Rental vans unlikely to be affected by London T-Charge

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that he will introduce an additional £10 per day charge for the most polluting vehicles that enter the London Congestion Charging zone.

Traffic jam

As expected, the new rules will apply from October 2017 to vehicles which do not meet the Euro 4 emissions standard. In practice, this means pretty much any petrol or diesel vehicle made before 2006.

The new T-Charge, or Toxicity Charge, will be applied in addition to the existing £11.50/day Congestion Charge fee and will apply during the same 7am – 6pm/Mon-Fri period as the standard charge.

The T-Charge means that from October, drivers entering the Congesntion Charge zone in pre-Euro 4 vehicles every day could face a bill of more than £100 per week. It’s thought that as many as 10,000 pre-Euro 4 vehicles currently enter the Congestion Charge zone every weekday.

Although this scheme may be seen as a money spinner for Transport for London, I think the aim really is to make using old vehicles so expensive that people stop doing it.

The new T-Charge will run until 2020, when it will be superseded by planned Ulta Low Emission Zone legislation.

Will rental vans be affected?

Rental vans will be eligible for the new T-Charge fee. But very few reputable rental companies run vehicles that are more than 10 years old. Most rental companies keep their vans for 1-3 years only. If you’re driving a rental van, there’s very little risk that you will be affected by the T-charge, although of course you will still have to pay the regular Congestion Charge.

This is one more reason why it makes sense to rent if you only use a van occasionally.

By hiring a van instead of owning one, you can cut carbon emissions, eliminate the cost of servicing, breakdowns, insurance and road tax and benefit from the latest technology and safety features.

You can find out more about the new Emissions Surcharge on the Transport for London webiste:

Volkswagen Transporter AA Patrol van

AA updates fleet with 158 new VW Transporter vans

Volkswagen will supply 158 new Transporter vans to the AA to replace outgoing vehicles on its national patrol fleet. The additional vehicles come on top of The AA’s order last year for around 500 Transporter vans, which were fully converted at The AA’s conversion site in Oxfordshire.

Volkswagen Transporter AA Patrol van

As I’ve commented before, the AA appears to maintain a policy of running two vehicle marques. From what I see on the roads, the firm’s other van of choice is currently the Ford Transit Custom.

Fitted out for heavy use

The AA-spec Transporters will be supplied with twin batteries and a higher spec driver’s seat, among other options. Interstingly, 24 of the 158 Transporters will be fitted with a DSG automated gearbox, allowing for a smoother drive and better fuel economy.

I’d imagine that ordering this relatively small number of DSG automatic vans is by way of a trial for the AA. As the firm’s vans do much more heavy towing than is common for vans of this type, there will probably be considerable interest in the durability and efficiency of this increasingly popular gearbox.

Inside AA patrol van

Inside the front section of an AA Patrol van — tools and various spare parts, including common sizes of battery.

The new Transporters will be used by AA Patrols as roadside and recovery vehicles and will be fitted with the firm’s standard extra equipment, which includes specially-equipped with warning beacons, racking and a deployable recovery trolley.

Chris Wiltshire, Fleet Engineer for The AA said:“We couldn’t be happier to continue the fantastic relationship The AA has with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. We have a vehicle that has been developed to suit our needs, and which is converted with specialist racking to accommodate The AA’s tow system, additional equipment and tools.

“The close working partnership provides services to The AA’s wider customer base and supports Volkswagen Group by providing the dedicated Volkswagen breakdown assistance service.”

AA Patrol van towing equipment

The rear of the van is taken up with the AA’s fold out towing dolly, a universal spare wheel and other towing-related equipment.

In case the patrols’ own vans breakdown — which one would hope is a rare occurrence — they will be able to access Volkswagen’s network of 72 dedicated Van Centres and 24 Authorised Repairers across the UK.

BCA van auction

How do rental companies buy and sell so many vans?

One of the benefits of renting a van is that in most cases, you can be sure that the vehicle will be under two years old. Obviously this means that rental companies have a near-constant need to acquire new vehicles and dispose of old ones.

BCA van auction

Vans going under the hammer at BCA Blackbushe, where 540 vans were recently sold in a single day (source: BCA)

Rental companies are often among car and van manufacturers’ biggest customers. They will often agree deals to take a certain number of each type of vehicle each year in return for heavily-discounted pricing.

This helps the manufacturer to guarantee a certain level of production demand — essential for efficient planning.

What happens when the vans must be sold?

Whereas small companies might part-exchange their old vans when buying new models, this approach isn’t viable for big rental companies. They tend to buy direct from vehicle manufacturers and may take delivery of tens or even hundreds of new cars or vans at a time.

