Thursday, 26 November 2009

Volkswagen Celebrate Transporter's 60th Birthday

Volkswagen are celebrating the birthday of their iconic Transporter van this month. The van, which is their biggest seller, was presented to the press by Heinrich Nordhoff 60 years ago. While it may not be the model one first thinks of when Volkswagen are mentioned but it has been consistently popular and the latest model will be available next year.

The Transporter is Volkswagen’s best-selling model in the UK and worldwide. Over one million of the current model have been sold since introduction in 2003, making a total of over 10 million since production started in March 1950.
The most sought after Transporter model is the T1 split-screen as shown in this previous post. The new model is expected to be available for sale in January of 2010 and will feature "a new range of common rail TDI engines offering lower emissions and improved economy by an average of ten per cent across the range".

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Do You Need To Own Your Entire Van Fleet?

An interesting idea for those operating large van fleets: do you need to own your entire fleet? Not that I would recommend you steal vans, but perhaps van hire could be an option. A recent post on Fleetnews suggested that some van fleets are larger than they need to be.

The idea is that a fleet size should be dynamic and able to react to different conditions. A busy few months? Rent some extra vans. Forced to reduce outgoing due to the recession? Keep your fleet size down to a minimum.

The article also suggested that this would keep down CO2 although this isn't necessarily the case unless you are actually operating all your vans all the time. The main benefits are more likely to be in keeping costs to a minimum by only using what you need when you need it.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Smart Car Rental Launched in Texas

Texas is not the sort of place you would associate with small city cars. It is the land of giant trucks with giant cow horns on the grill being driven by giant men in giant hats. It is also the home of oil barrens so being eco-friendly is perhaps not a big priority.

Perhaps I've got the wrong idea about Texas which is apparently the home to a new Smart Car rental program. The cars are rented out by the hour and can be hired at short notice. They cost 19 cents a minute or $73.40 per day.

The scheme is being run by Daimler who ran a similar project in Ulm, Germany last year. Originally the cars were only available to Mercedes-Benz (who own Smart) employees but it was made available to all inhabitants last March.

The scheme is expected to be expanded to many more cities over the next few years. Traditional car hire and van rental companies have also shown an interest in providing small cars at their urban locations. Eventually electric cars may become the vehicle of choice for those exploring a new city. London already has several electric car hire companies and more are expected to follow.

Lorry Driving Flash Game

I found this unusual lorry driving game and figured it would make a nice break from all the serious posts of late. Unlike most truck/van games this is all about parking rather than racing. It sounds easy but if you drive a van rather than a lorry you might find yourself jack-knifing it!

*Edit: the game wont embed so go here to play it*

Monday, 9 November 2009

Stolen VW Van Recovered After 35 Years

Customs officials in Long Beach where surprised to find a mint condition 1965 Volkswagen van in a container bound for the Netherlands last week. They were even more surprised when they found out that the van had been reported 1974.

The van was taken from an auto upholstery shop in Spokane, Washington state but was never recovered by the owner. All hope of finding the van had been abandoned and the owner's insurance company had paid out allowing him to pursue other vans for sale.

The insurance company Allstate are now the proud owners of a classic VW camper van.

"Allstate paid her $2,500 or so to settle the claim," he said. "Now it's worth $25,000. . . . It's in pristine condition. It looks like it's brand new. So Allstate wanted it."
The man transporting the van had bought it in good faith and had no idea that it had once been stolen.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Vans: Not Just for Van Drivers

A recent survey by commercial vehicles manufacturer Vauxhall has found that more drivers than ever are happy to get behind the wheel of a van. 81% of those questioned who had taken advantage of van rental 'believed driver safety had been well-catered for'. 90% were happy with the level of comfort provided.

"It's really pleasing to see that attitudes about vans are changing, we've always been committed to enhancing the performance, comfort and the safety of our vehicles."

It is not clear from the press release if people's expectations had been exceeded but the results are certainly positive. Van usage seems to have crossed over to the point where those who have not previously driven a light commercial vehicle are willing to give it a try. Van rental seems to be an increasingly popular alternative to hiring a van plus driver.

Removal companies are presumably not happy about the increase in people hiring vans to transport their belongings. There is money to be saved however and in a difficult economy that means a lot.

Perhaps this is due to an increase in comfort and safety levels for commercial vehicles or perhaps it is just because more people have tried driving a van now. apparently 40% of drivers have now driven a van. We will be a nation of white van drivers before too long!