The rental market is perhaps one of the toughest applications for commercial vehicles to work in, come Friday afternoon, a queue of enthusiast but amateur DIY removalists form at rental yards all over the country.
Many will then be given the keys to a van or light truck with a manual transmission, which can be challenging for those not accustomed to piloting commercial vehicles.
This is a formula that Budget SA is looking to break, according to Commercial Manager - SA, David Barker. Budget’s buying policy is certainly leaning the way of full automatics as featured in the latest Iveco Daily van and cab chassis models.
Budget SA has just added eight new 12m³ Daily 35S vans to its South Australian rental fleet and all are equipped with Iveco’s market-leading Hi-Matic 8-speed full automatic transmission.
“Increasingly we’re getting a range of customers that are only confident in driving an automatic transmission. Those who are familiar with driving a manual might not do so regularly and inevitably it results in added wear and tear to the trucks and vans,” David said.
“The new Dailys replace earlier generation models with AMTs, which while an improvement on the manuals, were not as smooth or responsive as the full automatic in their power delivery.
“Across all our fleet which ranges from passenger cars through to 10 tonne trucks, there’s a move towards full automatics. As well as reducing maintenance costs on items such as clutches, the full auto allows the driver to have two hands on the steering wheel all the time – there are fewer distractions for them.”
The new Dailys will likely operate in a mixture of ad hoc and longer term rentals from six Budget outlets across metropolitan Adelaide, with occasional trips further afield.
In selecting the vehicles, Budget opted for Iveco’s smallest engine, the 2.3litre turbo-diesel unit producing 93 kW (126hp) and 320 Nm of torque from a low 1800 rpm. According to David, it’s ample output for the application.
“More often than not, the vans will not be filled all the way or will be handing volumetric type loads and not operating at full 3.8 tonne GVM,” he said.
“So for the operator there are fuel efficiency benefits and from our perspective as owners of the vans, there’s a greater likelihood that they won’t be overloaded or driven too fast.
“Sometimes we will have customers who are moving interstate and for them, the choice of taking a van such as the new Daily over a three tonne truck could potentially save them a couple of hundred dollars in fuel costs.”
Other features of the Daily vans that are particularly useful in the rental application are reversing cameras, satellite navigation and of course, cargo barriers. In anticipation for longer term rental courier work, David also specified two of the vans with left and right sliding doors for more efficient off street loading and unloading.
Along with the move to full automatics, another increasingly important consideration for rental customers, particularly for larger clients with evolving OH&S requirements, is safety.
The Daily performs very well in this area, boasting four airbags, front and rear disc brakes with ABS and ‘ESP9’, Iveco’s state-of-the-art safety package which includes Stability Control, Roll-Over Mitigation, Trailer Sway Mitigation, Hill Holder, Hydraulic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Rear Wheel Boost, Hydraulic fading compensation and Adaptive Load Control. ESP9 is a standard no cost inclusion across the Daily van and cab chassis range.
“A growing number of customers won’t take a vehicle unless it meets certain safety criteria as outlined in their OH&S policies, so the rental fleet needs to keep up with these requirements,” David said.
The new Dailys will remain on fleet for between three and five years and were purchased from Adelaide Iveco, a dealership with whom Budget enjoys a strong long-term relationship.