Company Van Today - Issue 8 - Winter 2018

For many in the automotive industry, 2018 was about one four-letter acronym – WLTP. Standing for ‘Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test’, the four letters ‘WLTP’ had a big impact on the car industry last year, and in 2019, it’s the van world’s turn. However, given the widely reported problems with the implementation of WLTP in the car world – including delays in vehicle orders, stock issues, poor communication and unsold cars – those in the van industry will be hoping lessons have been learned before the next deadline this September. These are the factors that will determine whether or not WLTP makes its way into the van industry smoothly or not. PRODUCT AVAILABILITY Some manufacturers had real issues getting cars tested in time for the deadline on September 1 last year, which led to dealers struggling to get stock and customers experiencing significantly extended lead times. Simon Cook, Arval’s LCV leader, said: “The biggest noise I heard was a big delay of Audis and VWs and getting them on to company car lists.” However, he didn’t feel that this would be so much of an issue for the van world. “The manufacturers will be more prepared,” he said. “I don’t think there will be an impact on the availability of product. My caveat is when there is a product launch that coincides with the deadline and they are working towards the new car being compliant – if there is any delay to the product launch then there might be a bit of a bleed over of delay because they were already delaying for the new model.” CONVERSION CLARITY Under WLTP, a manufacturer can no longer simply put a vehicle through a test and then send it out with lots of different aftermarket equipment on it. Larger alloys, heavy options and add-ons that affect aerodynamics will all result in a vehicle needing to be retested. Given the number of commercial vehicles that head out into the world with some form of conversion – be it a different body or weighty internal racking – there are potentially many more vehicles that will need to be tested. James Davis, customer strategy and insight director (commercial vehicles) at Cox Automotive UK says that there are many questions to be answered on this front. “A lot of vans are coming off the line ready to go with racking etc and that will have a different CO 2 rating from a standard van,” he says. “Do you get a different rating when you even put a lining in?” He also pointed out that it will impact the approach that used buyers take to sourcing stock. LCVs will be subject to the same emissions test changes this year as cars were in 2018 WLTP roll-out for cars was fraught with issues HOW THE VAN INDUSTRY CAN AVOID THE CAR WORLD’S WLTP MISTAKES COMPANY VAN TODAY.CO.UK 10