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VW hails CV market strength

Date: 18 April 2011

The strong start to the year in the commercial vehicle market provides a welcome contrast to the gloomy sales figures emerging from the high street, according to Simon Elliott, head of VW's UK van operation.Image

With van sales up 27% in the plate-change month of March to 44,000 and 31% ahead of 2010 over the first quarter, Elliott, talking to What Van? at the opening of the Commercial Vehicle Show on 12 April, urged the Government to make more noise about the recovery in commercial vehicle sales on a day when the British Retail Consortium's report of a sharp drop in retail sales grabbed the headlines.

"The CV market should be hallowed as the way to do things, it should be a barometer for growth," Elliott claimed.

He admitted there was some "aggression" in the market, driving up sales through discounting, which is a tactic VW shuns in order to protect residual values.

"We won't wash our dirty linen in public," said Elliott.

The big news on the VW stand was the long-awaited UK debut of the right-hand drive Amarok, which, with emissions of 199g CO2/km, is the first pick-up to break the sub-200g barrier, the manufacturer claims.

Elliott claimed demand for the Amarok in the UK was unprecedented and that the allocation of about 1000 units for the remainder of the year had practically sold out.

The brand is to launch a new Crafter in October 2011, which Elliott said would represent an opportunity for growth.

"It's a chance to grow volume in a sector where we have underperformed."

Also in the Autumn, the brand will introduce its BlueMotion eco technology to the Transporter.

VW signed up relatively late to the CV Show, which was announced during the recession, with pick-up sales in particular in a trough. Once the market showed signs of recovery however, it made a "big financial investment" in the event in order to showcase its range, which Elliott claims is the freshest in the market.

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