Vauxhall Vivaro launched at the 2019 CV Show

The best new vans at the 2019 CV Show

Vauxhall Vivaro launched at the 2019 CV ShowWhile the British new car market is in the doldrums, our appetite for vans is much healthier. In a decade, the UK van fleet has grown 50 percent – twice the growth rate of cars – and the market for brand new commercial vehicles is now worth £10 billion a year.

Which means the annual Commercial Vehicle Show (CV Show) at Birmingham’s NEC is a big deal. Particularly as many brands used the 2019 show to reveal their latest vans – with the headline-grabbing draw being the world debut of the Ford Transit-rivalling, British-built Vauxhall Vivaro.

Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxhall Vivaro

The new Vauxhall Vivaro is the result of a £100 million investment into the firm’s Luton plant. 1,250 jobs have been secured and the target is to build 100,000 a year, including a fully electric version that arrives in 2020. Vauxhall chief Stephen Norman was on hand to debut the new Vivaro, and was full of facts: the entry-level 100 horsepower model emits 22 percent less CO2 than a comparable Ford Transit, for example. The 120 horsepower version puts out 27 percent less CO2 than its arch-rival. And it can take loads 21 percent longer than the Ford. No guessing which rival Vauxhall’s targeting – nor how bullish it is as to its chances…

2020 Ford Transit

Ford Transit Ecoblue Hybrid

Ford isn’t standing still, though. It will update the market-leading Transit in mid-2019 with a series of tweaks that save weight and allow it to carry up to 80 kg more load. These include an aluminium bonnet – normally a feature of exotic supercars – CAD-designed wheels and a composite bulkhead. The new EcoBlue Hybrid is the van sector’s first 48V mild hybrid, with CO2 emissions from 144 g/km, and even the regular EcoBlue diesel is seven percent more economical. Ford says it all results in the “smartest and most productive Transit ever”.

Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid

Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid

After several years of trials in London, the production version of the Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid also goes on sale at the end of 2019. It has a 30-mile electric range and a tiny 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine to extend range further. Ford is also promising a fully electric Transit in 2021, to take on the 2020 Vauxhall Vivaro EV.

LDV EV30

LDV EV30

At the value end of the new van sector, the LDV EV30 electric van was revealed at the 2019 CV Show. It is effectively a more affordable Chinese rival to the Nissan e-NV200 – the industry knows vans will have to go electric as soon as possible, to bypass ever-stricter city centre emissions limits. It will go on sale in 2020, with prices expected to start from £22,000.

Two bodystyles will be offered, a short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase, and there will be two battery options: 35 kWh (with a 127 mile range) and 53 kWh (offering a 200 mile range). Both will use a 114 horsepower electric motor, and total payload ranges from 600 kg to 1 tonne.  

Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35 Safir

Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35 Safir

The British pickup truck sector is a particular hot spot in the market right now – and several brands had new variants to show. Isuzu’s successful partnership with Arctic Trucks continues with the special edition AT35 Safir. Just 10 will be sold, each costing a cool £45,000. They’ll all be individually numbered, and each will be painted in Sapphire Blue Mica. Bright Lazer Lights in the bumper are complemented by a new roof-mounted light bar, alloy wheels are diamond-cut and, inside, leather seats and premium audio with subwoofer and a 9-inch touchscreen are fitted.

Mitsubishi Shogun Sport SVP

Mitsubishi Shogun Sport SVP

Mitsubishi showed a Shogun Sport concept at the 2019 CV Show, called SVP. It’s going to launch it in the summer – its show stand appearance was to get feedback from customers about what should be standard. The concept has black 18-inch wheels and BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres; they’re so chunky, the track is 40 mm wider and the wheelarches have been extended to suit. There’s also an LED light bar on the roof, PIAA rally driving lamps, black decals and badges set off by red detailing and, inside, leather seats and red LED mood lighting. We also like the sound of the Walkinshaw Performance Limited and Koni tuned suspension. Can we have it all please, Mitsubishi?

