Competitive market shapes vehicle development

In the highly active RCV market the big prizes offered by public and private sectors buyers to chassis and body builders, plus lifting equipment and accessory suppliers, continue to stimulate innovation and improvements across the board as LAWE reports in the latest of the Tracking Trends series. Change is also the name of the game on the manufacturing front with major companies coming under new ownership or relocating production in response to increasing competition.

Seddon Atkinson, one of the leading marques in the municipal chassis sector,

has been making the news on two fronts which reflect current conditions in the

RCV market: the company is transferring production from the UK to Madrid while

maintaining its flow of orders with major business such as the recent delivery

of 22 new Pacer RCVs to Leeds City Council. That order increased Seddon Atkinson’s

representation in the council’s domestic refuse fleet to over 95%, the company


The group says the change is part of a Europe-wide review of Iveco Group manufacturing

operations and should stem losses at the UK company. Production will move to

the Iveco plant in Spain and engineering work will be conducted at the Iveco

Engineering Centres in Ulm, Germany and Turin, Italy.

The company says that the decision should be seen “against the backdrop

of overcapacity in the entire industry – a situation which is predicted to continue

for at least the next year.”

Iveco underlines that it is “anxious to ensure that Seddon Atkinson retains

its market leading status in the refuse collection market in Britain and believes

that the move will allow the company to strengthen its already string brand


The 22 vehicles delivered to Leeds are evidence of the strength of the brand.

The RCVs are built on the 26 tonne Pacer 6×4 chassis, with a six-man crew cab

and a mixture of bodies, manufactured by Dennis Eagle, Faun and Semat. Terberg

and Otto have supplied the wheeled bin lifting equipment.

“Seddon Atkinson won the order for these new 26 tonners because of its

ability to supply a proven municipal chassis, backed by the after sales support

of its local dealer, Knottingley Trucks,” said Carl Snowden, Manager Fleet

Services for Leeds City Council.

Each Pacer 6×4 is powered by the Cummins 8.3 litre, ISC.260bhp Euro 3 engine,

which is capable of producing up to 260hp at 2,200rpm and a maximum torque of

1,060Nm between 1,200 and 1,600rpm.

North of the Border, the Highlands Council has taken delivery of five new Seddon

Pacer RCVs to operate on the Isle of Skye, with a further three on order to

serve mainland locations. The initial delivery of five vehicles comprised Pacer

4×2 and 6×2 midlift chassis, plated at 18 and 23 tonnes, respectively, and equipped

with Farid refuse bodies. Also on order are a further three Pacer chassis made

up of one 18 tonne 4×2 and two 26 tonne 6x2s, each fitted with crew cabs and

Heil refuse collection bodies. These vehicles will be located in Inverness,

Caithness and Fort William.

The truck chassis manufacturer also displayed a wide range of municipal vehicles

at IWM Torbay 2002 . In addition to RCVs Seddon Atkinson showed a tipper, a

cess pool tanker, hook lift and multi-functional highways maintenance truck.

New design wins sales

Also notching up new business in both the private and public sectors is Dennis

Eagle which reports “unprecedented demand” for its Phoenix 2 which

was launched in September last year.

The company’s Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Norman Thoday, states

that Phoenix 2 accounts for nearly half of current body production, rather than

the one third at this point of time predicted last year.

The new generation of RCV bodywork in the shape of Phoenix 2 is proving particularly

popular in Ireland, where the company’s distributor, Manvik Plant has taken

delivery of 26 Phoenix 2 bodies, 21 of which have been supplied with Dennis

Eagle Euro 3 Elite chassis.

Operators already using the Phoenix 2 are Dublin City Council which operates

55 Dennis Eagle vehicles through Manvik Plant. Cork Corporation, Oxigen Environmental,

Thornton’s Recycling, the County Councils of Cork and Waterford, the District

Councils of Fermanagh, Strabane, Cookstown and Magherafelt fit, and Castlereagh

and Coleraine Borough Councils also have the new vehicles.

Dennis Eagle is also set to launch Phoenix 2 body additional narrow vehicle

concepts later this year and will introduce further improvements to the Elite

cab and chassis.

The company is also setting its sights on expanding into Europe by establishing

an operation in France. Details are due to be announced soon when Dennis Eagle

France will be launched on the back of the Phoenix 2 body based on the Elite

4×2 with the Cummins Euro 3 275 ISBe engine and Allison MD3060 World Series


Logistics deal

In another initiative Dennis Eagle has awarded its aftermarket logistics parts

contract to Lex Auto Logistics, the UK market leader in the automotive aftermarket


The 10-year contract, stated to be the first of its kind within the RCV industry,

sees responsibility for Dennis Eagle’s logistics parts operation transferred

to Lex Auto Logistics based in Chorley, Lancashire. Under the agreement, however,

in recognition of the close working relationship Dennis Eagle has with its customer

base, direct contact with them will remain the RCV company’s responsibility.

Dennis Eagle Chief Executive, Mike Molesworth, says the company “will be

able to significantly enhance our service support offering to our customer base.”

Another part of the Lex Service group, Lex Transfleet, has announced a major

contract which underlines the increasingly significant role played by the major

vehicle and plant management service providers in the municipal market.

Dumfries and Galloway Council, serving the third largest council area in Scotland,

has awarded Lex Transfleet a renewal to its contract to supply 280 vehicles

and plant machinery for refuse collection, building and maintenance, grounds

maintenance and property services. The contract will run for seven years, with

an additional three-year option.

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