Easirent.com logo

Blackburn, Preston & Wigan van hire: Easirent

Easirent.com logoI’m pleased to announce three new additions to our branch database. Easirent operates car and van hire branches in Blackburn, Preston and Wigan.

Easirent has been in business for 25 years and prides itself on providing a high quality branch service supported by expert local staff. The company’s Preston, Wigan and Blackburn branches offer a comprehensive range of vans across the follow classes:

  • Small vans (e.g. Citroen Berlingo)
  • Medium vans (e.g. Ford Transit Custom SWB)
  • Long vans (e.g. Peugeot Boxer)
  • Extra-long wheelbase vans (e.g. Volkswagen Crafter)
  • 3.5t crew cab tippers
  • 3.5t dropside (single cab/crew cab)
  • 3.5t luton box vans with tail lift
  • Double cab pickups

To get a quote or make a booking, contact Easirent directly:

If you’d like your van hire company to be listed on vanrental.co.uk, check out our advertising options here or contact us directly.

Manheim logo

Ex-rental vans create challenging conditions in used market

If you’re a used van dealer buying vans under two years old at auction, how do you work out how much you should pay?

Manheim logo

In theory, you should be able to use trade guide prices. In reality, you need to pay attention to the generous discounts being offered on new vans by manufacturers.

The problem is that your one or two year old van has got to be cheaper than a new van. So the only way to work out how much to pay at auction is to start with the price of a discounted new van and work backwards.

It may sound surprising that you’re able to buy a new van for a price that’s not much higher than the price of (say) a one-year old ex-rental van. But that’s what happens when manufacturers start trying to prop up falling new van registrations.

Auction update

According to Matthew Davock of Manheim Auctions, de-fleet volumes for vans less than two years old reached record levels in January and February, rising by 14% compared to the same period last year.

Davock says that “the majority is ex daily rental” stock and that “the challenge here is guide values”. He says that anecdotal evidence from buyers suggests that auction guide prices are now close to “or even in excess of the deals available on new vans”. Davock says that “buyers value this stock according to the legitimate retail deals online”. I read this as suggesting that the prices of nearly-new vans could be falling.

For older vans, aged two-six years, the problem isn’t price, it’s condition. Davock says that “demand outstrips supply of clean 40-60,000 mile vans” and that there’s been “a noticeable decline in conditions” over the last year.

What’s next?

Heavily discounted new van prices are putting pressure on the prices of sub two year old vans. At the same time, there’s a shortage of good quality vans in the two-to-six year age bracket.

So assuming supply and demand remain fairly steady, what seems likely to me is that used van prices will fall across the board to create a more consistent relationship between age, condition and price. Will this happen? Who knows. Used van prices have been remarkably resilient over the last few months.

Manheim’s Davock expects March to be quieter in terms of new volumes as the plate change period slows the supply of de-fleeted vans. Watch this space for more news next month.

Royal Navy Nissan e-NV200 van at Portsmouth Naval Base

Royal Navy chooses electric power for Portsmouth base

Royal Navy Nissan e-NV200 van at Portsmouth Naval BaseThe Royal Navy is no stranger to cutting-edge technology. So perhaps it’s not a surprise that Portsmouth Naval Base is now home to a fleet of 48 Nissan e-NV200 electric vans.

The vans — the top-selling electric van in Europe — have been deployed on the site by BAE Systems, who manage the base for the Royal Navy.

A total of 26 charging points and 28 designated parking bays have been installed, in order to ensure that the electric vans don’t go short of power or parking. The new electric vans are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 40% compared to the previous fleet.

Ian Anderton, integrated delivery director at BAE Systems, said:

“We have worked closely with Lex Autolease and Nissan to introduce this new fleet that makes a significant reduction to carbon dioxide emissions and respects our customers need for a value for money solution.

“The reduced emissions and fuel use by replacing nearly half of the fleet with Nissan electric vehicles would have a significant environmental impact on Portsmouth Naval Base.”

In total, the conversion of more than a third of BAE Systems’ vehicle fleet to Nissan’s e-NV200 Combis will save £360,000 in fuel and other costs over the duration of the contract.

Volkswagen Bulli 70th anniversary special

VW celebrates 70 years of the Transporter with Bulli special edition

The VW Bulli was the brainchild of Dutch Volkswagen import Ben Pon after a visit the firm’s Wolfsburg plant. Pon saw an in-house special known as the Plattenwagen which was used to ferry materials around the plant.

Pon’s idea became the Volkswagen Transporter, or Bulli — one of the world’s most successful and long-lived automotive models. Almost seventy years later, the VW Transporter is still going strong. To mark the occasion, Volkswagen will launch a ’70 Years of the Bulli’ special edition at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Volkswagen Bulli 70th anniversary special

Based on a T7 Multivan Comfortline model, this exclusive special will take elements from the Multivan Highline and California models to achieve a timeless, high-class finish that’s reminiscent of the original Bulli.