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

The Shogun Sport SVP will need to be tasty if it’s to take on Ford’s mighty Ranger Raptor. Described as a factory-built high-performance off-road truck, it has Fox Pro tuned suspension, multiple driving modes, a 210 horsepower 2.0-litre diesel engine and 10-speed automatic gearbox. It’s the styling both outside and in that really sets it apart, though – as it should, with prices starting from £40,696, plus VAT.

Toyota Hilux Invincible X

Toyota Hilux Invincible X

The updated Toyota Hilux Invincible X isn’t as aggressive as the hot Ranger Raptor, but it’s still more standout than regular Hilux. 18-inch wheels have a two-tone machined finish, there’s liberal use of smoked grey chrome, and the interior boasts an all-black colour scheme and piano black trim. A full suite of active safety kit is standard on 2019 models, too.

Toyota Proace City

Toyota Proace City

The long-running Toyota Proace van is being joined by a smaller sibling, the Proace City. The 2019 CV Show marked its global debut ahead of taking on Europe’s small van sector, which accounts for 1 in 3 CV sales. If the looks are familiar, that’s because it’s been developed with PSA, so is also sold as the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo.

Toyota Proace City Verso

Toyota Proace City Verso

There’s a passenger version of Toyota’s new small van too, called the Proace City Verso. This is available with three rows of seats in both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase guise.

Volkswagen e-Crafter

VW e-Crafter

Volkswagen was showing off the e-Crafter large van, which is coming to the UK in right-hand drive in 2021. This one has a 136 horsepower power output and a 35 kWh lithium ion battery, good for a range of 107 miles. Importantly, load space is unaffected by the batteries, so it can carry 10.7 square metres of load – and the total payload is up to 1.75 tonnes.

Volkswagen Abt e-Caddy

VW Abt e-Caddy

Volkswagen is planning to base its electric vans on its upcoming ‘MEB’ electric architecture. This isn’t ready yet – but it has a solution. Long-time VW tuning company Abt is, with official approval, converting current-generation vans to run on electric. The first to arrive is the Abt e-Caddy, which comes later in 2019. A range of around 140 miles sounds pretty good to us – and the conversion barely affects load capacity either.

Volkswagen Crafter Police cell van

VW Police cell van

The Volkswagen ‘Engineered to Go’ customisation service is gathering pace in the UK. It relaunched earlier this year to offer high-quality, officially-approved conversions through Volkswagen UK van centres. This Police cell van apparently has toughened glass: one visitor asked if they could throw a brick at the windscreen to try it out. Presumably into the back of the van they went…

Citroen Relay Electric

Citroen Relay Electric

PSA, parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, is another brand committed to electrifying its van range. At the 2019 CV Show, it previewed electric versions of both the Citroen Relay…

Peugeot Boxer Electric

Peugeot Boxer Electric

… And the Peugeot Boxer. Standard length models will have a range of 141 miles, and longer versions will run for 169 miles between charges.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial

The London ULEZ has focused business attention on cleaning up their van range. For those who want to eschew diesel entirely, but aren’t yet ready to go fully-electric, Mitsubishi has the Outlander PHEV Commercial, a van version of Britain’s most popular plug-in electric car.

SsangYong Musso Highways England concept

SsangYong Musso Highways England

SsangYong is now an official supplier to England’s ‘blue and orange light’ services. On display at the show was an early look at a collaboration it will soon announce with Highways England.

Ford Backbone of Britain campaign

Ford Backbone of Britain campaign

Ford was showing off its latest big-budget advertising campaign for its commercial vehicle range. As the UK’s CV market leader for 54 years, it has plenty to shout about, and the billboards were evident throughout the NEC…

Ford Ranger RNLI

Ford Ranger RNLI

… And it even had a few star cars from the TV ad on its stand as well! Members of the RNLI used their presence to raise vital funds from well-wishing show-goers.

Ford Fiesta SportVan

 Ford Fiesta SportVan

A year on from launch, the Fiesta SportVan still cuts a dash. It’s probably the most enjoyable small van driving enthusiast can buy – a genuine ‘hot hatch’ van.

