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    Automotive & Motorsport

    Green targets and home delivery growth boosts CV sector despite Covid-19 hit

    • By MTDCNC
    • September 17, 2020
    • 6 minute read

    Trucks, vans, buses, taxis, electric vans, fire engines, ambulances, waste disposal trucks – Britain’s commercial vehicle sector is very diverse. While challenged by the Covid-19 crisis there are bright spots, as home deliveries increase and commercial transport reduces carbon emissions. Will Stirling reports.

    The UK’s commercial vehicle (CV) sector comprises a nice mix of the old and the new, from Leyland Trucks whose parent company made its first truck in 1896 to start-up Arrival that is already tipped to be a world leader in manufacturing electric vans and buses.

    Depressed by the COVID-19 crisis, CVs are still essential to business, so the sector has weathered the storm far better than mainstream automotive and some companies are doing well. Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed in August that the light CV market (i.e. vans up to 3.5 tonnes), grew in July for the first time since January. This was up 7.1% on the same month in 2019, attributing the return to work for sectors like construction where vans are needed.

    Two megatrends are helping the CV and light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector: the growth of home delivery and net-zero carbon targets. A sector hit hard is bus manufacture, as the pandemic dried up demand for public transport, this is only now slowly returning. In this automotive report, we offer a round-up of the commercial vehicle industry with an optimistic view from an automotive expert, Professor David Bailey.

    Vauxhall Vivaro

    Vauxhall, part of the PSG Group, manufactures left and right-hand drive Vivaro vans for its Opel, Peugeot and Citroen brands from its Luton factory. Luton went down to one shift during lockdown but returned to two shifts and then three shifts in July as demand for the popular van grew, pulling 200 employees from the quieter Ellesmere Port factory which manufactures the Opel Astra. Luton produced 55,000 vans in 2019 down from 62,000 in 2018, as the plant completely retooled in 2019 for the manufacture of the latest Vivaro model. Headcount is now up to 1750 and production is at full capacity.

    Some big orders have been placed for Vauxhall’s new fully electric Vivaro-e vans. Openreach, the BT division, has placed an order of 270 Vivaro-e vans and 9 Corsa-e-cars and in July the car company signed a deal with British Gas to supply 1,000 e-vans, the biggest commercial EV fleet in Britain to date.

    Leyland Trucks

    US truck builder PACCAR owns DAF, the owner of the Leyland Truck brand, which manufactures circa 19,000 medium and heavy-duty trucks per year from its Preston factory. All European DAF plants in Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK implemented big Covid-response factory measures from March to April and recommenced operations on 27 April.

    “For the moment we are less concerned about production figures,” said Harry Wolters. “Instead, the safety of DAF and Leyland Trucks employees is our number one priority and it is why the production volume is still relatively low. We will only crank it up when it is safe to do so.

    London Electric Vehicle Company

    Originally called The London Taxi Company under then parent Manganese Bronze, until ownership by Chinese automotive group Geely changed it to LEVC, this Coventry firm has always exclusively manufactured the iconic London ‘Hackney cab’ taxis. Responding to the call for Net Zero by 2040 or 2050 depending on the specific industry targets, LEVC chose a fully electric motor variant only and will now manufacture an electric van, the VN5, with up to 5.5m3 capacity and a gross payload of 830kg built on a modified chassis of the classic taxi.

    VN5 has a ‘zero emissions capable’ range of over 300 miles delivered by LEVC’s eCity electric technology, and its capacity easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets. As more short-range and last-mile logistics firms move to zero emissions, prospects for the VN5 are bright.

    Alexander Dennis (ADL)

    The bus manufacturer, part of the NFI Group that owns US bus brands and UK coachbuilder Plaxton, has factories in Guildford, Falkirk and Scarborough and until the pandemic, was riding high with group revenues breaking £500m. Sadly, the virus put the brakes on new sales as thousands of people shunned public transport and orders for buses in the UK and abroad dried up, and the firm announced 650 job losses in July.

    This could be avoided or reduced if the cash-strapped government fulfils its earlier pledge to buy 4,000 electric buses, a large slice of which would go to ADL. This decision is currently delayed. So, for now, the redundancies are set to go ahead and this great British company is facing a troubled future.