Inside the VW Bulli 70

Wood-look flooring taken from the VW California helps to create a stylish retro look.

Wood-look flooring, chrome trim and optional two-tone paintwork complete the look of this highly-specified van. Inside, buyers will be cosseted with special lighting, modified seat covers and a premium multifunction display and instrument panel framed in piano gloss black trim from the Highline model.

The special edition model will be available to order in Germany from the beginning of May. UK availability has yet to be confirmed, so if you’re keen, it may be worth contacting your dealer and asking them to put in a request to VW HQ.

Van registrations Feb 2011 - Feb 2017

Van registrations fall 4.3% in February

Registrations of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) under 3.5t fell by 4.3% in February, compared to the same period a year earlier. According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 13,291 LCVs were registered last month.

LCV registrations Feb 2017

LCV registrations Feb 2017 (source: SMMT)

Commenting on the figures, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“February is typically a quiet month as buyers look ahead to the March plate change and, following the rapidly growing levels of demand we’ve seen over the past two years, a decline is not unexpected. The sector remains in good health and, barring any shocks to business confidence, we expect demand to remain strong over the coming months.”

It’s certainly true that the market has made a robust recovery over the last few years:

Van registrations Feb 2011 - Feb 2017

Van registrations Feb 2011 – Feb 2017 (source: SMMT)

Looking at the figures in more detail, last month saw a 9% rise in registrations of 2.0-2.5t vans such as the Vollkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect. Sales of sub-2.0t vans fell sharply.

As always, the biggest volumes were seen in the 2.5-3.5t category, where sales were broadly flat at 8,753, just 1.3% lower than in February 2016.

Best sellers

There were no surprises in the best seller tables. Ford maintained its stranglehold on the top two positions with the Transit and Transit Custom.

The only other mover of note was Mercedes-Benz. The Sprinter climbed into third place with 807 sales last month, up from 10th place in January:

LCV best sellers February 2017

LCV best sellers February 2017 (source: SMMT)

Citroen Berlingo L2 electric van

Peugeot & Citroën stretch range with longer wheelbase electric van

The Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo electric vans (the same vehicle) have been around for a while now. But so far they’ve only been available in the shorter L1 wheelbase offered by the firm’s on its diesel models.

The companies say that in response to customer demand, the Berlingo/Partner electric van will now be available in a choice of L1 and L2 wheelbases. Choosing the L2 option will enable van operators to extend available load length from 1,800mm to 2,050mm and load volume from 3.3 cubic metres to 3.7 cubic metres.

Citroen Berlingo L2 electric van

The Citroen Berlingo electric van in L2 (long) wheelbase.

The battery packs are fitted beneath the floor in this model, meaning that loadspace is the same as in the diesel models.

Faster charging

Both models will also benefit from being supplied with a 16A charging cable as standard. This enables the vans to be hooked up to fast charging points for more rapid recharging.

The 22.5kWh litihium-ion battery backs fitted to these models provide a range of up to 106 miles. They can be charged to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes from a dedicated rapid charge point.

Citroen Berlingo electric van under bonnet

Under the bonnet of the Citroen Berlingo electric van.

The Partner/Berlingo is eligible for the Plug in Van Grant (PiVG) from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). Prices for both vans start from £22,180 +VAT. All vans are exempt from road tax and will continue to be so under new tax VED rules from April 2017.

A new Berlingo Electric L2 550 LX will be displayed on the Citroën stand at the CV Show in April. I’m heading to the show so I’ll try and get a photo.

Isuzu D-Max

Specification and pricing confirmed for new Isuzu D-Max

Reservations are already open for the new Isuzu D-Max pickup. But the Japanese firm has now confirmed full pricing and specification details for the new model, which goes on sale in the UK this spring.

Isuzu D-Max

The new 2017 model year Isuzu D-Max

The trim level line-up from the current D-Max range has been maintained, with Utility, Eiger, Yukon, Utah and Blade models. A mix of single, extended and double cab variants are available.

Here’s a summary of the specifications and pricing for each trim level:

Utility: Comes equipped with LED daytime running lights, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and air conditioning. Prices from £15,749 CVOTR.

Eiger: Double cab + adds a reversing camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers, audio system with CD player and 6 speakers. Prices from from £20,499 CVOTR.

Yukon: Adds 18-inch alloy wheels, silver side steps, new 7-inch multi-function touchscreen, LED rear lights, Cruise Control, rear load liner and a leather steering wheel. Pricet from £20,499 CVOTR.

