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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A quick round up for anyone interested in the British Commercial vehicle market - Sourced from the latest industry magazines.

(Anyone who follows the fortunes of of the last dregs of our once indominatable truck industry should click away from this thread right now).


The last ever Foden has been produced. Apparently it was an 8x4 tipper chassis which went to an unnamed operator who has stockpiled several for future use, so there is a prospect of seeing a few registered on later plates. However DAF have not come out of it with the result they wanted, even after introducing comparable DAF models - One of the longest established truck dealers in the UK - Foden dealers Pelican Engineering in Yorks who satrted selling steam powered Fodens - have switched to Japanese designed (and Irish built for this corner of the world) Hino. Part of Toyota, they have already sold 300+ units this year, only 30 short of what they did the whole of last year here. Just about all their customers have stuck with this dealer. Interestingly, the last time such private stockpiling occured was when Volvo announced the closure of Leyland Bus, and Many Lynx integrals were ordered and stored by bus operators for future use.

MAN, however, are clearly having their way with ERF.
Only 15 years ago, they (ERF) were the runaway UK market leader, now they have sold just 75 - yes, seventy-five - units this year, it seems that dropping the Cummins engine options, and one of the MAN execs. going OTR admitting that the ECX is just a rebadged MAN TGA is working well in their obvious ultimate aim of dropping the marque. ERF rigid models have been dropped, and the order book is now closed on all other ERF trucks bar the 6x4tractors. Many commentators are now just awaiting the final announcement that ERF will be dumped and the remains of Middlewich sold, expected before the leaves are off the trees.

Another sad one is DennisFire.

Was it really only 4 years ago that this company had over 55% market share?
I'm afraid so, and so far this year they have sold........................................ Take a deep breath......................2.
This has forced Guildford to look at bodying other chassis, mainly Scania, who now enjoy the same sales that Dennis enjoyed just that short time ago.
This means that now just about all UK fire appliances are now imported.
DennisEagle continue to do steady business in their particular niche with the Elite III chassis (173 registered this year) plus a few exports.

Volvo, MAN, Mercedes, IVECO, Renault, DAF & Scania all continue to enjoy continued, and in some cases spectacular, growth in the UK market.
 

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without Interloper to tell us, I don't think we'd know about this. There won't be enough vehicle engineering skill left in the UK soon even to attract any foreign investment like Nissan, Honda or Toyota... :(
 

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well i'm really off about this, because after my degree course i wanted to get into the truck business rather than the car business. now it looks like hardly any of it is happening here anymore, with the sole exception of Leyland Trucks, and even their product is badged as DAF.

Does anyone know what is happening with Seddon Atkinson? although they are part of the Iveco group, are they still produced in Oldham?

cheers, Dave
 

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Devonshire Dave said:
well i'm really off about this, because after my degree course i wanted to get into the truck business rather than the car business. now it looks like hardly any of it is happening here anymore, with the sole exception of Leyland Trucks, and even their product is badged as DAF.

Does anyone know what is happening with Seddon Atkinson? although they are part of the Iveco group, are they still produced in Oldham?

cheers, Dave
Oldham shut in 2000. Some SediAtki's are made by Iveco in Madrid.
 

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Thanks Interloper, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

What is the deal with Dennis Fire? I understand they are only bodybuilders, so who produces the Dennis Sabre and Dagger chassis? Is that Alexander Dennis?
 

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Devonshire Dave said:
well i'm really off about this, because after my degree course i wanted to get into the truck business rather than the car business. now it looks like hardly any of it is happening here anymore, with the sole exception of Leyland Trucks, and even their product is badged as DAF.
Dave, I think Leyland is just an assembly plant -- as Interloper pointed out in another thread, the cabs come from Renault in France. I guess much of the rest is shipped in from DAF's plant in Holland.
 

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Very depressing news, and to think that just 30 years ago, the UK had by far the largest truck industry in Europe - now totally gone.

Bedford - closed by GM in 1986
Leyland - sold to Daf mid 1980's (I think) now just an assembly plant for DAF (part of Paccar)

Seddon Atkinson - sold to Iveco & closed
Foden - bought by Paccar - plant closed
Guy - closed as part of the late 1970's BL rationalisation
Dodge - bought by Renault & closed
ERF - bought by MAN & closed
Ford - sold to IVECO and Langley plant closed mid 1990's
Scammell - Tolpits lane plant closed as part of the BL rationalisation plan
Bristol - closed as part of the 1970's BL rationalisation plan
Leyland National - sold to Volvo and closed

And my own personal favourite - AEC - designers of the Routemaster and RT buses - closed in 1979 as part of the BL rationalisation plan.


I think these are all the main players - I'm sure if i've omitted any I'll be corrected!

Back in the 1970's Bedford and Leyland were amoungst the largest volume truck manufacturers in the world - huge UK export earners and suppliers to the MOD.

Now all gone and we're entirely reliant on imports - another example of Britian's industrial collapse

i've just retuned from 2 weeks in India & it was nice to see so many Ashok Leylands of various vintages. Ashok have a plant near Chennai, the Leyland "flying wheel" still adorns trucks and buses in India.

Most Indian trucks were either Ashok Leylands or Tata, with a few Eichers at the lower end of the weight scale. All manufactured in India.

How things have changed !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hongkong said:
What is the deal with Dennis Fire? I understand they are only bodybuilders, so who produces the Dennis Sabre and Dagger chassis? Is that Alexander Dennis?
DennisFire - Share the same factory as AlexanderDennis (Buses) in Guildford. Sabre/Dagger are built there, along with the bodies, but sales have collapsed, mainly due to Scania's massive sales push to local authorities.

DennisEagle (Elite III) in Warwick are a seperate company.
 