Isuzu D-Max RAC Heavy Duty Patrol Van

Isuzu D-Max RAC

The innovations team at the RAC has worked with Isuzu and a specialist bodybuilder to create this clever new Heavy Duty Patrol Van. Based on a D-Max supercab, it can tow up to 2.8 tonnes – good for 90 percent of cars and vans on UK roads – but is much more manoeuvrable than big flat-bed trucks. It’s perfect for use in busy cities, particularly as it’s equipped with the RAC’s equally clever ‘All-Wheels Up’ towing kit that can recover stranded 4x4s and electric vehicles.

Isuzu D-Max XTR

Isuzu D-Max XTR

The D-Max XTR is another appealing special from Isuzu. It has uprated suspension (including components to increase wheel articulation), 17-inch wheels and 32-inch tyres, adding an extra 250 mm of ground clearance. High-end Kevlar ceramic brake pads are fitted, and it’s equipped with all-new Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain tyres. The tough bodykit is distinctive, and we love how the green detailing extends to vivid green-painted suspension and brake components beneath…

SsangYong Rexton Police

SsangYong Musso Police

Another example of SsangYong’s successful partnership with authorities is this Police-liveried Rexton. The company hopes many more like this will be delivered in coming years.

Fiat Ducato ambulance

Fiat Ducato ambulance

A government report has recommended old-fashioned ‘box-style’ ambulances to be replaced by new, modular designs based on panel vans. Such as the popular Fiat Ducato conversion that’s already created hundreds of new British ambulances. If all ambulances switched to this design. The NHS could save more than £11 million each year: that’s why this exhibit was gaining a lot of attention from CV show-goers.

Vauxhall Vivaro Life

Vauxhall Vivaro Life

The passenger version of the new Vauxhall Vivaro is called the Vivaro Life. It can seat up to nine passengers, and it too will be offered as a fully-electric model from early 2021. It’s the perfect people carrier for those who want to treat passengers well – but, as it will also carry 3,397 litres of load with all seats removed, it remains a practical van at heart too.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo

Vauxhall Combo Cargo

The Vauxhall Combo Cargo is the firm’s fresh new arrival in the small van sector, and it’s already winning fans. Over 5,000 have already been sold in the UK, making it one of the best-selling models in its sector. No wonder Vauxhall is so bullish about its chances in the British van market right now.

Toyota Proace Jiffy Van

Toyota Proace Jiffy Van

Finally, we simply had to check this out: Toyota’s Proace Jiffy conversion. It’s a mobile food wagon, including a hot food display cabinet and space for a restaurant-spec coffee machine. Sadly, it hadn’t been kitted up, so we had to spend money at the NEC’s overpriced shops instead. How about decking it out for next year’s show, Toyota?

Ford van range

Backbone of Britain: 1 in 10 UK jobs relies on a van

Ford van rangeA total of 3.4 million British workers could not do their jobs without a van, reveals a new study led by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT).

This includes 500,000 people who drive one as their main job – contributing a £56 billion boost to the UK economy from wages alone.

In other words, 11 percent of UK GDP comes from workers who rely on a van.

New Vauxhall Vivaro

The new research, carried out with management consultancy BearingPoint, shows there are currently 4.6 million vans in use in the UK. The fleet has grown 50 percent since 2009 – that’s twice the growth-rate of the car market.

The new light commercial vehicle sector is now worth £10 billion a year in the UK, with 900,000 used vans also sold annually.

Online delivery boost

New Ford Transit

“The UK’s van fleet is the backbone of our society, driving our economy and allowing millions of workers to carry out jobs that our country relies on,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

The British van sector has been boosted by Brits’ love of online shopping. A hefty 83 percent of us have bought something online, way above the EU average of 60 percent.

This is a factor behind the number of self-employed British workers growing from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017.

James Rodger, partner and UK&I lead at report authors BearingPoint, said: “The data analysis and interviews that we have conducted highlight the key role that the LCV sector plays in the UK economy.” It is the first time the economic role played by Britain’s 3.4 million van users has been quantified.

