The UK’s new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market fell by -22.2 per cent in November, with 24,352 of the latest vans joining Britain’s roads, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). While the scale of the decline is artificially inflated in comparison with last year, which saw the best November performance in history, the total is the lowest recorded for the month since 2013, and is some -13.9 per cent below the pre-pandemic five-year average.
The UK’s new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market fell by -18.4 per cent in October, with 22,386 of the latest vans joining Britain’s roads. Despite robust demand, registrations were at the lowest level for October since 2012, and some -16.5 per cent below the pre-pandemic five-year average, as supply shortages continue to restrict global production and availability.
Fleets are racking up additional running costs though drivers running vehicles with tyres that are underinflated. According to ATS Euromaster, 12 per cent of the vans and cars it sees under its fleet Mastercare programme feature tyres that are below pressure. The results, says the national tyre and maintenance provider, will be to inflate running costs by between 3-10 per cent depending on the degree of under-inflation.
Bridgestone has launched the new Duravis Van tyre, a premium summer tyre for light commercial vehicles (LCV). The manufacturer says the tyre has been designed to minimise the total cost of ownership to van fleet operators. The tyre is also suitable for fitment on electric vehicles. TÜV SÜD testing shows the tyre offers “best in class” mileage and braking in wet and dry conditions, Bridgestone adds. The tyre was developed at the European R&D Centre and will be available in 26 sizes from January 2023.
Following previous original equipment tyre deals with Volkswagen, Giti Tire has secured further OE fitment sizes on the award-winning VW Crafter. The manufacturer’s GitiVanHD1 is now specified in 235/65 R16 C115/113R and 205/75 R16 C113/111R for new Crafters coming off production lines. Giti’s first partnership on the VW van began in April 2020, with the 205/70R17 C115/113R. It was the Giti brand’s first European light commercial vehicle OE contract.
In September, Stapleton’s Tyre Services became the exclusive Great Britain distributor of Triangle passenger car and van tyres. The deal, which has been in the making for the last couple of years, will build on the strengthening relationship between Triangle Tyre and the UK’s largest tyre wholesaler. It was finalised after comprehensive testing of the Triangle range by Stapleton’s and its ultimate parent company Itochu. In recent years, the company has become the largest distributor of Triangle products in Europe. Stapleton’s states that Triangle is a “strong strategic fit in the economy segment” of its portfolio. It will make the brand available to “all customers in every channel.” Unveiling the deal, Stapleton’s hosted key dealer customers and European representatives of Triangle at PalmerSport at the Bedford Autodrome. Tyres & Accessories also attended the event, taking the opportunity to speak to Stapleton’s managing director Andy Fern, who took the reigns in the first quarter of 2020 just before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted business as usual, about the new deal and the evolution of the Stapleton’s business under his leadership.
The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by 10.8 per cent to 34,950 units in September – a popular month due to the plate change. Despite strong order books throughout 2022, September is the first month of growth in registrations this year, as supply disruptions have restricted model availability. The SMMT warned that this performance is artificially inflated versus 2021; this September remains -35.5 per cent below the five-year pre-pandemic average.
Hankook’s comprehensive range of winter and all-season car and van tyres have been scooping up plenty of awards and recommendations over the past few years. This has been reflected in commendations for both the Kinergy 4S and 4S2 all-season models by Tyres & Accessories’ sister independent tyre comparison website WhatTyre, which considers tyres’ performance in a range of quality tyre tests, original equipment fitments, and several other metrics. In addition to the Kinergy 4S2, the manufacturer’s core all-season range includes the Vantra ST AS 2 for vans, and the Kinergy 4S2 X for SUVs, while its winter collection, including the Winter i*cept evo 3, Winter i*cept evo 3 X, Winter i*cept LV, and Winter i*cept RS 2 has also received its share of plaudits.
Continental has launched the Matador Hectorra Van, and this successor to the MPS330 Maxilla 2 is distributed exclusively through Stapleton’s (Tyre Services) Ltd. retailers. Nine popular UK sizes are available.
Kumho has launched a new winter tyre for the medium to large car and SUV market, the Wintercraft WP52. The new tyre follows the introduction of a new all-season van tyre from the Korean manufacturer, the PorTran 4S CX11, which added features from the lauded Solus 4S HA32 all-season car tyre to its existing winter van range. Kumho has established itself as a tyre supplier to Europe’s biggest winter tyre markets in the Nordic and Central Europe regions with a comprehensive range of well-regarded products, and is strengthening its position in the region’s growing all-season market.
Arguably best known in the UK through its agricultural range, Ceat also produces a full line of passenger and commercial tyres. The well-known Indian brand is now offering a comprehensive range in Europe and the UK, including products developed with the assistance of the CEAT European Technical Centre (CETC) in Germany. We will look at the truck range at a later date, and here focus on the eight lines Ceat is offering for the passenger vehicle and light commercial segments.
Whether a van is powered by internal combustion or electricity, the demands placed on its tyres remain consistent. Therefore rather than developing specific electric light commercial tyres, Falken is improving the efficiency and durability of its van tyres to enable its range to support ongoing ICE vehicle utilisation and the transition to electric-powered models alike. Andreas Giese, senior manager, corporate and product planning, Falken Tyre Europe answered Tyres & Accessories’ questions about tyres and the electrification of the fleet.
Tradition-rich tyre brand with an American heritage, General Tire is extending its range of tyres suitable for light commercial on and off-road use. Vans are used in a variety of scenarios and terrains, General says, which is why it is important to choose the right tyre for the job. Leading the brand’s range for this segment in the newly introduced size 235/65R16C 121/119R Grabber AT3, which it calls “the first true all-terrain tyre available for vans.” General Tire 4×4 tyres are available exclusively through Micheldever Tyre Services in the UK.
Whether you drive a single van, or manage a whole fleet, having the correct tyres is essential for ensuring safety and performance. Tyre manufacturer Hankook acknowledges that the tyres fitted to UK vans need to be able to cope with the additional weight and withstand the strain of stop-start urban trips as well as longer journeys. Its portfolio for the van and light truck category includes the Vantra LT, an energy efficient, safe and exceptionally durable summer tyre and the Vantra ST AS 2, the most recent addition to the range, a durable, multi-performance, all-season tyre.
SD-International’s private Zeta brand offers a comprehensive range of van tyres in the UK and European tyre market sectors. Its four patterns targeting the segment are the ZTR18, ZTR08, Active Power 4S and Antartica 8.