ATE Truck and Trailer sales celebrate 20,000 vehicles

ATE Truck and Trailer, based in Wolverhampton, is celebrating passing a milestone that has seen them acquire 20,000 vehicles.

It has taken 12 years and the best part of £80m to reach. James Jenkins, MD, said the last few years have seen a large growth in the business. “It took us eight years to buy our first 10,000 vehicles but only four years to buy the second 10,000. 

“During the last 12 years we have seen some very big changes in the market but have a fantastic team that have always been able to adapt and move with the times, driving the business forward. We have recently expanded the truck sales side of the business and continue to work as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality used trailers worldwide,” he said.

ATE Truck and Trailer operate from a 14-acre head office in Wolverhampton, and from a sales office on Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, near Leicester. The company has 800 vehicles, with a wide range of 7.5 tonne to multi wheel rigids, tractor units and trailers available at any one time. “We are looking forward to buying the next 20,000 vehicles in record time,” Jenkins added.

Truck sales now account for around 35% of the business, representing a massive growth from the 12% it accounted for at the start of 2011. Jenkins revealed that ATE bring fresh stock in all the time at the rate of around 150 to 200 vehicles and trailers a month, with the sales team making sure these go back out again just as quickly with sales currently running at around 2,500 annually. Export sales account for 40% of that figure with Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe currently the top destinations for vehicles that have passed through ATE.

Commercial director, Allan Evans said every business needs to get value for money. “With operating margins so tight this is especially true in the commercial vehicle sector. My vision has always been to provide a facility for the transport industry that is a one stop shop.

“At ATE customers can now buy or lease new commercial vehicles, trailers and refurbished stock. Our strategic link with Asset Alliance Ltd also means we can provide financial packages for new and used equipment. We will also take vehicles back in part exchange. I believe the way we are now set up is the way to go.”

Government reveals third Secretary of State for Transport in two years

Just as Justine Greening was coming to terms with her aerophobia she is duly replaced by someone willing to spread their wings. Please welcome the new Secretary of State for Transport – Patrick McLoughlin.

His tenure is expected to be short-lived as this post is more of a stepping stone than a hot potato – three transport secretaries in two years, seven in past six years. The post of Secretary of State for Transport was created in 2002 after Stephen Byers resigned after 11 months as the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, itself a newly created post that lived and died under his watch.


The first Secretary of State for Transport was Alistair Darling, who put in four years before moving to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. That period of stability was driven by the remit to ‘take the department out of the headlines’ following the disastrous fuel strikes in 2001. Most of his work centred around the creation of Network Rail but there is some notable road transport policies;

  • He gave £145m to improve road junctions in the UK (CM, 17 October 2002)
  • He introduced a ‘Traffic Tsar’ for the West Midlands while admitting the 10-year transport plan launched in 1997 had failed (CM, 13 February 2003)
  • Led a pilot scheme to use the hard-shoulder to ease traffic (CM, 1 May 2003)
  • Launched a 20-30 year continuation plan to replace the failed 10 year place (CM, 22 July 2004)
  • Oversaw the new M6 Toll Road built in 2004 and backed it even though few used it (CM, 17 February 2005)

These ‘achievements’ overshadow his descendants. His immediate successor in May 2006 was Douglas Alexander who doubled up as Secretary of State for Scotland. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair contradicted Alexander's view that the road pricing debate had moved from whether it was the right policy to how it should be implemented (CM, 8 March 2007). He then departed in June 2007 to be replaced by Ruth Kelly.

She supported bio-fuels, drawing criticism from activists (and The Guardian) who believed that using it to power vehicles would ‘impoverish third world farmers to assuage first-world environmental guilt’. She also admitted she would need a lot of persuasion to allow longer semi-trailers on UK roads. Answering a question in Parliament she replied: "I'm yet to receive the research report, bull have no plans to allow super lorries on UK roads, and I would need a lot of persuasion to do so (CM, 24 April 2008)."

She also set out proposals for the third runway at Heathrow, and a sixth terminal. She left her post in October 2008. The third Secretary of State for Transport in three years was Geoff Hoon. He bemoaned cross-border enforcement plans regarding seat-belt wearing, speeding and jumping red lights (CM, 23 October 2008), gave the thumbs up for the Heathrow expansion and then resigned in June 2009 to spend more time with his family. Lord Andrew Adonis stepped into the breach.

He led the Labour backtrack over a national road-user charging system (CM 2 July 2009), went onto the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 proclaiming that there was ‘plenty of free parking at the services for lorries', and that there might be a ‘local problem with parking around Dover’ (CM, 15 October 2009). He also led the way for the High-Speed 2 railway line between London and Birmingham before the 2010 general election brought his time in front-line politics to an end.

As the coalition entered 10 Downing Street so the revolving door at the Secretary of State for Transport continued. Philip Hammond stepped into the well worn shoes and announced a consultation on raising motorway speeds for cars to 80mph, due to be introduced in 2013 (CM, 6 October 2011) before being named as the new Secretary of State for Defence in October 2011.

His replacement was Justine Greening. She promoted electric vehicles (CM, 23 February 2012), wouldn’t be drawn on investment for VOSA, and decided that penalty charges in London wouldn’t be raised during the Olympics (CM, 5April 2012), before departing and leaving the warm chair for Patrick McLoughlin.

Laurie Dealer open letter: Sir, you have little to live up to, but we do humbly ask, if can spare a mo, could you please talk to the road transport industry, get its opinion on fuel duty, cabotage, road charging, overseas competition, etc etc… Please, don’t ignore us. Regards, LD.