“The report brings the data and the qualitative insights together to paint a picture of a diverse and vibrant sector which touches all our lives on a daily basis.”

Diesel dominance

The report also shows how diesel dominates the UK van sector. Fully 96 percent of British vans run on diesel – and this, says the SMMT, has helped CO2 emissions fall 10.4 percent since 2013, to an average of 166.9g/km.

New Euro 6 vans are “the cleanest in history” and have “virtually eliminated particulates and have vastly reduced NOx”.

Ultra-low and zero emissions vans have still to take off, though. New models are available, but they account for just 0.3 percent of the market.

“To continue to thrive,” said Hawes, “this vital sector needs policies and incentives that encourage businesses to invest in the latest technology that best suit their needs to help them deliver for Britain.”

Ford: leading UK vans for 54 years

Britain’s biggest van brand for the past 54 years is Ford. It has released its own research that shows online shopping and van-driving businesses contributed over £125 billion to the UK economy.

Amazingly, companies that rely heavily on vans earned more for Britain than the value of the GLOBAL film industry – and six times more than European football.

“Online shopping and an increase in those that are semployed are among the factors driving huge growth in the use of vans,” it said – confirming the findings by the SMMT.

The firm has now released a new TV ad celebrating its market leadership… and underline its own status as the CV ‘backbone of Britain’.

Meet Volkswagen’s new riot-ready police van

Police riot Van Volkswagen Crafter

If you encounter this new Volkswagen, you’re probably on the wrong side of the law. Meet the Crafter riot response vehicle.

How do you transform a humble Crafter into a police van, then? Well, Volkswagen’s blue-light conversion partner, Coleman Milne, does most of the work – starting with an ‘unbreakable’ windscreen and prison cell in the back.

Police riot Van Volkswagen Crafter

There’s also seating for seven, plus storage for riot shields, helmets and more crowd suppression gear. New side windows on the exterior complement the new windscreen, which is made of such strong reinforced plastic that an external metal cage is no longer required.

Along with that, there’s the generic police gear: communications equipment up-front and so on.

Police riot Van Volkswagen Crafter

“We’re delighted to reveal our latest blue-light conversion – a riot van based on the long wheelbase Volkswagen Crafter,” said Steven Cowell of Volkswagen fleet services.

“Following its much anticipated debut at the CV Show 2019, the PSU will be put into service across the country, supporting police forces in their vital roles.”

Police riot Van Volkswagen Crafter

Under the bonnet is an unmodified 2.0-litre 177hp diesel engine: reasonable power, even for the over-five-tonne Crafter. Besides, a lot of a riot van’s best work is done at either very low speeds, or at a standstill.

The new, riot-ready Crafter will be on display at the 2019 CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham, which runs from April 30 to May 2 2019.

Van Drivers Risking Bad Backs

Bad backs ‘costing UK van drivers £21 BILLION a year’

Van Drivers Risking Bad Backs

A survey of British van drivers undertaken by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has uncovered a shocking cost to the economy from bad backs.

Incredibly, some 70% of the van drivers surveyed reported that they had been forced to take time off work due to back pain.

With some commercial vehicle drivers spending up to seven hours behind the wheel, a bad seating position could be contributing to the musculoskeletal epidemic.

Van Drivers Risking Bad BacksEnduring back pain for any length of time can be excruciating, but Volkswagen found that those affected ending up taking an average of three weeks of work as a result.

Given the growing number of van drivers across the country, the combined loss of earnings could push the potential hit to the economy towards a terrifying £21 billion.

Whilst ‘Builder’s Back’ can have a number of initial causes, Volkswagen is concerned that poor driving posture is making the problem worse.

Seven tips for good posture

Van Drivers Risking Bad BacksA recent sample of drivers at the Cordwallis Van Centre found that two-thirds were sitting incorrectly.

As a result, Volkswagen has partnered with the British Chiropractic Association to offer tips on how best to ensure drivers are protecting their backs when behind the wheel.

1. Seat Height: Your thighs should be as parallel to the floor as your seat will allow, and where possible, hips higher than your knees. Adjustable thigh support should ensure you have the maximum surface of your thighs touching the seat.

