Vehicles to look out for in 2017
Since the introduction of Euro-6 legislation, new truck and van launches have come thick and fast. Most manufacturers now have new products out to market, so 2017 is predicted to be less dramatic in terms of major launches. There are, however, a number of significant product innovations to look out for, and light commercials will continue to dominate. Here are Commercialmotor's predictions:
Light & Heavy Commercial Vehicles
It is confirmed that the MAN TGE, a light commercial vehicle, will be available next year and is likely to be the brand’s headline at the CV Show.
The TGE will be powered by a 2-litre TDI engine with four power ratings of 101hp, 121hp, 138hp and 174hp. Front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive models will feature in the range, with two wheelbase lengths, three roof heights and three vehicle lengths available.
Importantly, this extension of the MAN range means that the MAN product line-up now spans 3- to 44-tonne GVW for the first time.
When the LDV Maxus re-entered the UK market this year, a number of other products were promised.
The LDV Maxus EV80 electric model is expected early next year, with demonstrators arriving as early as mid-January, and the vehicle being available towards the end of the first quarter.
Likewise, the G10 panel van, a completely new design, is anticipated to arrive in the UK in quarter two. This vehicle, also produced as a passenger car, has similar dimensions to the Mercedes-Benz Vito. It will be powered by the same 1.9-litre diesel engine (175hp) as in MG cars.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed its intention to enter the increasingly competitive pick-up truck market.
The ‘Concept X class’ is due to be launched in Europe during quarter four 2017, but the UK market will have to wait until 2018. Although based on the Nissan NP300 Navara construction, the X class will target the premium sector and will boast a range-topping V6 engine.
Aside from the X class launch, Mercedes-Benz have introduced two systems for their heavy commercials, which they believe are unique to the Mercedes brand: an ‘Active Brake Assist 4’ emergency braking system and a ‘Sideguard Assist’ function which attracts the attention of the driver to pedestrians and cyclists when turning and when in dense urban traffic.
We expect to see the market start to populate with the new version Volkswagen Crafter, and additional models will then be added throughout 2017, including right-wheel drive and automatic versions by year end.
Renault has quashed speculation of a move into the lighter end of the truck market, after there had been rumours of a 7.5-tonne vehicle.
Significant news for 2017 is the introduction of an anti-runaway braking system, which Renault believes to be an industry first.
Designed specifically in response to increasing and recent high-profile incidents of runaway trucks, the park brake will be automatically applied if the driver’s door is opened and the vehicle speed is less than 3km/h. Renault are also beginning trials next year with a low entry range on refuse collection work in London.
Following the 2016 Next Generation Scania launch which introduced the new S- and R-Series models, a roll out of the new design and technology to the rest of the range was always expected.
However, while Scania remains tight-lipped about launch dates, it seems that there are firm plans in place for 2017 and Commercialmotor.com speculates that the new P-Series Scania could be introduced as early as the Spring.
Volvo will roll out the I-shift crawler gears for the heavy haulage sector and will continue to promote the I-shift dual clutch.
DAB radio and new infotainment systems will be available for the FH and FM, complete with interactive touch screen and Wi-Fi capability when stationary.
In 2017 the brand will be celebrating 50 years of Volvo Trucks in the UK with 50 limited edition 50 Ailsa truck FHs.
With operators looking to trailer manufacturers in the recent past for innovations related to fuel saving, urban delivery and safety, this sector has also seen significant product launches in the last few years, particularly in aerodynamics. Therefore, it seems trailer manufacturers could be quiet throughout 2017. Some highlights expected are:
Krone will be introducing a new flatbed trailer during the first quarter of 2017. Said by the manufacturer to be “competitively priced and developed for the UK/Irish market by a highly-experienced UK sales team”, the new flatbed will be available with Krone drum brakes and is compliant with EN 12642- code XL.
Although SDC is reluctant to give anything away, CM predicts that there will be a fairly significant announcement next year.
Throughout 2017 there is likely to be a continued focus by SDC on load restraint systems and safe trailer operations. The manufacturer has re-developed its sliding skeletal trailers to allow for simplified load transfer and operation.
Gray & Adams
Innovations can be expected in the Gray & Adams urban double deck trailer range next year and we believe that the manufacturer will celebrate 60 years in business, perhaps by building a small number of specialist diamond anniversary trailers.
The Cartwright Group used this year’s Freight in the City Expo to showcase a new urban semi-trailer, the patent-pending ‘Streetwise Urban Delivery’ concept.
Cartwright says it will continue to “build on its innovative approach to trailer design and manufacture” but a particular focus is expected to be on refrigerated products across the whole 3.5- to 44 tonnes range.
The Streetwise is now fully engineered and will be in production in the New Year. Cartwright said the Streetwise is ideal for city centre multi-drop, multi-temperature, cross-pavement or street level deliveries.
Other Predictions for 2017
With the introduction of the gas-powered Iveco Stralis NP truck, and hundreds of buses in the UK already running on hybrid technology, perhaps we shall see further in-roads into alternative fuels, particularly electric and dual-fuel types.
Could we see some new entrants to the market? Fiat is set to bring the Ram pick-up brand to Europe, making the iconic American truck part of its official range alongside the recently introduced Fiat Fullback.
There are also rumours of Nikola Motor Company, an American hybrid truck design company coming to European markets, and even Tesla Motors talking about truck projects. At present both speculations are unsubstantiated and, if true, will likely stretch beyond the year end.
Service Integration of Telemetry
Although it seems that 2017 will be more a year for some design “tinkering”, as one manufacturer described it, rather than the radical overhauls that we have become accustomed to, a large focus for all truck manufacturers will be on service levels and integrating new ‘connectivity’ technology.
Scania, for example, said that connectivity with the truck will begin to gather momentum as the market is populated with new model trucks and as operators realise the associated benefits.
Similarly, Mercedes-Benz predicts that its so-called ‘Uptime’ predictive maintenance system will take hold.
By facilitating forward planning regarding maintenance and reducing time spent in the workshop, vehicle off-road time can be minimised and driver hours better scheduled, resulting in strengthened manufacturer-operator partnerships.
Urban Distribution Innovations
It is anticipated that urban distribution safety and low noise options will also continue to be strong areas of focus, both by truck and trailer manufacturers in 2017.
By Laura Reeve
Blaze a trail with this SDC
Deal of the week is this SDC flatbed with BPW axles and drum brakes from 2016. The new 12 x 1.2m trailer includes posts and sockets as well as a 1.6m “L” headboard.
Vendor ATE Truck and Trailer sales, which has sites in Wolverhampton and Newmains, started in 1995 and became part of the Asset Alliance Group in 2011. Its offerings include a choice of similar trailers.
This article was published in the 15 December issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for just £12?