Utah: Adds keyless entry with push button start, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, roof bars, leather upholstery with heated front seats, rear parking sensors, automatic air conditioning. Prices from £24,149 CVOTR.

Blade: The range-topping model adds tinted windows, 9-inch multi-function touchscreen, remote locking lower tailgate, Blade puddle lamps, front and rear parking sensors, and a colour-coded Aeroklas canopy or sports bar with roller cover. Prices from £26,999 CVOTR.

Whats’ new?

The new D-Max has been comprehensively re-worked. The biggest change is a new 1.9-litre turbodiesel offering 164PS and 360Nm of torque.

The D-Max’s 1-tonne payload and 3.5-tonne towing capacity have been maintained, as has the pickup’s on-the-fly 4×4 control. This allows the driver to select both four-wheel drive and low-range gears while moving.

To provide peace of mind and a useful competitive advantage versus European marques, Isuzu provides a five-year 125,000-mile warranty. Five year’s recovery and European breakdown cover is included.

For more details visit www.isuzu.co.uk.

Questor Insurance logo

Discount code: Save 5% with Questor Insurance in March

Questor Insurance logoOne of the best ways to save money on car and van hire is by purchasing your own excess insurance.

One of the cheapest insurance providers on the market is Questor Insurance.

To help you cut costs as we head into spring, Questor has provided vanrental.co.uk with a 5% discount code for customers buying motor and travel policies in March.

Here are the details:

  • Save 5% on Questor Insurance. Protect the excess on your motor and travel policies for less.
  • DISCOUNT CODE: Mar2148
  • Valid from: 1 March 2017
  • Expires 31 March 2017

Buy Questor Insurance



Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

Ford Transit on stormy day

Did Doris Day winds make driving tough? Ford has the answer

“The road is closed to high-sided vehicles” is a common traffic news comment in stormy weather. High winds can make it unsafe to drive on exposed roads. And while even the biggest of vans are not true high siders, they can be severely buffeted around when empty.

Ford Transit on stormy day

The answer appears to lie in the electronic stability control systems that are now fitted as standard to most modern vehicles. It’s commonly thought of as traction control but is actually able to do much more, using a clever combination of sensors and brake control.

For example, Ford now fits its Side Wind Stabilisation system to all new Transit and Transit Custom vans. At vehicle speeds of more than 50mph, the Side Wind Stabilisation system monitors stability sensors 100 times per second. If a sudden gust is detected, the system will apply the brakes on one side of the vehicle in order to counter the effect of the wind.

You can see the Side Wind Stabilisation system in action in this video from Ford:

“No-one likes that feeling when your vehicle gets caught by a wind gust, or you are passing close to a fast-moving truck,” said Marc Suermann, chassis controls supervisor, Ford of Europe. “This new technology will help make driving less stressful for Transit drivers, particularly on those dark and stormy winter days.”

The new Side Wind Stabilisation system was part of a package of new driver assistance systems introduced on the Transit and Transit Custom alongside Ford’s new EcoBlue diesel engine. Other measures include Pre-Collision Assist emergency braking, which is the first in its segment to include pedestrian detection technology.

Chart showing UK CV output broken into export and total demand.

Export boost lifts UK CV manufacturing by 11% in January

It’s been a few months since we looked at the state of the UK commercial vehicle manufacturing industry. But the trends we saw last year appear to remain in place.

Total commercial vehicle manufacturing in the UK rose by 10.8% to 7,502 units in January compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This strong growth was down to European buyers, who purchased 5,060 new vans and trucks during the period, a 45.9% increase on January 2016. Production to meet orders from the UK market fell by 26% to just 2,442 units.

SMMT CV manufacturing figures Jan 2017

Source: SMMT

One reason for this surge in export sales may be that the weaker pound means UK exports are cheaper for eurozone buyers. A second reason may be that key markets in Europe are starting to show signs of economic recovery, lagging the recovery we’ve seen in the UK over the last couple of years.

The shifting pattern of demand between home and export markets in recent years can be seen in this graph:

Chart showing UK CV output broken into export and total demand.

UK CV output, showing export demand alongside total demand. (Source: SMMT)

The blue effectively represents home demand, which has recovered strongly after hitting a low in late 2009. Export demand took longer to recover but has been growing steadily since January 2015.

Commenting on January’s figures, Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said:

“CV production got off to a great start last month, following a relatively stable year for the sector. The strong performance was driven by continued overseas demand, with 96% of all exported CVs heading for Europe. For this performance to continue, government must secure the competitive trading conditions that are so vital to the sector’s success.”

Clearly Brexit has the potential to be a big issue for the vehicle manufacturing sector. With Vauxhall plants thought to be under threat if French group PSA buys General Motor’s Opel business, the next couple of years could be a nail-biting time for workers in the UK’s highly-respected automotive sector. Let’s hope for the best.