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Commercial Vehicle Engineer is the multi-award-winning online monthly for road transport engineers and fleet managers, delivering a unique blend of independent, well-informed analysis, hard-hitting comment and news on the commercial vehicle market and aftermarket. The December 2018 edition is now online.

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For the 2019 CV Engineer media kit, including forward features list, click here



This month’s editorial spotlight turns to what is being described as a digital transformation in truck fleet operation. We find out why Europe’s biggest trailer-maker has appointed its first telematics and services sales manager in the UK shortly after establishing a semi-detached tiny German company focused solely on telematics and software development. And the driver training and telematics manager at Bibby Distribution, one of the UK’s ten biggest transport and logistics businesses, tells us why “simple” and “clear” were his watchwords in choosing the telematics system on which this 540-truck fleet is now standardised.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks boss Stefan Buchner explains the thinking behind the latest digital technology, including four “world-firsts”, selected for the new Actros truck range going into full production next year. And as a rogue drone operator causes almost as much chaos at Gatwick airport as a dysfunctional, incompetent government is causing at Westminster and beyond, we have news of a long-awaited international standard for drones that has big implications for commercial vehicle engineers everywhere.

People in the news this month include Robin Easton at Daf Trucks and Carlos Rodrigues, his opposite number at Renault Trucks UK, both looking back on the 2018 UK truck market and forward to what 2019 could hold.

Commercial Vehicle Engineer will be back in January with our long-established definitive annual analysis of truck operating costs. Meanwhile we wish you a happy and relaxing Christmas and New Year holiday.











Fri 21 Dec, 2018

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December 2018

3 Comment
Vehicle registration secrets are in nobody's interest. It is that time of year when truck and bus manufacturers, dealers and indeed everyone with a stake in the commercial vehicle industry turns to forecasts. Central to many are the latest new vehicle registrations statistics. Time was, scarcely more than a couple of years ago, when the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) could be relied on to provide these for trucks, buses and coaches as well as for vans and cars. Not any more. Gone are the vital clues in detailed and timely monthly and annual statistics to the current relative popularity and sales success of particular truck models. Gone too therefore is an important stimulus to competition between suppliers, including the manufacturers themselves, and their franchised dealers. Analysis of detailed figures aided transport managers and fleet engineers in deciding exactly where to pitch negotiating stances with dealers, manufacturers and leasing companies. Then in 2016 came the near-€3 billion (£2.7 billion) fine by the European Commission on truck-makers for alleged price- fixing and anti- competitive “cartel” activity between 1997 and 2011, followed by legal action by the UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA). Even before this began, risk-averse corporate lawyers at a few truck-making groups apparently had advised their bosses to stop subscribing to the SMMT’s MVRIS (Motor Vehicle Registration Information System), the software behind the familiar statistics, seemingly on the petulant basis that it involved the sort of information sharing for which they had been fined. It is now long past the time when these lawyers should have been told, politely but firmly, that this advice was not going to be followed. Just about everyone now seems to agree with MAN Truck and Bus UK boss Thomas Hemmerich who sums up the current lack of reliable, independent information on truck and bus registrations in the UK as the worst he has seen anywhere, including Africa. This scandalous lack of transparency is benefiting nobody, with the possible exception of a few well-heeled lawyers. It needs to end.

6 Points of view
Jost UK's Paul Clayton wonders what UK fleets favouring trailer drum brakes still could learn from the tanker sector. Schaeffler (UK) technical services manager Alistair Mason finds solid reasons for sticking with dual-mass flywheels on cars and light commercial vehicles. Lynne White of Chevin Fleet Solutions offers a beginner's guide to the differences between telematics and fleet management software.

9 News
Truck-makers unfazed by Brexit mayhem. End-of-year reviews from Robin Easton of Daf Trucks and Carlos Rodrigues of Renault Trucks UK.

11 News
Can tyres of a certain age ever be completely safe? The latest on government advice for truck and bus operators thinking of fitting tyres over ten years old, and what lies behind it.

14 News
Drones cleared for commercial vehicle industry take-off? Publication of the world's first draft standards for drones could affect commercial vehicle operators more than might be imagined.

16 Maestro of technology balancing acts
The new Mercedes Actros truck range going into full production early in 2019 boasts four "world-firsts" among a host of innovations. But how did the engineers behind the project decide which elements of the latest technology to include and which to leave out, for now at least? Who better to ask than Mercedes-Benz Trucks boss Stefan Buchner? Tim Blakemore reports.

20 On the road to a digital transformation?
Europe's biggest trailer-maker is among those stepping up their drive into the telematics and computer software business. But independent telematics specialists continue to tick all the right boxes for many fleets. Tim Blakemore reports.

24 News from the north
This month's Transport News TruckScot Scenery includes a trio of Grampian Continental Scania S580s and a Volvo FM eight-wheeler with Globetrotter cab in the Harbro fleet.

26 News from the north
Advice from the Transport News Truck Advocate on the Driver CPC and minibuses; and the legal thresholds for tachographs and operator licences.

27 News from the north
Ocado's Graham Thomas explains the thinking behind his company's switch to Iveco Stralis tractive units running on liquefied natural gas.

28 People and jobs
Claire Gilmore has been appointed traffic commissioner for Scotland. Peter Tye has left ATS Euromaster to join Renault Trucks UK. The Volkswagen group is to have a new research and development boss from 1 January.

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