based on a 3-year, 10,000 mile per annum, non-maintenance contract hire agreement with 3 payments in advance, followed by 35 monthly payments. Prices are applicable to customer orders declared and registered 1st January to 31st March 2011.

For customers wishing to purchase a new Citroën van, the offers available during the first quarter of 2011 are:-
£7,725** for a new Citroen Berlingo First HDi 75 manual 750
£8,635** for a new Euro 5 Citroen Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop & Start 600 X
£8,595** for a Citroen Berlingo HDi 75 manual 625 X
£11,285** for an Citroen Dispatch HDi 90 manual L1H1 1000
£12,935** for a Citroen Relay 30 L1H1 HDi 100 manual
** Prices exclude VAT, delivery, number plates, Government First Registration Fee & VED. Prices are applicable to customer orders declared and registered 1st January to 31st March 2011. Available at participating dealers only, whilst stocks last.


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Equipped with a new 1.3Hdi Euro 5 engine, all new diesel Citroen Nemos now come with Stop & Start technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Despite the decrease in engine size from the outgoing 1.4 litre to the new 1.3 litre EU5 engine, Citroen have managed to squeeze an additional 5hp despite a reduction in fuel consumption of over 10% in the urban cycle, thanks mainly to the stop & start system.
The model revision has given Citroen the opportunity to increase the payload on the diesel model by 50kg to 660kg.
The Nemo’s increased load volume has been achieved thanks to the Extenso folding passenger seat now being fitted as standard. This new standard feature increases the available load volume by 0.3cu.m to 2.8cu.m and lengthens the load deck length alongside the driver by 968mm to 2491mm. The Extenso passenger seat back folds horizontally onto the seat cushion and the whole seat lowers so that the seat back is level with the load compartment floor.

New Euro 5 Nemo – the range
Nemo 1.4i 75 manual 610 X £9,165 MRBP
Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop & Start 660 X £10,665 MRBP
Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop & Start 660 LX £11,365 MRBP
Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop & Start 660 Enterprise £11,925 MRBP

Citroen Announces Euro 5 Rollout Programme for Citroen Relay, Citroen Berlingo and Citroen Dispatch

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Rather than rushing in and introducing Euro 5 engines across the whole van range immediately, Citroen have planned a staged rollout, starting with the smallest Citroen Nemo. From the second quarter a manual and semi-automatic Citroen Berlingo will be available, both fitted with stop & start and rated at 90PS. At the same time, the top power Citroen Relay 180PS manual will be made available at Euro 5. The third quarter will see the whole Dispatch range upgraded to Euro5 with revised engine outputs at 95, 125 and 160hp all with six speed gearboxes – in a choice of manual and automatic. Also from the third quarter, Citroen will be upgrading the 110 and 130hp Citroen Relays to Euro 5 – no semi-automatic option for the Relay, however. Finally in the last quarter of this year there will be a 95hp 1.6 petrol Euro 5 version of the Citroen Berlingo and the 75hp and 90hp manual Berlingo without the stop start system seen in the second quarter variants.


Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Ford of Britain is celebrating its centenary year this year – It is off to a good start with solid year end figures for cars and vans in 2010 – leading the van market for 45 consecutive years.
In addition, both the Ford Transit and Ford Fiesta Van showed imprived volumes over 2009.
The Ford Transit, launched as far back as 1965, was responsible for a lot of the manufacturer’s growth in 2010. The total was 62,308, from just 55,474 in a poor-performing 2009.
Ford Transit sales alone were up from 36,760 in 2009 to 46,300 in 2010 while Ford Fiesta Van sales also increased for the year up from 2,429 in 2009 to 3,116 in 2010.

Volkswagen Caddy Vans continues cheap van leasing deals

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

If you buy your Volkswagen Caddy from a Volkswagen dealer then you can get finance for £199 per month for the standard Caddy and £209 per month for the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi. £239 a month buys you a Volkswagen Transporter and £349 will see a Volkswagen Crafter on your van fleet.

To top the deal off, you can get free servicing for the first 30,000 miles, (or 3 years) on all VW Vans except the Crafter.

The 8 or 9 seater Volkswagen Transporter shuttle can be bought from £299 per month, while the Caravelle will set you back £349 monthly.

