Renault Trucks UK has a long and successful track record of supplying commercial vehicles to British industry and offers a full range from 2.8 tonnes to 44 tonnes in the distribution, long haul and construction sectors.

As a strong player in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) space, it is well known for its Renault Trucks Master range and the strength of its dealer network, service support and HGV ethos. Renault Trucks is committed to continuous innovation and recently launched three important new additions to its pre-bodied LCV ‘Ready for Business’ range, including the Renault Trucks Master Optilogistics van, purpose-designed for the operational challenges of the parcel and logistics sector.

Warehouse & Logistics News spoke to Grahame Neagus, Renault Trucks’ Head of LCV.

Warehouse & Logistics News – First of all, Grahame, what does your role as Head of LCV involve?

I have overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the Renault Trucks’ Light Commercial Vehicle strategy from 2.8 to 6 tonnes, with a brief to grow our LCV penetration through our established UK and Irish dealer networks into key sectors aligned to our offering. My focus is to add innovation and value, and to communicate the compelling reasons for purchasing the Renault Trucks Master.

WLN – How long have you been in post?

I joined Renault Trucks on 1 February 2017, and hit the ground running! We’re bucking the UK sales trend with an increase in market share for the Renault Trucks Master – our truck ethos is helping to make the difference between us and our competitors, especially those from a car OE background.

WLN – What were you doing before that?

I have over 33 years’ industry experience in various senior roles within the truck and van OEM community, as well as setting up and running Europe’s largest Contract Hire LCV Division.

WLN – Before we talk about your LCV Strategy, please can you talk us through the current Renault Trucks LCV range?

Certainly, we start at 2.8 tonnes GVW and now go through to 6 tonnes GVW with vehicles offered in Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and fully selectable 4×4 too.

Our products come in 4 wheelbase lengths, 3 roof heights and a huge array of body styles including Van, Crew Van, Minibus, Chassis Cab and Platform Cab so there really is something for everyone. Traditionally the FWD Renault Trucks Master has been a great seller for us in Van and Platform cab derivatives, especially in the dry freight Logistics sector where clients really value the low entry height, fuel efficiency, emissions and low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the products.

2018 sees the launch of our new Renault Trucks Master FWD 6×2 6 tonne low deck chassis with bespoke body styles; this is a great alternative to the traditional 7.5 tonne truck and is already gaining traction with home delivery operators. It wins on TCO by a considerable margin whilst offering improved cargo loading and improved driver access & egress. The lower CO2 and NOx levels means the vehicle is much cleaner and still offers in excess of 3 tonnes payload with side load door access on a GRP Box body.

Grahame Neagus
Head of LCV

WLN – You recently launched three new additions to your prebodied LCV Ready for Business range. Can you tell us about those?

For us, our award-winning Ready for Business range is a unique and important aspect of our strategy where we are continually driving innovation in a fully compliant, business-focused, no hassle solution. From our Welfare Van, which provides a comfortable, legally compliant welfare environment for up to move up to seven operatives to and from site safely, to our new OptiTipper for the construction/tree surgeon market, we understand the operational requirements in each sector. However, most relevant to your readers is our OptiLogistics Van, purpose-designed for the operational challenges of the parcel and logistics sector. It minimises on-road risk for operatives and vulnerable road users on every shift, whilst maximizing the vehicles efficiency, productivity and profitability when in service.

WLN – Can you talk us through these Optilogistics features?

It’s designed around compliance and productivity, with our integrated VANTELLIGENCE telematics system that has an integrated on-board weighing system and Digital Alcolock system that prevents drink driving, while the speed limiter optimises driving style and fuel consumption. Safety in operation is paramount with a 360 degree safety camera system, walk through bulkhead for the driver, and rear-facing LED light system on all doors for cyclist and motorist safety. Reducing wear and tear is key, with ultra-hardwearing seat fabric and yellow Gripfast material in the footwell. It’s quite a list!

WLN – Do you offer any other LCVs with these options?

Yes we do. All the Optilogistics options I’ve mentioned are available on any MWB or LWB Renault Trucks Master panel van, and 90 percent will be available on the new electric Renault Trucks Master ZE.

WLN – Talking of electric vehicles, what is Renault Trucks offering in the LCV space, and beyond?

Electromobility is a key strategy for Renault Trucks and 2018 is a milestone year as we launch our first electric vehicle, the Renault Trucks Master ZE, in Van and Platform cab variants that carry in excess of one tonne, ideally suited to Urban and last mile deliveries. The Renault Trucks HGV electric range will launch in 2019: we are already trialling our Range D electric trucks at 13 and 16 tonnes with customer-partners in France including Nestle and the Delanchy Group, and other alternative fuel options are in development including a 26 tonne Range D wide which will run on compressed natural gas.

WLN – In a nutshell what is the Renault Trucks’ Light Commercial Vehicle strategy? Why choose Renault Trucks?

Our strategy is simple, we understand that we are in business to keep your business moving and by bringing our Renault Trucks HGV philosophy to the LCV market we can deliver solutions that are tailored around your business needs. We treat our Master as a ‘small truck not as a large van,’ and that makes the difference to service levels, with out of hours servicing, excellent parts availability and a team that maintains your vehicle to the highest standards throughout its working life.

WLN – Can you tell us a bit about your dealer network and how they work with the UK and Irish logistics industry?

We have 68 Renault Truck dealers across the UK and Ireland, each one carefully chosen for location and service credentials. As HGV dealers, we understand the business critical impact of downtime on operators and provide a service that’s 24/7 and 365 days a year to keep our customers’ vehicles on the road. Parts availability is paramount and we hold huge stocks centrally in the UK and at Dealer level to ensure that our first pick ratios are class leading. Large mixed fleets are seeing their HGVs maintained with these levels of service support and want the same for their LCVs, and we’re very happy to oblige.

WLN – To what extent do you work as a business partner with clients in the logistics sector?

Every client is a partner at Renault Trucks, and this starts long before the vehicle hits the road, with our professional sales teams that specify the right vehicle for the application, just as they would for a truck. Working with Renault Trucks’ product engineering team and our Approved bodybuilders, we can deliver a bespoke solution to exacting specifications.

WLN – What standard onboard comms technology do your vehicles come with?

The typical Renault Trucks Master comes with a variety of on board comms technology like Bluetooth, USB ports etc but like many, options are available to enhance these further if required, such as our recently launched VANTELLIGENCE system.

WLN – What do you see as the biggest factors impacting on demand for LCVs in the UK and Irish logistics sector? Where do you see your logistics sector offering going from here?

The Logistics sector is one that has grown hugely in recent years and I see no let-up in this demand in the short term which means there will be a continued push for both van and chassis / platform cabbed products. Where I do see a shift is in customer demand for ever safer, more efficient vehicles. All cities want to see reductions in emissions – particulates, NOx and NO2 – and our innovations, including low emission and zero-emission vehicles, will help improve air quality and reduce noise.

While fully-autonomous vehicles are a while off yet, technology will transform the sector through advanced telematics and virtual reality that will deliver faster cycle times, improved efficiencies and enhanced safety.

WLN – And finally what’s the best way for interested readers to find out more about Renault Trucks? Are you taking part in any industry exhibitions this year?

We are at a number this year including APSE in Scotland, Hillhead in Buxton, Freight in the City in London, as well as local shows up and down the UK, but the easiest way to find out more is to contact your local Renault Trucks dealer directly, or visit us at renault-trucks.co.uk