Celebrating 50 years of the Ford Transit

Since the first vehicle left the production line in Langley, England, on August 9, 1965, almost 8 million Transit and Transit Custom models have been built, and the Transit has grown from a single model to an entire family of Transit vans. Lined up end-to-end, 50 years of Transits would circle the globe, and on average a new Transit has been bought every 180 seconds during its lifetime. The latest expanded Transit line-up features four all-new models – Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier – which are boosting demand for Ford commercial vehicles, with sales at an all-time high in March up 43 per cent at 16,497, compared with March 2014. “The Ford Transit has touched the lives of most of us,” said Mark Ovenden, chairman and managing director, Ford of Britain. “From house moves to moving people, the Ford Transit is…

Crash for Cash warning to van drivers…

“White van man” is increasingly being targeted by criminals running dangerous crash for cash fraud rings, according to new research conducted by anti-fraud firm APU. According to APU, light commercial vehicles have been involved in almost a third of all deliberate collisions caused by the gangs in a worrying trend that has emerged in the last 12 months. The announcement comes as new data shows that crash for cash incidents increased by 51% in 2013 to reach a record level, according to claims fraud data from Aviva, which is calling for stronger sentences to deter fraudsters. As police, insurers and authorities continue to battle the scourge of crash for cash, APU and international commercial law firm Hill Dickinson have identified the trend involving drivers of the UK’s 3.7 million LCVs. Specialists found that fraudsters target professional vehicles like vans because they are most likely to…

Van fleets risk paying more for tyres

A third of van fleet operators do not have a formal tyre policy and are at risk of paying over the odds for their tyres, according to ATS Euromaster. It warns that LCV tyres should not be considered a low cost option, as the operational tyre costs of running a modern van fleet are no longer that far removed from that of a fleet of trucks. Fleets without a tyre policy risk paying more for their tyres as standardising on one brand can often enable a better fleet discount. An expertly managed policy also has the potential to save businesses huge amounts in running costs, through maximising the longevity, safety, performance and fuel-efficiency of each asset. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) conducted the survey with its members, in conjunction with Van Excellence industry partner ATS Euromaster. Simon Tattersall, head of national accounts at ATS…

Free commercial vehicle journey planner launched

PIE Mapping has launched The Freight Journey Planner which allows commercial vehicle operators to plan routes, free of charge, tailored to vans and HGV fleets. ‘Navigating Britain’s roads continues to get tougher for freight operators, with lots of restrictions governing vehicle movements,’ said Freddie Talberg, CEO of PIE Mapping. ‘We’ve been developing the Freight Journey Planner to directly address this issue and are delighted to launch this free service using high-quality freight specific data from an array of sources, including directly from councils. ‘We hope this helps operators and drivers to comply with the preferred routes and rules of local authority road networks.’ According to Talberg, the system will continue to evolve following its launch through partnerships with more local authorities to capture as much local data as possible. ‘This local authority data will make the routing even more accurate and help the Freight…

New high-roof version of Ford Transit Custom Van

Ford’s new high-roof version of the Transit Custom (which has sold more than 6,000 units to date in the UK) is available to order now, for delivery later this year. The high-roof Transit offers 20% more volume than the equivalent low-roof model, resulting in a maximum load area of 8.3 cubic metres. Ford claims that the van’s all-steel roof will support a maximum load of 100kg, while the load-through hatch in the bulkhead enables loads up to 3.0m in length, such as pipes or ladders, to be safely carried inside the vehicle. The high-roof Transit comes fitted with a 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel with optional Auto-Start-Stop, which produces CO2 emissions of 178g/km. Advanced Ford vehicle technologies including SYNC with Emergency Assistance, Rear View Camera, Acceleration Control, Lane Keeping Alert and Driver Alert are available as options. Other features include easy-to-clean load floor lining and…

New FTA app aids driver walk-around checks

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched a new internet-based app which enables drivers to carry out their vehicle walk-around checks with the aid of an electronic device. Compatible with iPod, iPhone, iPad and a selected range of Android devices, the FTA says that the app cuts down on any errors or inefficiencies associated with paper inspections. It also complies with VOSA’s safety and maintenance guide and is available in formats for vans, trucks, coaches and buses. Quick reference bar codes are placed on a vehicle at key inspection points, allowing users to “scan, inspect, transmit and track” the vehicle with the FTA Drivers’ Walk Around Check app. These weather resistant label tags contain information about the driver, vehicle, inspection point and the components to be checked. If defects or advisories are found they can be selected from a pre-defined list within the system,…

Ford Transit Connect is “International Van of the Year 2014”

Ford’s new Transit Connect has scooped the “International Van of the Year 2014” title at the COMTRANS commercial vehicle exhibition in Moscow. The van scored a total of 130 points from a maximum 163, putting it ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Renault Kangoo. The 24-strong jury of journalists praised the model for its fuel economy, design, driveability, load-carrying and safety. ‘The all-new Transit Connect impressed the jury on a number of fronts, and above all by the fact Ford has succeeded in building a light van with a strong accent on economics – the vehicle is a good answer to the needs of small operators as well as big fleets to reduce the cost of transport of goods,’ said Pieter Wieman, chairman of the “International Van of the Year” jury. ‘The loading space offers several innovative aspects such as a load-through hatch in…

VOSA warns of ‘reality check ahead’ for van operators at FTA conference

VOSA has warned van operators that those not complying with regulations will be targeted by the authorities. Gordon Macdonald, who is VOSA’s head of enforcement policy, issued the warning during his keynote speech at the first Freight Transport Association Van Excellence Conference in Sheffield. He said that VOSA was determined to improve van operational standards and makes no secret of its intention to significantly ramp up the number of roadside inspections and other enforcement activity. He also praised the Van Excellence scheme, describing it as “an extremely good example of where the industry can take responsibility for itself”, adding that accredited operators of the Van Excellence scheme were recognised by VOSA for demonstrating good practice in the industry. He said: “Van Excellence contributes to improve road safety recognition, and is very beneficial in changing the public perception of the ‘white van man’. “The scheme…

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