Sunday 22 April 2012

Road - Sign of the Times

Just the job for an overnighting Transit driver
Well, that was a first. I’ve been running a Transit for 7 years and that was the first 100 quid fill-up. The occasion was the annual visit to the CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham, and the tank was nearly empty. A graphic illustration of the current extortionate price of fuel. Nine years ago in 2003, a full tank fill up was 50 quid. The price has doubled in less than 10 years.

At least I’ve saved money on the overnight accommodation. Having joined the Best Western Rewards club I used it last week for the Granite City Rally and got a room at the Summerhill Hotel in Aberdeen for 40 quid, and this weekend I’m in the Studley Castle near Birmingham for £29.75.

The reason I’m here is the latest glamorous adventure in the exotic life of a motoring correspondent, the annual Commercial Vehicle Show, i.e. trucks and vans, and all things commercial. It’s a sobering thought, but everything we eat, wear, use or buy has spent some part of its life in the back of a van or on the back of a truck. Without CVs, we’d be running around starving and naked.

So it’s an important show in the automotive way of things. It’s also a good barometer of any country’s economy. A healthy CV trade means business is working, and with sales of trucks and vans on the rise in the UK, that’s an encouraging sign.

Monday consists of a full day of press conferences ahead of the show itself which opens on Tuesday for three days. However, the big treat tomorrow is a presentation by Ford tomorrow evening. With a wee bit of luck the journalists will get their first glimpse of the new Transit in the metal - I wonder if cameras will be allowed, or if we will be frisked going into the presentation.

And don’t think the CV manufacturers are backward compared to the more glitzy car companies. The CV show organisers have come up with their own  ‘novel wheeze’, whereby they have created an ‘app’ for anyone with one of these so-called ‘smart-phones’. Smart? They’re useless without a digital assistant, i.e. a human!

Anyway, by downloading this app from the CV Show website, which will only take a few seconds for a seven year old, but a few minutes for the middle-aged and a couple of hours for the old-timers, you can get a full list of exhibitors, what they will be showing, and their location on an inter-active map. Amazing. And it’s free.

The trouble is, this ‘app’ has novelty value. Having finally got it downloaded and working, I then ‘wasted’ another hour of work time playing with it!

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