    Wright Bus

    Ryse Hydrogen, a hydrogen production and refuelling business owned by Jo Bamford, son of JCB owner Lord Anthony Bamford, rescued troubled Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus in 2018. Wrightbus had pioneered hydrogen-powered buses and pre-Covid had a small number operating in London when it fell into difficulties. Bamford saw the neat fit with Ryse Hydrogen and pounced, saving hundreds of jobs at Wrightbus. It now needs orders and Ryse and Wrightbus have presented a business plan to the government to subsidise the manufacture of 3,000 new hydrogen buses while outlining how the UK could become a ‘global leader in hydrogen technologies’, that would they claim could create 1,000 new jobs at Wrightbus and 150 at Ryse Hydrogen.

    Arrival

    Arrival describes itself as one of the UK’s largest unicorns – businesses with a future value over US$1bn within an unspecified timescale. A quick look at its new electric Arrival Bus gives credence to such hype, and its business plan goes way beyond manufacturing. As well as the bus and the Arrival Generation 2 electric vans that secured a whopping 10,000 unit order from delivery group UPS in January, the new company wants to create an ‘Integrated Public Transportation Ecosystem’ that includes buses, car sharing, taxis, delivery robots, charging infrastructure, micro-factories for production and digital services, where it wants to help cities meet net-zero emissions targets.

    Angloco

    Late in 2019, the UK’s oldest manufacturer of fire vehicles secured a big deal to replace and service most of the UK Ministry of Defence’s fire fleet. The £30m order comes via the Defence Fire and Rescue Project – a large outsourcing sales and support contract recently awarded to Capita plc.

    Under the contract, Angloco will supply more than 80 modern fire fighting vehicles and support them in the UK and globally for the next 12 years. Before the MoD deal, Angloco reported strong growth in 2019 and a second factory opening, a 12,000sq/ft unit opposite its 30,000sq/ft headquarters in Batley, West Yorkshire – that will be capable of manufacturing 100 fire engines a year.   

    https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/17141034/16-18-DSC_5864-640x360.jpg

    Green targets and home delivery growth boosts CV sector despite Covid-19 hit

    Trucks, vans, buses, taxis, electric vans, fire engines, ambulances, waste disposal trucks – Britain’s commercial vehicle sector is very diverse. While challenged by the Covid-19 crisis there are bright spots, as home deliveries increase and commercial transport reduces carbon emissions. Will Stirling reports.

    The UK’s commercial vehicle (CV) sector comprises a nice mix of the old and the new, from Leyland Trucks whose parent company made its first truck in 1896 to start-up Arrival that is already tipped to be a world leader in manufacturing electric vans and buses.

    Depressed by the COVID-19 crisis, CVs are still essential to business, so the sector has weathered the storm far better than mainstream automotive and some companies are doing well. Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed in August that the light CV market (i.e. vans up to 3.5 tonnes), grew in July for the first time since January. This was up 7.1% on the same month in 2019, attributing the return to work for sectors like construction where vans are needed.

    Two megatrends are helping the CV and light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector: the growth of home delivery and net-zero carbon targets. A sector hit hard is bus manufacture, as the pandemic dried up demand for public transport, this is only now slowly returning. In this automotive report, we offer a round-up of the commercial vehicle industry with an optimistic view from an automotive expert, Professor David Bailey.

    Vauxhall Vivaro

    Vauxhall, part of the PSG Group, manufactures left and right-hand drive Vivaro vans for its Opel, Peugeot and Citroen brands from its Luton factory. Luton went down to one shift during lockdown but returned to two shifts and then three shifts in July as demand for the popular van grew, pulling 200 employees from the quieter Ellesmere Port factory which manufactures the Opel Astra. Luton produced 55,000 vans in 2019 down from 62,000 in 2018, as the plant completely retooled in 2019 for the manufacture of the latest Vivaro model. Headcount is now up to 1750 and production is at full capacity.

