By Richard Irvine-Brown, Peter Johnstone, Grant Collinson

A weekly round-up of UK and European fleet stories, including bad weather over German fleet, the BVRLA raining on the EV parade and temperature control from Burnt Tree.

Heavy drop in German fleet market

Fleet registrations fell again in Germany during August, with cars down by 11% month-on-month to 44,608 and sub-seven-tonne vans down by 10% to 9,216 registrations, according to German vehicle information provider Dataforce.

In part, Dataforce attributed the decline to an abnormal hailstorm in Wolfsburg which damaged 28,000 vehicles belonging to the Volkswagen Group (which holds a 25% share of the German fleet market).

August saw a total of 15,493 commercial vehicle registrations for the month, a drop of 5.7% compared to July.

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Volvo global truck deliveries up

Volvo delivered 9,959 trucks worldwide in July 2013, up 20% compared to the same period last year.

The company delivered 3,878 vehicles in Europe, a 26% year-on-year rise, and 2,270 vehicles in Latin America, a 59% rise, but July deliveries fell 1% year-on-year in North America to 2,350.

The company showcased its five "most modern and innovative" models together for the first time at the Comtrans Exhibition in Moscow.
The Volvo FH, Volvo FM, Volvo FMX, Volvo FE and Volvo FL include improved suspension and the FH, FM and FMX models also have Dynamic Steering, while the I-See technology can save operators up to 5% in fuel, while Volvo will also offer telematics to monitor wear and component condition.


Renault and Bolloré to cooperate over EV sharing

Renault has signed a letter of intent with investment group Bolloré to study the joint development of car sharing and cooperation regarding electric vehicles (EVs).

The two groups will examine the prospects of a joint venture to develop EV sharing services, following the implementation of Bolloré’s Autolib’, Bluely and Bluecub schemes in Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux respectively, and the launch of its four-seater Bluecar EV, with a convertible model due for launch in June.

They will examine the possibility of moving some production to Renault’s Dieppe plant, and the supply of parts and components, as well as possible Renault support for the development and production of a three-seater EV for Bolloré.

The letter of intent was signed in the same week that Renault recorded the 10,000th registration of its Kangoo Van ZE small electric van, which will join Deutsche Bahn’s maintenance fleet.


Government’s plug-in plans not working – BVRLA

The British Vehicle Leasing & Rental Association (BVRLA) has said the latest registration figures for plug-in vehicles in the UK prove the government’s ultra-low emission incentive scheme is "failing".

Data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) showed registrations of plug-in-grant eligible cars grew by 14% in the first half of 2013 compared to the previous six months while the overall new car market grew 17% over the same period.

Furthermore, the total of 119 registrations of plug-in grant eligible vans in the six months to 30 June 2013 was down by 27% compared to the previous half-year.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of BVRLA, said: "These figures show that the current strategy for driving uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is not working."

Keaney highlighted the fleet market is responsible for more than half of all new vehicles registered each year and, with the right incentives, could create a surge in plug-in vehicle demand but added the current tax regime "actually encourages many fleets not to run plug-in vehicles".

Keaney previously expressed disappointment the role of the rental and leasing sector was not more clearly stressed in the ultra-low emission vehicle strategy published by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).


Burnt Tree begins specialist rental

Independent UK vehicle rental company Burnt Tree will launch a specialist rental division for refrigerated vans this month, and has appointed Neil Murphy as its general manager.

Called Refrigerental, the division will supply temperature-controlled, 63-plate commercial vehicles ranging from car-derived models to 26-tonne rigid trucks.

The vehicles will be available from any of Burnt Tree’s 19 UK physical sites or the company’s website dedicated to the Refrigerental brand.


Tusker appoints first CCO

Iain Carmichael has joined UK contract hire and salary sacrifice firm Tusker as chief commercial officer, reporting to David Hosking, chief executive of the company.

Carmichael, who joined from Audi UK where he was fleet sales director, is Tusker’s first chief commercial officer and is charged with ensuring the firm meets its growth targets.

Carmichael described Tusker as "much more than a traditional contract hire and leasing company" and said he plans to build on its success in offering salary sacrifice to both public and private sector firms.