Europcar adds 100 Berlingo vans to fleet

Van hire specialist Europcar has announced the addition of more than 100 Citroen New Berlingo Van models to its UK fleet.

The operator will soon take on 100 standard Berlingo van models in full Enterprise trim, as well as a number of Berlingo Electric vans in the months ahead. It is a move designed to prepare the fleet for the introduction of London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone next month.

A good deal for both parties

“Features in the New Berlingo Van, such as air-con and cruise control, can make driving a much more pleasant experience,” commented Stuart Russell, director of commercial vehicles at Europcar Mobility Group UK.

In addition, the models feature a speed limiter, automatic electronic parking brake, one-touch electric windows, heated and electrically-operated folding door mirrors, front fog lights with cornering function and tyre pressure monitoring as standard.

They also feature a folding passenger bench seat (with pivoting writing table) and a load-through bulkhead. However, Mr Russell went on to state the aspect of the new Berlingo that will potentially be of most benefit to users is the addition of a rear parking sensor.

He explained: “They don’t cost businesses any extra and can save hundreds of pounds a year, giving drivers a level of safety and security above and beyond what they’re used to.”

The Berlingo was recently named the 2019 International Van of the Year at the IAA Hanover CV Show. It also picked up the Light Commercial Vehicle of the Year and Light Van of the Year titles at the 2019 What Van? Awards.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “It’s great to see the Berlingo continue to achieve wide recognition for its versatility within the UK fleet space. Adding more than 100 vehicles to the Europcar fleet is a real coup for the manufacturer.”

Volvo unveils ‘dynamic’ new S60 saloon R-Design Edition

Volvo has announced the latest new model to be released as part of its major range overhaul – the third-generation S60 saloon R-Design Edition.

A premium mid-size saloon model, the new R-Design addition is described as being “generously equipped”.

Sporty and refined in equal measure

Developed to buck the trend of traditional thinking in design, this latest iteration is powered by Volvo’s 250hp T5 turbo petrol engine and is sportier than its predecessor.

It couples this with the marque’s eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, to ensure “responsive and efficient performance”.

Meanwhile, premium features of the model include a driver’s head-up display, rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, heated steering wheel and a 600W 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system.

Outside, the conservative lines of the S60 highlight the manufacturer’s aim of creating an uncluttered and refined aesthetic that will appeal to a wide range of road users.

Jon Wakefield, Volvo Car UK managing director, said: “Focusing on our brand strengths of design, technology and safety, we are confident the S60 has the potential to perform strongly in what is traditionally a very competitive market segment.”

He added the success of the manufacturer’s mid-size range – most notably its V60 estate and XC60 SUV – means there is growing appetite for updated models, like the S60, in the UK.

The new Volvo S60 will cost £37,920 OTR and will be available for UK buyers from May.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The new S60 R-Design Edition is sure to prove popular with fleet managers across the UK. It’s utilitarian design and high-end finish make it a top choice for many fleets.”

Mitsubishi ‘gets creative’ in the Truck King Battle

Mitsubishi Motors has presented an opportunity to its UK dealerships to “get creative” and customise a version of the Mitsubishi Series 5 L200 pick-up.

Named the ‘Truck King Battle’, staff at the brand’s dealer network have been drafting designs to capture the imagination of buyers, and five winning finalists have now been chosen.

Professional touch for the winning entries

The five finalists have seen their creations given a professional once over, with the resulting drawings posted on Mitsubishi’s social media channels.

Members of the public will now have the opportunity to vote for an eventual winner. It will be decided by the post receiving the strongest levels of engagement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Rob Lindley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said: “The diverse and adaptable nature of the Mitsubishi L200 has meant the dealer’s entries for the ‘Truck King Battle’ have been very wide-ranging and we look forward to seeing which one gets the most engagement.”

The winning design will be created by the manufacturer as one-off bespoke model and will be presented to the assembled crowds of this year’s Commercial Vehicle (CV) Show in Birmingham at the end of April.

A key aim of the ‘battle’ is to highlight the significant possibilities for customisation and individualisation that Mitsubishi offers to its customers in all of its models.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The competition is an exciting way to create a buzz around the Mitsubishi brand. We can’t wait to see the winning design at the upcoming CV Show.”

Automakers call for ‘rapid adoption’ of European safety legislation

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for governments and policymakers to take heed of incoming changes to European vehicle safety regulations.

An update to the European Union’s General Safety Regulation will be voted on in Brussels on Thursday (February 21st).

New technologies need policy support

Changes to existing safety regulations are set to include a provision that all new vehicles incorporate some form of autonomous emergency braking system. Moreover, the introduction of new ways to monitor driver drowsiness and attention to the road are also to be included.

As a result, the ACEA believes policymakers across Europe must bring to bear their own powers to support these new innovations moving forward. Doing so, the body argues, will help to save countless lives in the coming years.

ACEA secretary general Erik Jonnaert stated: “While we believe in the huge potential of vehicle safety technology, by itself it will never suffice.

“We are therefore calling on policymakers to adopt a truly integrated approach to road safety; combining new vehicle technology with better road infrastructure and safer driver behaviour.”

Mr Jonnaert added that a focus on technologies in vehicle safety which have the potential to provide the greatest impact on fatality statistics is essential. For this reason, the design of cars, roads and all supporting infrastructure should come under scrutiny for areas of possible improvement.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Vehicle safety should always be a top priority for manufacturers, motorists and governments alike. Supporting the use of new technologies in this area should therefore be a simple sell to policymakers.”

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Young drivers call for driving lessons at school

The number of young people learning to drive has been falling, but nearly half of those who pass their tests believe it is so important that it should be taught at school.

A survey by the Young Driver driving school quizzed 1,000 motorists under the age of 25 on the question of how important driving is to them, and found 44 per cent believe it should be on the curriculum; even though some people will leave school before they are old enough to qualify.

The poll also found 39 per cent believe not being able to drive would close doors for them.

By contrast, the number of young people learning to drive has dropped by 20 per cent in the last decade.

This may suggest there is a contrast between those who may be motivated by factors such as environmental issues and easy access to public transport – particularly with the growth of city centre living – and those who may drive as part of their jobs, such as fleet drivers.

Others may see driving as a necessity because they live in areas poorly served by public transport.

Young Driver found that 19 per cent could not do their current job if they were unable to drive; the equivalent of 6.25 million people.

Marketing manager at Young Driver Laura White said: “Driving is a useful skill, which can open up a world of opportunities which might otherwise be impossible. But even beyond that, it also has the ability to give people a sense of freedom and confidence. Sixty five per cent of the drivers we questioned said they enjoyed the feeling of freedom driving gave them, and our research also showed it gave people self-confidence they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Indeed, she added, lessons with children as young as ten have shown that they can gain considerable confidence from learning how to handle the controls of a car.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Many young people don’t fully realise the benefits of being able to drive, not least for work.”
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