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It has been an exciting week for Volkswagen and Iveco as they have both released details of their latest concept vans.

We wonder how many concept vans actually make it off the drawing board and into production? It’s probably not that many and we hope that these two innovative models make it out into the real world.

Volkswagen’s Tristar Concept

The Volkswagen Tristar is an interesting design, it utilises both flexible storage solutions plus extreme off-road capabilities. The vehicle appears to be based on VW’s current T series model and looks like it would fit into the Transporter line-up comfortably.

The Tristar is a pick-up which has an extended cab, a short wheelbase and styling bar. The concept vehicle has four-wheel drive that is permanently ‘on’ - with a mechanical rear axle differential lock, plus an additional 30mm ground clearance.

Volkswagen Tristar Concept

Volkswagen has given some thought to the cargo placement with two separate levels for holding your goods. There is a watertight, dustproof container under the flatbed area which is also where the spare tire is kept.

The interior has a 20” tablet table on a swivel pole between the seats, plus a high tech sound system and video conferencing set-up. The driver and passenger seats can turn and slide on mounted rails for added ease of use, oh and there is even an espresso machine installed!

Iveco VISION Concept

Originally shown at the International Motor Show of Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, Germany, the Iveco VISION is being hailed as a ‘cutting-edge’ hybrid delivery vehicle.

Iveco has said that this vehicle would be, “ideal for door-to-door delivery missions”. The VISION concept would be running from a ‘Dual Energy’ hybrid powertrain. This would mean that the VISION would be running on electric motor for urban journeys and in hybrid mode for longer journeys, Iveco claim that overall this would reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent.

Iveco VISION Concept

Iveco has also paid special attention to the loadbay which makes sense as this is essentially a delivery vehicle. There are sensors which connect to a load management system to identify goods and indicate where they should be stored in the cargo hold for safety reasons and to prevent damage during transit – that sounds pretty smart to us.

We really like the concepts that Volkswagen and Iveco have produced and think that this smarter way of thinking is a great asset to the future van market.

You may know it but 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the VW Transporter in the UK, and to celebrate Volkswagen has announced a new special edition model called the Sportline 60.

In addition, Volkswagen is also releasing a 'birthday present' in the form of a special package of features for all VW Transporters. These add-ons are exclusive extras and Volkswagen says they will allow owners of the T5 Transporter to really make their vehicles stand out from the crowd.

Volkswagen Transporter Sportline 60</

The 60th anniversary pack is available to buy from the 22nd September 2014 and will include Chrome detailing on the mirror caps, side indicators, tail guard and grille. There will also be LED running lights, waterproof embroidered seat covers, plus 'Transporter 60' decals for the exterior.

According to Volkswagen, the first 250 customers who order the accessory pack will be given a copy of a limited edition coffee table book that celebrates 60 years of Transporters in the UK. The anniversary pack prices start from £609 and go up to £1,009 (incl VAT and fitting). The pack is expected to be available into 2015 as an end date has not yet been set.

Courier company Yodel has been shortlisted as one of the finalists in the “Best Technology Partnership” category at the 2014 CCA Excellence Awards.

The CCA is the leading independent authority on contact centre strategies and operations. Yodel has been recognised for its new bespoke social media management tool 'Cadence', a powerful Social Media Groupware program for businesses created by Felicitas Media.

According to Yodel, Cadence has increased the productivity of their social media team by up to 150%, including the useful ability to check delivery queues, report driver/customer interactions and route consignments - this all helps to alleviate and resolve any customer queries or complaints.

Picture of Yodel Courier Vans

Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel has said, "We’re delighted to have reached the final stage for this prestigious award, It’s deserved recognition for both Yodel and Felicitas Media, who has helped us to evolve our social media service."

This is a massive positive for the independent parcel carrier as back in January of this year they had been voted the worst parcel delivery service for the second year running with up to 58% of Yodel customers stating that they had received a 'bad' experience when using the courier..

Yodel deliver parcels for several big named brands including Argos, Boots, Tesco Direct and Amazon. Customers were given little choice of courier and often had to sit and wait for Yodel to deliver, all the while receiving below average results according to Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com.

It appears however that Yodel is now on the up-and-up with the inclusion of the Cadence social media program being used by their teams and an obvious turnaround in customer satisfaction.

We wish Yodel the best of luck with the upcoming nomination as they stand against the likes of Samsung Electronics UK, Santander UK, and Serco - LivePerson, all hoping to win the award.

Volkswagen have unveiled a new limited edition model of their popular Caddy Van

This new addition is called the 'Black Line' and is only available in black pearlescent paint, so it certainly lives up to its name.

The new Caddy is also sporting a lower profile due to its dropped, sport suspension – and the new van sits pretty on 17-inch black wheels. It is worth mentioning, however, that the Black Line is only available as the short-wheelbase panel van, but it’s all powered by a 101bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine.

The premium look of the van is finished with silver roof rails and a chromed radiator grille for extra bling.

Limited Edition Volkswagen Caddy Black Line

As this is a limited run model, available from October to December, Volkswagen have spared no expense on the interior with the new special edition being based on the Caddy van top-or-the range Highline trim variant.

Inside the panel van you will find a full-height solid bulkhead separating the cab and the cargo bay, this helps to keep noise levels down while the engine is running. The cab is fitted out with leather and Alcantara seats and you will also find more leather on the gearshift lever as well as the multi-function steering wheel.

Being the 21st Century premium model that the Black Edition is there is plenty of tech available to the driver on demand. All accessible from the dash, the driver is only a fingertip away from a trip computer, Bluetooth, and a CD player with radio and aux-in socket. The Caddy also has cruise control, rear parking sensors and heated wing mirrors which can be electrically adjusted.

The new Caddy Black Line edition will be available from the 1st October 2014 until 31st December 2014 and is priced at £17,860 (ex. VAT) so if you want one you'd better act fast!

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on this new model you'll want to make sure that your new vehicle is fully covered, so why not look into getting a van insurance quote from iVan to see if we can help you save.

The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) has been campaigning to parliament for the introduction of a new licence for motor technicians working in the UK motor industry.

Each year more than 2,000 accidents are caused by poor vehicle maintenance. According to road safety charity BRAKE, in 2011 there were 2,125 crashes, with 52 resulting in fatalities, attributable to inadequate motor maintenance.

The IMI has already received positive reaction to the initiative from numerous leading automotive companies including: AutoGlass, TrustFord, REMIT and Inchcape UK to name but a few.

UK government has stated that in 2015 it will be legal to own and use driverless cars on UK roads. The IMI believes a level of regulation will be necessary to ensure that motor technicians are compliant with the higher standards of safety checks and maintenance works necessary to help guarantee the safety of motorists once these types of vehicles are in use.

Steve Nash, the CEO of IMI, said, “The imminent prospect of autonomous vehicles on UK roads makes the issue of licensing extremely urgent. Service technicians without the proper training are increasingly putting themselves and motorists at risk."

He added that research undertaken by the IMI has shown that "MPs currently see the motor industry as low skilled, low paid and dirty. It is vital that they and the public come to a better understanding of the requirements necessary to work on modern vehicles, especially with a new wave of technology on the horizon".

The IMI is still trying to get this licensing to be made statutory and they may still have some way to go. In our opinion, ensuring that automotive technicians are highly trained, skilled and regulated will help to keep us all safe on the roads.

It is important to make sure that you always have the correct van insurance when driving your van on the road, this may help if you do suffer an accident that was caused by operating a poorly-maintained vehicle.