2. Pedals: You should be able to push the pedals to the floor with a bend in your knees

3. Seat Back: Bring your seat all the way up so it’s straight, and then reclince it until you are comfortable, whilst maintaining a 110 degree angle between your back and thighs.

4. Lumbar Support: The lumbar support should be adjusted so you can feel it support the hollow in your back, but so it’s not causing your spine to arch more than is normal for you.

5. Head Restraint: The height and angle of your head restraint should be adjusted so you can feel the centre of the support touch the middle of the back of your head.

6. Steering Wheel: Once in correct seating position, bring your arm up in front of you and position the centre of the steering wheel to be in line with the fold of your wrist.

7. Rear Mirror: Lift up your chest by five degrees and then adjust your mirrors to help stay in an upright position on long drives.

Van Drivers Risking Bad BacksThis news follows another recent study undertaken by Volkswagen, which found that more than half of all van drivers admitted to using their mobile phone whilst driving.

Other research by Vanarama in 2018 found that simply having a clean van could help win more business for tradespeople.

It means the message for the burgeoning number of UK drivers is to not use your phone whilst driving, make sure you wash your van, and always sit up straight!

1 in 2 van drivers admit to NOT using hands-free

Van driver talking on mobileMore than half of Britain’s van drivers admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel without using a hands-free device. This is according to research conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The study found that van drivers spend an average of 35 minutes on the phone every day, making an average of seven calls a day. 

However, around a quarter (23 percent) of the 500 drivers surveyed admitted their vans are not hands-free enabled, with a third of drivers (33 percent) saying they have the technology but don’t always use it.

Only a quarter (27 percent) said that their van is fitted with hands-free technology and they always use it to make a call while driving.

Risking their livelihood

Van driver making a call

Tougher penalties came into force in March 2017, with motorists caught using a phone while driving receiving a £200 fine and six points on their licence – up from the previous £100 penalty and three points.

Motorists caught using their mobile phone twice or accruing 12 points on their licence risk losing their licence and a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 for lorry drivers). For van drivers, this could ultimately mean the loss of their livelihood.

At the time, transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.”

Working With You

Van driver on the phone to head office

Volkswagen Commerical Vehicles offers a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range, while its vans are also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our figures show that many van drivers don’t have or aren’t using a Bluetooth hands-free kit behind the wheel – risking not only a fine and potential ban, which would damage business, but, more seriously, a potentially fatal accident.

“As part of our Working With You promise we ensure all our customers have the right accessories and equipment to make their jobs as easy and safe as possible, whether that’s offering flexible van servicing or something as simple as a hands-free kit as standard.”

9 in 10 van drivers say Britain’s parking crisis makes them stressed

2019 Mercedes-Benz SprinterBritain’s van drivers are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression because of inadequate parking and poorly-maintained roads.

The survey of 2,000 van drivers by Mercedes-Benz Vans showed that 90 percent of them feel the UK has a parking problem.

More than half say parking spaces that aren’t even big enough for cars, never mind vans.

Often, van drivers suffer because there are no parking spaces near client drop-off points. Even worse, 30 percent say the growing number of ‘permit holder only’ areas makes their lives harder.

Indeed, of those van drivers who have received a parking ticket recently, more than half said they were forced into it. In other words, they had no choice and “wouldn’t have been able to do their jobs properly otherwise”.

Mental health is suffering as a result. More than one in three van drivers say they are regularly stressed at work. Twenty one percent have experienced anxiety and 15 percent have suffered depression.

‘Sad state of our roads’

Mercedes-Benz Vito

Factor in poorly maintained roads, said Mercedes-Benz Vans UK MD Steve Bridge, and there is “a definite negative impact on van driver mental health.

“These are basic requirements to fulfil their tasks – to park up safely, use their time effectively, and not risk damaging their vehicles, or themselves, just to get to and from their next job – and yet these just aren’t happening.”

Damage caused by poorly maintained roads is estimated to cost van drivers £125 a quarter in repairs. That’s £1 billion per year.