Finally buyers can enjoy a seven day driveaway insurance deal.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Tippers For Sale

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Tipper commercial vehicles make up an important part of the overall vehicle parc – what’s more their demand is usually a good indicator of the state of the economy. With Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) upon us and many van chassis manufacturers getting in on the tipping body act, what do you need to know about the tipping bodybuilders?

Tipper Sales
Historically a major small tipper buyer, the ‘municipal’ market, which is powered in the main by local authority money, has just had its financial wings clipped in the spending review. To add fuel to the fire, the construction sector is yet to get fully back into gear.

The latest Federation of Master Builders’ survey showed that construction workloads continued to decline in the third quarter of the year, an 11th consecutive quarterly fall. The outlook for the rest of the year has also weakened, with workloads expected to contract again. So you would think that the future looks not so bright for the market for tipping bodies?

The fact is, however, that most tippers lead a demanding life, which means that extending existing lease contracts and not buying a new tipper is less likely than for a panel van or tractor unit. This means that a certain number of tippers have to be bought. Despite the economic situation, the large utility fleets are still free to spend money on all types of vehicles and there is definitely still work for the smaller builder around as people are spending money on their houses instead of simply moving. This means that they are wearing out their vans – hopefully leading to pent-up demand which will materialise when even more work starts to come in.

Celebrating twenty-five years at the helm, John Stead, boss of tipper specialists Spenborough Engineering, takes a long-term view, “We have seen highs and lows of the market before – the industry has been slow in the last year or two and we are not expecting 2011 to be significantly improved, however we are optimistic about 2012 and beyond.”

Mark Fernyhough of Brookside Engineering tells us that the lighter end of the market is picking up, “Although it is not as good as it was, the lighter, 3.5 tonne end of the tipper market is quite buoyant, although go further up the weight range – from 7.5 to 18 tonnes and the picture is different – this end of the market is still a bit of a lame duck.”

Off the Shelf vs. Bespoke Tipping Bodies
Most new van dealers have an ‘off-the-shelf’ tipper to offer to customers. This is undoubtedly the easier route to travel for the CV Dealer– there may be a short wait for the vehicle, but there should be no question marks about the quality of workmanship. The warranty is in place to take the hassle out of what to do with an unhappy customer – there is nothing worse than a customer coming back with faults and the bodybuilder can’t or won’t help.

Steve Thompson of tipper specialists Essex bodies tells us, “In recent years we have seen most of the chassis manufacturers offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ tipper body. Whilst these obviously serve a purpose and are adequate enough for many industries where the usage is fairly light, there are many companies and industries as a whole who feel these bodies will not stand up to heavy usage over the period of time that they are required.”

Thompson believes it is a combination of the design and the materials used that make his bodies stand out from those supplied by the chassis manufacturers. “In addition to the strong build structure we have listened to many of our clients, especially those in the municipal and environmental industries and have designed a galvanised steel finished body with the option of aluminium sections if required which need no paintwork.

Similarly, Spenborough Engineering’s bodywork is constructed to a high quality specification. On their steel bodies, the company uses ultra high strength steel to keep weight down without compromising on strength. Fully welded seams on side panels, with no stitch welding or sealant, reduce corrosion for an extended body life.

Stead tells us, “All our dropside tipper bodies are designed with integral floors to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible which gives better ride characteristics and reduces stresses imposed on the chassis. This design also confers the additional benefit of providing a lower loading platform which has obvious safety implications.”

When comparing a ‘one-stop’ tipper with a tipper body made by a specialist bodybuilder there’s more to it than simply the quality of the build – there’s pricing and weight to consider too.

With the economy the way it has been for the last two years, helping your customers to save money is at the top of everyone’s list – whilst the one stop shop may be an easy path to tread, it may prove dearer for your customers. It is worth comparing the factory version with a lightweight, aftermarket alternative to see how much a customer could save.

Lightweight Aluminium Special from Spenborough Engineering
One size does not fit all – many customers cannot simply operate with a standard, ‘off the shelf’ tipper, they could be too short, too long, too heavy, not have sufficient storage, need a crane, a special taillift, specific height cages on the side, etc. etc. This is where an experienced bodybuilder can give the customer exactly what they want.