    Some big orders have been placed for Vauxhall’s new fully electric Vivaro-e vans. Openreach, the BT division, has placed an order of 270 Vivaro-e vans and 9 Corsa-e-cars and in July the car company signed a deal with British Gas to supply 1,000 e-vans, the biggest commercial EV fleet in Britain to date.

    Leyland Trucks

    US truck builder PACCAR owns DAF, the owner of the Leyland Truck brand, which manufactures circa 19,000 medium and heavy-duty trucks per year from its Preston factory. All European DAF plants in Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK implemented big Covid-response factory measures from March to April and recommenced operations on 27 April.

    “For the moment we are less concerned about production figures,” said Harry Wolters. “Instead, the safety of DAF and Leyland Trucks employees is our number one priority and it is why the production volume is still relatively low. We will only crank it up when it is safe to do so.

    London Electric Vehicle Company

    Originally called The London Taxi Company under then parent Manganese Bronze, until ownership by Chinese automotive group Geely changed it to LEVC, this Coventry firm has always exclusively manufactured the iconic London ‘Hackney cab’ taxis. Responding to the call for Net Zero by 2040 or 2050 depending on the specific industry targets, LEVC chose a fully electric motor variant only and will now manufacture an electric van, the VN5, with up to 5.5m3 capacity and a gross payload of 830kg built on a modified chassis of the classic taxi.

    VN5 has a ‘zero emissions capable’ range of over 300 miles delivered by LEVC’s eCity electric technology, and its capacity easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets. As more short-range and last-mile logistics firms move to zero emissions, prospects for the VN5 are bright.

    Alexander Dennis (ADL)

    The bus manufacturer, part of the NFI Group that owns US bus brands and UK coachbuilder Plaxton, has factories in Guildford, Falkirk and Scarborough and until the pandemic, was riding high with group revenues breaking £500m. Sadly, the virus put the brakes on new sales as thousands of people shunned public transport and orders for buses in the UK and abroad dried up, and the firm announced 650 job losses in July.

    This could be avoided or reduced if the cash-strapped government fulfils its earlier pledge to buy 4,000 electric buses, a large slice of which would go to ADL. This decision is currently delayed. So, for now, the redundancies are set to go ahead and this great British company is facing a troubled future.

    Wright Bus

    Ryse Hydrogen, a hydrogen production and refuelling business owned by Jo Bamford, son of JCB owner Lord Anthony Bamford, rescued troubled Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus in 2018. Wrightbus had pioneered hydrogen-powered buses and pre-Covid had a small number operating in London when it fell into difficulties. Bamford saw the neat fit with Ryse Hydrogen and pounced, saving hundreds of jobs at Wrightbus. It now needs orders and Ryse and Wrightbus have presented a business plan to the government to subsidise the manufacture of 3,000 new hydrogen buses while outlining how the UK could become a ‘global leader in hydrogen technologies’, that would they claim could create 1,000 new jobs at Wrightbus and 150 at Ryse Hydrogen.

    Arrival

    Arrival describes itself as one of the UK’s largest unicorns – businesses with a future value over US$1bn within an unspecified timescale. A quick look at its new electric Arrival Bus gives credence to such hype, and its business plan goes way beyond manufacturing. As well as the bus and the Arrival Generation 2 electric vans that secured a whopping 10,000 unit order from delivery group UPS in January, the new company wants to create an ‘Integrated Public Transportation Ecosystem’ that includes buses, car sharing, taxis, delivery robots, charging infrastructure, micro-factories for production and digital services, where it wants to help cities meet net-zero emissions targets.

    Angloco

    Late in 2019, the UK’s oldest manufacturer of fire vehicles secured a big deal to replace and service most of the UK Ministry of Defence’s fire fleet. The £30m order comes via the Defence Fire and Rescue Project – a large outsourcing sales and support contract recently awarded to Capita plc.

    Under the contract, Angloco will supply more than 80 modern fire fighting vehicles and support them in the UK and globally for the next 12 years. Before the MoD deal, Angloco reported strong growth in 2019 and a second factory opening, a 12,000sq/ft unit opposite its 30,000sq/ft headquarters in Batley, West Yorkshire – that will be capable of manufacturing 100 fire engines a year.