Remarketing — or selling — the old vans has become a major business in its own right. Vehicle auction group Manheim and BCA are the market leaders in the UK. Both companies operate on an impressive scale.

For example, BCA’s Blackbushe centre offered nearly 700 vans for sale in one day on 2 February 2017. These came from a mixture of fleet, lease, rental, local authority and dealer groups. A total 540 vans were sold on the day, setting a new one-day record for the firm.

And that’s just from one auction centre on one day. BCA has 24 auction centres in the UK and sells more than one million vehicles every year. According to BCA’s LCV Operations Director, Duncan Ward, the group is seeing high levels of van sales across its network:

“This is a significant result that underlines that BCA generates the buying power to remarket huge numbers of vehicles, swiftly and efficiently.  It also reflects activity elsewhere within BCA, as we have seen rising volumes around the group, notably at our multi-lane specialist LCV remarketing centres in Measham and Belle Vue Manchester.”

So now you know. To buy and sell thousands of vehicles every year, rental companies depend on careful planning and support from both manufacturers and large auction groups.

Questor Insurance logo

Valentine’s discount! Save 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logoNothing says I love you more than, er, a 10% discount code for Questor van and minibus hire excess insurance!

But with the money you save, you can splash out on some flowers or chocs for your good lady (or fella)…


This discount code is only available for a few days, so if you’re planning to hire a van it may be worth booking your insurance ahead of time in order to maximise your cash savings. Here’s the deal:

  • 10% off Questor Insurance
  • Discount code: VAL2156TIN
  • Valid from: 11 February 2017
  • Expires: 17 February 2017



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

Isuzu D-Max

Reservations open for new Isuzu D-Max

Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only pickup manufacturer taking reservations for its next-gen model.

The new generation Isuzu D-Max is due to arrive in the UK in the spring, and Isuzu has now opened the order books for this well-respected model.

Isuzu D-Max

The new 2017 model year Isuzu D-Max

The big change with the new model is that it has a brand new 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine. As far as I know, this will be the smallest engine in the UK one-tonne pickup sector. It’s certainly a bold move when manufacturers such as Volkswagen are going in the opposite direction and using larger-bore V6 engines to attract buyers and provide effortless torque.

Isuzu says that the new engine will produce 164 PS and 360Nm of torque. The new model will retain the 1 tonne payload and 3.5 tonne towing capacity of the existing D-Max. It will also meet Euro 6 standards without the need for AdBlue.

As with previous D-Max models, the Shift-On-The-Fly 4×4 will be available, allowing drivers to switch in and out of four wheel drive while on the move.

The new D-Max will come with a class-leading five-year / 125,000-mile warranty and will require 12,000-mile / 24-month servicing.

Elmport Van Hire logo

Van rental in Tyseley, Birmingham: Elmport Van Hire

Elmport Van Hire logoI’m very pleased to welcome Elmport Van Hire of Tyseley, Birmingam, to

Elmport is a specialist van hire company offering a wide range of vans to customers in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The company’s fleet includes a wider than usual range of vans, such as:

  • Small vans (e.g. VW Caddy)
  • SWB panel vans (e.g. Ford Transit SWB)
  • Crew vans (e.g. Ford Transit SWB six seater)
  • Long wheelbase vans (e.g. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter)
  • Luton van with tail lift
  • Long wheelbase dropside
  • 3.5t tipper with crew cab
  • 3.5t curtain side
  • 17-seater minibus
  • 7.5t box lorry with tail lift

All vans are available with no deposit and include insurance and full RAC breakdown cover. Elmport are van specialists and offer a flexible service that can be tailored to meet your requirements.

Delivery and collection are available and vans are always professionally cleaned between hires.

Elmport has been renting vans for more than 30 years and the experienced team are always happy to provide advice if needed. To find out more or to make a booking, contact Elmport direct:

Remember: If you’d like to see your van hire business listed on, check out our advertising options or contact us directly.

Used van at BCA auction

Used van values stall as market is flooded with stock

The used van market was flooded with stock in January, according to auctioneer BCA. This had the inevitable effect of putting pressure on selling prices.

Despite this, a richer mix of used stock helped to support prices and the average van (LCV) value at BCA reached a record of £6,409, £13 higher than in December.

Used van at BCA auction

Source: BCA


Indeed, BCA says that the last four months have seen the four highest average values on record. Average used van values are now up by 8.6%, or £508, on this time last year.

Year-on-year prices (all vans):

All vans Avg Age (mnths) Avg Mileage Avg Value
Jan 2016 54.94 73,881 £5,901
Jan 2017 52.34 70,775 £6,409

Source: BCA

According to BCA, pressure on prices was particularly strong in the fleet, lease and daily rental sector, where the average used value fell by 1% compared to December. Prices also fell in the nearly-new sector and were broadly flat in the part-exchange sector.

