Cranes need care
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• Too many independent dealers who don't really know what they are doing are equipping trucks with cranes, claims Jameson Jones of dealer Stadium Commercials. Vehicles fitted with cranes always sell well, and it's one way of making a tractor or rigid more appealing.
But there may be axle overloads if the conversion isn't done properly," Jones warns. You can't stick a crane on just anything and expect it to be OK.
"People with insufficient experience are jumping on the bandwagon, and some of them are botching things up."
Jones advises buyers interested in this type of truck to go to an established dealer who is aware of the possible complications and will therefore supply them with a roadlegal product.
"You're less likely to get a problem with a crane on a 4x2 or 6x2 tractive unit because they have sufficient axle weight tolerance," says one dealer who specialises in crane trucks. "There could be more difficulties with a four-wheel rigid, however."
Cranes aside, the new year has begun well, says Jones,
"Things were slow towards the end of last year but we've had a nice positive start to 2002, with skip loaders and tippers in particular still in demand," he reports. "Every
tipper we get hold of is sold al mos before it arrives.
"There's a lot of demand fo tankers too.
"Box-van 7. 5-to n ners aren' selling as well as they were, how ever, and we don't stock as many a we did," he continues. "I suspec that a lot of operators are getting tic of them and leasing brand-nev ones because the leasing rate: are so low.
"As for tractors, there are a lot o cheap ones around, and older one: don't fetch all that much money. recently saw some M-registerec Volvo Flics being sold at auction fo as little as £1,800, and we've hearc of units bought back for frq.,cic)c) some manufacturers and selling for no more than L3,000.
"I guess that's how you go skint,' he adds.
Jones suspects that dealers may also be facing more competition for the available business.
"There seems to be a growinE number of farmers and hauliers doing a bit of dealing these days,' he says. "We keep seeing advertise. ments with new names that nobody in the trade has ever heard of."