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Adrian Menzies said:
Very depressing news, and to think that just 30 years ago, the UK had by far the largest truck industry in Europe - now totally gone.


Most Indian trucks were either Ashok Leylands or Tata, with a few Eichers at the lower end of the weight scale. All manufactured in India.

How things have changed !!!
When I went to India, I also noticed Lucas is still arive with old logo, as TVS-Lucas.

As a fan of British Engineering, it is very depressing to hear these info.
 

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Nothing new really here, the Foden news was reported a few months ago in Motor Transport.
Expect to see more Hino vehicles around, as they have been in talks and signed up a few of the old dealers to sell the new trucks.
Thing is really with the CF cab being used and Paccar engines (all the same group of companes) why keep the Foden badge? thats all it is really now :(
Is it a daf, no if buts or why's! something which when i read my "British commercial vehicles since 1900" book, it sadens me especially as the likes of ERF, Foden, Guy etc... have been dissolved into the archives.

Although not British, Daf actually went bankrupt in 1993, and was brought out by a consortium, as well as leyland trucks, and both were bought by paccar in both 1996 and leyland trucks in 1998.

ERF is being got rid of really due to the problems that were revolved around the take over with the managing directors being on the take from the company and MAN put a stop to it. All going therough the courts still...

(if anyone knows of a Guy Warrior rotting in a scrap yard or field let me know ;) )#

Just to add as well, the new multi million pound M.O.D updating of heavy vehicles is being supplied by M.A.N over a period of 5 years or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Stu C said:
(if anyone knows of a Guy Warrior rotting in a scrap yard or field let me know ;) )#
I can find you a Big J4T 4x2 (Ex tanker) in Cheshire. Rolls-Royce Eagle engine as well, IIRC.

Stu C said:
Just to add as well, the new multi million pound M.O.D updating of heavy vehicles is being supplied by M.A.N over a period of 5 years or so
'Great news for British Industry' said the press release from the MOD.

Altogether now......."Engerland, Engerland"
 

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I often get to deliver new vehicles from warwick to customers around the Uk.The refuse chassis that Dennis make is pretty old fashioned and the ride is dreadful.Compare that to the Mercedes Econic refuse and it is a world apart i am sorry to say.On the subject of Hino,there 8x4 chassis is not a patch on the Foden.The cabs are pretty cramped for the average euro driver.The Leyland factory is just a satellite plant for Daf these days.I went on a visit in the early 90,s and it made you proud to be British.They had just won an export order for Comet chassis and had started making the Roadtrain 350 for export.The whole place was buzzing.Paccar should bring back the Leyland badge as it still means a great deal in the third world.
 

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fevsisere said:
Paccar should bring back the Leyland badge as it still means a great deal in the third world.
I agree. The Leyland badge was never tarnished for buses or trucks. Maybe Paccar are afraid of being associated with BL, but I don't think that would be the case.
 

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Interloper said:
DennisFire - Share the same factory as AlexanderDennis (Buses) in Guildford. Sabre/Dagger are built there, along with the bodies, but sales have collapsed, mainly due to Scania's massive sales push to local authorities.
I hope it's just cyclical. Dennis Fire are still exporting, I guess.

It amazes me that even a tiny country like Sweden has two volume heavy-vehicle makers (Volvo and Scania) and we have nothing.
 

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Personally I dont think we should slag off Paccar to much at least they still have a plant here and employ i believe around 900 people. It also used to be the design and development centre for the smaller trucks that are mainly built at leyland although whether that still applies I dont know.

I believe until Paccar tuck over, the British built DAF's for the UK market used to be branded Leyland Daf pitty thats still not the case.

The Loss of the Foden brand is a pitty but at the end of the day it was only a badge engineered DAF, I belive its been suggested that the Foden brand has been dropped due to poor sales, and some of the Foden dealers may well think they can compete better with a different brand even if it is foreign rather than trying to compete with existing DAF dealers, although unfortunatly for Paccar I guess it could mean a loss off sales.
 

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It amazes me that even a tiny country like Sweden has two volume heavy-vehicle makers (Volvo and Scania) and we have nothing.Over the years Volvo and Scania have consistantly invested heavily in product development - they are also very integrated making their own engines instead of relying on external suppliers (as Leyland Trucks were back in the 1970's)

They have hugh export businesses - Volvo for example has a growing market share in the US truck market. They are also entirely focussed on trucks (although Volvo does have Volvo Penta their marine division) with Volvo and Saab automotive having been sold to Ford & GM respectively. So they do not now have the capital hungary distraction of making cars - something that was the death knell of both Leyland and Bedford Trucks in the UK, where profits from the truck divisions were always being syphoned off to prop up loss making car operations.

Sweden has a much more succesful engineering sector than the UK relative to its population size. As well as Scania and Volvo, there is SKF the world's no1 bearing manufacturer, Electrolux consumer products, many successful specialist machine tool manufacturers, and of course ABB, one of the worlds largest electrical engineering conglomerates.

Quite why this is the case I'm not sure - maybe its becuase the Swedish take a much longer term view of business than the British, who won't invest unless a quick return can be made.
 

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The Leyland plant makes the DAF LF and CF chassis and used to make the FODEN chassis to.The Foden line was closed because they where not selling enough and they needed the space for more DAF chassis because they could,nt build enough.The LF still uses the chassis from the Roadrunner but with updates such as disk brakes all round.Leyland were producing there own engines in the seventies right up to 1986.They had the TL12,TL11,400and the troublesome 500 headless wonder.The early 680 series was licenced to Scania for its own 11.1 litre engine back in the 60,s along with DAF.It is quite depressing thinking about what this Truck+Bus company was and what we have today.
 
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