Taken together, this sales profile seems to make it clear that only a more valuable mix of vans prevented the average used price from falling in January. However, demand remained solid, according to BCA’s LCV Operations Director, Duncan Ward:

“While January saw good levels of buyer activity at BCA and a busy marketplace, the volumes available from a variety of sources simply outstripped demand.  This impacted conversion rates and average values as buyers were presented with a much wider choice of stock.”

“As we have seen in recent months, there is plenty of interest for any vehicles with an unusual configuration or special equipment and, as always, any vehicle suitable for the delivery or courier markets was sought after.  Vehicles suitable for the construction and building industries remain sought after, with tippers and dropsides selling strongly.”

The strength of the used market bodes well for the UK economy and the van rental sector, but it will be interesting to see how the balance between used supply and demand changes over the coming months.

UK van registrations Jan 2011 - Jan 2017

Van registrations boosted by pickup sales in January 2017

Demand for new vans remained solid in January, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The trade body’s latest figures show that van registrations rose by 1.2% to 21,363 in January 2017.

UK van registrations Jan 2011 - Jan 2017

UK van registrations Jan 2011 – Jan 2017 (source: SMMT)

A closer look at the figureA closer look at the figures shows that this growth was concentrated at the top end of the van market. There was an increase of 5.6% in the number of vans between 2.5t and 3.5t hitting the road in January, compared to the same period last year.

Smaller vans appear out of favour. Registrations of sub-2.0t models fell by 16%, perhaps because there are increasingly few such models to choose from, while 2.0-2.5t units rose by just 3.1%.

January’s top sellers

One thing that doesn’t change is the top seller list.

Ford continued to wipe the floor with its competitors in January. The blue oval bagged the top three places in the best seller table, leaving rivals such as Vauxhall, Renault and Mercedes-Benz lagging seriously behind:

Best sellers LCV < 3.5t Jan '17

LCV best sellers in January 2017 (source: SMMT)

Euro Van Hire logo

Van rental in Eastbourne: Euro Van Hire

Euro Van Hire logoI’m very pleased to welcome Euro Van Hire of Westham, near Eastbourne, to

Euro Van Hire offers an all-Volkswagen fleet of vans and passenger vehicles which are guaranteed to include air-con and Bluetooth. The fleet includes:

  • Volkswagen Caddy (small van)
  • Volkswagen Transporter (medium van)
  • Volkswagen Crafter medium and long wheelbase with high roof
  • Volkswagen Crafter Luton with tail lift
  • Volkswagen Transporter Kombi (crew van)
  • Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle (9 seater)
  • Volkswagen Amarok pickup

In keeping with its Volkswagen-only promise, Euro Van Hire guarantees that the vehicle you book will be the vehicle you get.

At the time of writing, van hire prices start from £18 per day +VAT, based on a 7-day hire with 7 days for the price of 5. Extras such as sat navs are available to hire if needed.

To find out more or make a booking, contact Euro Van Hire directly:

  • Telephone:  01323 458669
  • Web:
  • Email:

If you’d like to see your van rental business listed on, check out our advertising options here or contact us directly.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup

Mercedes-Benz opens reservation service for X-Class pickup

It won’t be here until 2018, but buyers are already queuing up for the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class “stylish adventurer” pickup concept — the production model is due to hit the UK in 2018

Demand is so high, apparently, that Mercedes has launched an early reservation service to allow potential UK buyers to reserve a spot at the head of the queue when the X-Class becomes available to order.

Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said:

“Many customers we have spoken to have a strong desire to be amongst the first to own the new X-Class, which is incredible considering that it hasn’t been unveiled yet!”

If you’d like to be one of the first to hit the road in what promises to be a truly eye-catching vehicle, then you’ll have to put down a £1,000 refundable deposit.

If you’re still undecided, then here are a few tasters. According to Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the X-Class will have:

“a ladder-type frame, high-torque six cylinder engine and permanent all-wheel drive”. It will also have the class-leading performance, safety and luxury that you’d expect from any Mercedes.

The new pickup is expected to be a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Daimler — it will essentially be a reworked version of the Nissan NP300. However, as with the Mercedes-Benz Citan small van (based on the Renault Kangoo), it will be heavily modified to ensure it delivers the quality, performance and luxury expected from the three-pointed star.

Here are a few more pictures of the X-Class concept to whet your appetite:

Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup rear view

Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup interior

Mercedes-Benz X-Class concept

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class “powerful adventurer” concept model

Mercedes-Benz X-Class concept

A rear view of the X-Class “powerful adventurer” concept

You can find out more at