Mercedes-Benz Vans

“It is very sad to learn that the state of our roads is having such an impact on the state of our hardworking van drivers.”

Larger customer bases and faster-paced delivery schedules are also adding to work pressures. The result, said Bridge, was a detrimental impact on both the wellbeing and wallets of Britain’s van drivers.

There may be a small glimmer of home on the horizon, though. As part of the Government’s Parking (Code of Practice) Bill currently under consultation, grace periods for drop-offs may be extended, which could help ease the pressure on van drivers a little.

New Vauxhall Vivaro van secures 1,250 British jobs

All-new 2019 Vauxhall VivariThe all-new Vauxhall Vivaro van secures the future of commercial vehicle production in Luton – and 1,250 jobs. The new model will also be sold for the first time as a fully-electric Vivaro van (and in people-carrying ‘leisure MPV’ Vivaro Life guise) .

The third generation Vivaro is based for the first time on a Groupe PSA platform: it’s related to the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch. And Vauxhall has high hopes for it, planning to build 100,000 models a year in Luton.

It goes on sale in February, with deliveries due from late summer 2019. Vauxhall is planning to launch it with a bang at the huge CV Show in Birmingham on 30th April.

New Vauxhall Vivaro: two lengths, three bodies

All-new 2019 Vauxhall Vivari

Even from launch, plenty of customisation options are offered with the new Vivaro. It’s offered in two lengths – 4.95 metres and 5.30 metres – and three body styles: panel van, six-seater crew van, and platform chassis.

It’s capable of carrying payloads up to 1,400kg (200kg more than the old Vivaro), has up to 6.6 cubic metres of cargo capacity and can tow up to 2,500kg – that’s 500kg more than the outgoing Vivaro.

Impressively, Vauxhall says objects up to 4.02 metres long can be loaded into the 5.30 metre version, thanks to ‘FlexCargo’. This option adds a fold-down flap in the front passenger seat.

All-new 2019 Vauxhall Vivari

The FlexCargo system also includes a fold-down table on the back of the middle seat, creating an ‘office on wheels’, says Vauxhall.

The new Vivaro is going high-tech, too. Optional automatic sliding doors are available – and can be opened by waving a foot beneath sensors on the side. Perfect for delivery drivers fully laden with Amazon returns.

Vivaro tech-fest

All-new 2019 Vauxhall Vivari

Other clever tech coming to the new Vivaro includes a sector-unique head-up display, plus a front camera and radar sensor that brings lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and autonomous emergency braking.

There’s a driver drowsiness alert too, which monitors driving behaviour and chimes an alarm if it detects tiredness.

7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Choose the one with sat nav and live traffic information is incorporated into the navigation, for real-time updates (and traffic-dodging).

The new Vivaro even has a rear-view camera, which displays a feed of what’s behind either through the interior mirror or the infotainment system.

All-new 2019 Vauxhall Vivari

“Practical, comfortable, economical and packed with all the latest driver assistance and connectivity technology, the all-new Vivaro is the vehicle that sits at the heart of our commercial vehicle range,” said Vauxhall LCV director Derek Wilson.

And the new battery electric version? That goes on sale in 2020, which Vauxhall describes as a ‘milestone’ for commercial vehicles.

The firm adds that the Vivaro van has been a huge success story for British automotive. Since 2001, more than one million models have been built in Luton and, as a result, Vauxhall is now Britain’s biggest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

Ford and Volkswagen to build pick-ups, vans together – and maybe electric cars

Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger pickup trucksVolkswagen and Ford have announced a global alliance that will lead to the introduction of a new dual-brand pick-up truck in 2022, quickly followed by a commercial van partnership.

The two automotive giants have also committed to explore potential collaborations on electric cars, along with autonomous vehicles and mobility services. Future vehicle collaborations may thus be announced in the future – potentially in a matter of months.

Both companies stressed it is purely an alliance; there is no cross-ownership between the two firms. Savings from the alliance are expected from 2023. 

Volkswagen Transporter

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.

“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world.

“At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.” 