Brookside’s Fernyhough is confident his products can improve payloads for your customers, “our tipping bodies are lighter than the ones available via Ford for the Ford Transit. Ford struggle to get a payload of a tonne on their factory double cab Transit tipper, whereas with our body this is no problem.”
One of 15 Transit Tippers finished by CPD on time
CPD Bodies are a good example of a bodybuilder pulling out the stops to help a CV Dealer. A local Ford Dealer had a customer order for fifteen 9’ 6” Tippers. The specification was more complex, however, as the Transits also had to have step and grab handle fitted, rear seats removed, the windows Blacked out with cage wiring installed behind. As with most jobs, the vehicles were required urgently. CPD managed to turn around all fifteen vans within two weeks including all the extras.

Want Bigger Payloads?
For customers who are looking to legally carry larger payloads without resorting to scaling up to a conventional truck chassis now have a couple of options – Many tipper manufacturers combine steel and aluminium together to produce a hardwearing steel floored tipping body with lightweight aluminium sides and rear door.

Brookside Engineering are experimenting in alternative materials to improve payloads and environmental credentials further – plastic sides are suitable for certain applications – they tell us that they could build a complete tipping body from plastic.

The alternative to a larger payload is to get your tipper body made on a chassis that is plated for operation over 3.5 tonnes GVW. There are, thankfully, a few options from a number of vanmakers, including Ford’s 4.6 tonne Transit chassis in single or crew cab forms, Iveco’s Daily with a choice of weight ranges above the 3.5 tonne range, including 4.2, 4.6, 5.2, 6.5 and 7 tonnes and the Mercedes Sprinter which goes up to 5 tonnes GVW.

There is some evidence of the move up the weight scale – Fernyhough informs us, “we are starting to see a few more Transits at 4.6 tonnes, although as far as the conversion goes there is no difference for us – in any case we make bodies for tippers up to 32 tonnes GVW in all shapes and sizes so larger Transits are not a problem.”

The downside of the higher gross vehicle weight is, of course, the added legislation in terms of drivers, tachos and O-licences – this means that they are unlikely to appeal to the majority of small tipper users who may feel that marginally overloading is a risk they are willing to take.

Used Chassis, New Body
Despite the doldrums in which the new van market finds itself, the used van market has been relatively buoyant. This is all about customers trying to keep costs down for customers means that putting a new body on a used chassis could be the way forward. A used tipper has usually been well used, whereas if the chassis had a small box or maybe even a dropside on for its first life, it makes a great chance to add value by turning it into a tipper – but check the axle ratios and gearing first.

What’s New?
For the heavy truck applications, Brookside Engineering have developed a ‘heated tipper’ – sitting between a standard insulated tipper and a full ‘hotbox’, the body, with a floor heated by electric pads extends the operating range for Tarmac and such products.

2011 Facelift for Volkswagen Crafter

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

To view all our new and used Volkswagen Crafters for sale click here
We should expect a redesigned front end to the Volkswagen Crafter this year – it’s first rework since its launch at the CV show in 2006.
Details are sketchy, although it is thought that the new front will resemble the reworking carried out on the recently launched Volkswagen Transporter and Volkswagen Caddy. Expect the Euro 5 four cylinder as seen in the Transporter and the imminent Volkswagen Amarok.

Mercedes Sprinters For sale at Vanlocator

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

As a specialist website, has a broad variety of Mercedes Sprinters for sale – from the standard panel van to chassis cab conversions are all listed for sale. It couldn’t be easier to find the exact type of Sprinter you are looking for by using the straightforward tools. Looking for a Sprinter tipper? Just select the body type of ‘tipper’ from the relevant drop down box and Mercedes-Benz from the ‘Make’ drop down box and you will see the excellent selection available.

Similarly Lutons, dropsides and curtainsiders can be selected in the same way. If you are looking for new Mercedes Sprinters this can also be accommodated by selecting the ‘new’ field from the drop down box.

If you are looking for a Mercedes Sprinter with a specific gross vehicle weight, just use the min/max tools available to find one over 3.5 tonnes GVW or at 2.8 tonnes GVW.