The reinvention of the MINI brand continues apace with the launch of the all-new MINI Convertible. With major refinements against its predecessor, the car features a striking new design and significant enhancements to make open-topped MINI motoring even more dynamic, stylish and practical.Officially on sale in the UK from March 2016, it follows hugely successful model launches in 2004 and 2009. After 12 years of sales success, it remains the only premium soft-top four-seater convertible in the small car segment, and the UK continues to be the largest market worldwide for the new MINI Convertible.
FTA has today launched Driverfta - a brand new App giving drivers complete visibility of their drivers’ hours data, making sure they have up-to-date information to help them stay compliant.
Local Authorities and other public sector organisations will now have the right to contract directly with selected car club providers, including Co-wheels Car Club - the UK’s leading independent car club provider - under a brand new Government tendering framework agreement. The new agreement will help to cut down lengthy tendering processes and is part of a drive to kickstart uptake of car club membership in the UK and to create a true sharing economy.
Scotland’s leading plant hire company Jarvie Plant Group has extended its specialised hire fleet with 30 Renault Master Wellbuses, the business being amongst the first to purchase the fully type-approved conversion that was unveiled at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
ATS Euromaster claims to have dramatically reduced out-of-hours callouts for Cardiff City Council’s vehicle fleet by 95% in the first year of managing the council’s tyres.
Previously, Cardiff City Council had made 150 out-of-hours calls to replace failed tyres on its fleet of 500 vans and 60 trucks. However, since ATS Euromaster took over tyre management in October 2014, that number has dropped to a claimed average of just eight out-of-hours callouts per year, less than one a month.
ATS Euromaster says it has also substantially cut tyre cost expenditure for the council by driving up the regrooving rate of its truck tyres, extending each tyre’s life by around 25%. Between October 2013 and 2014, 168 tyres were regrooved, compared 688 in the past year.
Richard Jones, Fleet Manager, Cardiff City Council, said, “ATS Euromaster has worked closely with Cardiff Council to successfully deliver significant savings to the overall tyre spend and increased operational efficiencies. They are a solid and reliable supplier, and experts in their field. Their approach to the contract has always been fair, courteous and above all, professional in every respect bringing a high level of value to our end users.”
Peter Fairlie, Group Sales Director at ATS Euromaster, added, “By placing our customer first, we have been able to substantially improve the performance of its fleet while at the same time helping Cardiff City Council save valuable taxpayer cash, which can only be of benefit to residents of the Welsh capital.”
ATS Euromaster has introduced a Michelin-fitment policy since it began working with Cardiff City Council. It also holds coveted approved supplier status to public sector organisations across the UK, as part of a multi-brand tyre supply deal on the Crown Commercial Service framework agreement.
Thames Water has signed an order with Ford for 900 new vans over the next three years.
The deal includes Fiesta Van, Transit Connect, Transit Custom, Transit and Ranger models, with each vehicle equipped and liveried at the Southall workshops of Bri-Stor Systems.
The first batch of 223 vans has already been delivered to the company’s bases in London and south-east England.
The tender process was measured by whole-life costs, with Ford meeting all Thames Water’s vehicle requirements. Stephen Gafson, Ford Direct Sales Manager, said, “We are delighted to have won this new contract with Thames Water, and to have come out on top in the company’s tender process.”
Michelle Nasr, Thames Water’s fleet and transportation manager, said: “Our fleet of 1,300 commercial vehicles is absolutely vital to the smooth running of our operations, and in maintaining the flow of 2,600 million litres of drinking water every day to our customers.”
The FTA Van Excellence Certificate of Driver Competence course has received the thumbs-up from its inaugural attendees.
Participants said the initiative is the right “step forward for the van driver population and industry sector”.
Volvo Buses has unveiled a new 12-metre electric urban bus, which will enter production next year.
As well as being quiet and producing no exhaust emissions, the Volvo 7900 Electric is claimed to be 80% more energy-efficient than a corresponding diesel bus. It is aimed at urban bus routes of 10-20km.
Dr. Herbert Diess underscored: “The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program.”
Reorientation of the diesel strategy
It was decided to switch over to installing only diesel drives with SCR and AdBlue technology in Europe and North America as soon as possible.
Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology.
Systematic further development of the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB)
There will be a major development thrust for the proven MQB standardized technical toolkit, where Volkswagen Passenger Cars holds responsibility for development within the Group network. The focus is on plug-in hybrids with an even greater range, high-volume electric vehicles with a radius of up to 300 kilometers, a 48-volt power supply system (mild hybrid) as well as ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts. A new standard with regard to connectivity and driver assistance systems is to be defined.
MEB electric toolkit
An MEB electric toolkit for future use in compact segment vehicles is to be developed based on the experience gained with existing vehicle architectures. This will be a multi-brand toolkit suitable for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and will thus leverage synergies from other electric vehicle projects in the Group. The standardized system will be designed for all body structures and vehicle types, thus allowing particularly emotional vehicle concepts,and will enable an all-electric range of 250 to 500 kilometers.
Phaeton redefined – the future is electric
The Volkswagen Phaeton has embodied the brand’s technological competence and brand ambition from the first generation onward. The future generation of the Phaeton will once again be the flagship for the brand’s profile over the next decade. In light of this, the Board of Management redefined the current project. The specification features a pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next- generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design.
Accelerated efficiency program
Dr.Herbert Diess said: “We are very aware that we can only implement these innovations for the future of the Volkswagen brand effectively if we succeed with our efficiency program and in giving our product range a new focus.”
Diess continued: “Together with my Board of Management colleagues and the entire team we are working at top speed on these issues. Time and again, the Volkswagen team has proved it stands united and is fully focused on shaping the future, particularly when times are tough. We have now laid the further foundations for that.”
Volkswagen Group Communications
Officials at Southampton City Council have shaved more than 10 per cent off the annual tyre bill for their 460-strong fleet after a move to fitting premium Michelin tyres has extended replacement intervals.
Brake, the road safety charity has recognised organisations for their contribution to improving the safety of at-work drivers, at its annual Fleet Safety Awards.
Winners were announced at a prestigious ceremony held last night (Thursday 1 October) at St John’s Hotel in Solihull, Birmingham. The awards, sponsored by Arval, were attended by more than 350 guests, making it Brake’s biggest safety awards to date.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is reminding all motorists that smoking in a vehicle with children present also applies to vans from this week (1 October 2015).