British boon?

2018 Ford Transit Custom

Both the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups will be due for replacement around 2022, which is why the first stage of the alliance is timely.

The next step, to develop replacements for the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter, could be a boon for British automotive. In the announcement, it was confirmed Ford will take the lead to build new large commercial vans for European customers.

2019 Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen, in turn, will develop a city van for the two firms, replacing the current Volkswagen Caddy (above) and Ford Transit Connect.

The alliance will enable the companies to share development costs, leverage their respective manufacturing capacity, boost the capability and competitiveness of their vehicles and deliver cost efficiencies, while maintaining distinct brand characteristics.

Clean me! Tidy your van, win more business

Dirty van

In what will be music to the ears of Sadiq Khan, research conducted by Vanarama has revealed how dirty vans are costing tradespeople money.

This follows the news that the Mayor of London is to launch a £23m van scrappage scheme, offering micro-business owners an incentive to buy a cleaner vehicle. Diesel vans not complying with the Euro 6 standard will be forced to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London, in addition to the standard £11.50 Congestion Charge.

And while the scrappage scheme is focused on cleaner air, the Vanamara research would suggest that a tradesperson using a tired van might be missing out on lucrative jobs. 

Indeed, 75 percent of homeowners said that they would be less likely to offer a job to a business using a van that has seen better days. Furthermore, 70 percent of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t have any confidence in a tradesperson who arrived in a van without any company branding.

It gets worse for the dirty van drivers, with nearly half of the 1,000 householders surveyed saying that they would assume a below-par van would result in sub-standard workmanship. You might want to think about a visit to the jet wash before you provide an estimate for your next job.

Wash and go

Wash me

Andy Alderson CEO and founder at Vanarama said: “There’s important feedback for tradespeople here: homeowners want a tradesperson to show up, do a good job, and look smart while they’re doing it.

“The data is clear on what you need to do if you want to land the work – get a new van, sign-write it and keep it looking presentable. If you don’t, there are over 700,000 new vans being driven around by other tradespeople looking to swoop in – and 75 percent of homeowners will let them if your van isn’t up to scratch.”

We suspect there’s a snob factor at play here. After all, a clean and tidy van is more likely to impress the curtain-twitchers next door. However, maybe it’s time to give your van a spring clean in the new year.

Mayor of London launches £23m van scrappage scheme

Fiat Ducato 2002

London’s small business owners will be encouraged to switch to cleaner vehicles under scrappage plans announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The £23 million van scrappage scheme is aimed at the capital’s micro-businesses – companies with fewer than 10 employees – with the Mayor keen to remove pre-Euro 6 vans from London’s streets in an effort to improve the capital’s ‘lethal air’.

This comes ahead of the introduction of central London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), in which stricter emissions standards will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Diesel vans not complying with the Euro 6 standard will be forced to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London, in addition to the standard £11.50 Congestion Charge.

Although the Mayor of London hasn’t released details of the scrappage discount, funding will be available to ‘thousands of micro-business owners’. 

‘Bold action’

Sadiq Khan, said: “Air pollution is a national health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leading to thousands of premature deaths. To truly get a grip on our lethal air we need to take bold action to rid our city of the most polluting vehicles.

“It’s not good enough to do nothing, and I’m determined to take real action which is why I’ve already delivered the Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest polluting vehicles, cleaned up our bus fleet, and brought forward the Ultra Low Emission Zone. My scrappage scheme is my next step in tackling pollution.”

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “The AA welcomes the Mayor’s diesel scrappage scheme. Some small businesses that cannot afford to switch their vans to cleaner Euro 6s have been taking the hit from higher road use charges and simply passing on the extra costs to their customers.

“This scrappage scheme gives them a route to cleaner vehicles, an escape from air quality charges, the chance to stay competitive in their trades and businesses, reduce customer costs and above all the means to cut street-level pollution.”

The Mayor has asked Transport for London (TfL) to work out how the money could be spent most effectively and has called upon the government to match-fund London’s proposed scrappage scheme. More details will be announced in the new year.

Read more: