‘BT’ bows out as Rob Smith takes the wheel for Red Book HGV’s

VETERAN truck industry expert Barrie Travis has announced his retirement from CAP, handing over the wheel of CAP Red Book ‘heavies’ to his successor, Rob Smith.

Barrie Travis was already steeped in heavy commercial vehicle knowledge when he joined CAP in 2003 after 40 years at the sharp end of the HGV industry.

His truck days started back in 1962 when he began servicing and repairing them as a Corporal in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. After a long career encompassing fleet maintenance followed by a number of senior sales roles in the industry Barrie joined CAP Red Book as Heavy Commercial Vehicle Editor.

A larger-than-life figure, Barrie has brought a rare mix of expertise and humour to his role at CAP while charting the highs and lows of truck, trailer and specialist plant values. Respected for his straight-speaking style – while sometimes ruffling feathers in the industry – Barrie has been instrumental in cementing the reputation of CAP Red Book as the go-to independent authority on commercial vehicle values.

Although Barrie is a tough act to follow, his successor – Rob Smith – is a man with impeccable credentials to serve the industry and CAP’s HGV sector customers with the unrivalled quality and depth of insight which ensure Red Book is a trusted independent benchmark for truck values.

Rob has almost 30 years of industry experience under his belt, working his way up from a ‘handyman’ position at a truck rental operation in 1985 through to developing residual value setting processes and managing disposals for some of the biggest names in truck fleets.

At Eurohire, Sheffield, he rose to the position of branch manager before moving to BRS Truck Rental where Rob’s career eventually saw him take on a UK-wide role managing parent company Exel Logistics’ buybacks and disposals.

Rob joins CAP from Fraikin Ltd, where he led operations to process more than 1,000 trucks through end of life – generating revenue in excess of £6m – and retrieving damage recharges of more than £350,000.

John Watts, Senior Editor of CAP Red Book, said: “Saying goodbye to Barrie is a bittersweet moment in the history of CAP. We are sad to see one of our great characters announce the first retirement in the company’s history – but we are also delighted to be welcoming such a talented and experienced man as Rob.

“Although Barrie is a hard act to follow, Rob’s credentials are impeccable and there is no question that we have the right man in the role to continue building the quality and reputation of Red Book.”

Rob Smith said: “I have long had a close working relationship with CAP and was always confident in its independence and thoroughness. But when I joined the business, the amount of research and detailed data analysis amazed me.

“The aim for perfection in providing accurate and timely values was evident from day one and that approach mirrors my own, so I’m very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Barrie Travis said: “Working at CAP has been a privilege and although I will miss everyone it’s good to see the business in such strong shape as I move on.

“I have warned everyone, though – I might find hosting Tupperware parties and playing my old Who records isn’t quite enough to keep me occupied, so this probably won’t be the last the industry sees of me.”

Barrie also posted his own farewell announcement to CAP customers in his final Red Book HGV editorial commentary (pictured).


About Barrie Travis:  Barrie’s truck days started back in 1962 when he began servicing and repairing them as a Corporal in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. On leaving the army in 1972 Barrie then took the job of Assistant Fleet Engineer at Geoffrey Reyner Transport in Manchester - one of the biggest privately owned truck fleets around at the time.

Then came sales. In 1978 Barrie joined Barton Commercials in Stockport where he launched a sales operation, buying and selling used trucks as well as overseeing the repair side of the business.

The CAP career CV was enhanced in 1994 when he became Used Commercial Sales Manager at Leyland DAF main agent, Chatfields of Manchester. Again he took an embryonic sales operation and eventually began moving around 100 trucks per year.

Headhunted by Lancashire DAF he again launched used sales operations in Accrington and Bamber Bridge before moving to Renault UK Woodwards of Wigan where he again launched a used sales operation.

In 2003 came the call of CAP and the deployment of a lifetime’s expertise and experience into Red Book, from where he retired as Red Book HGV Editor in April 2014.

About Rob Smith:  Rob joined Eurohire, Sheffield, in 1985 as a general handyman. He rose to Branch Manager, responsible for all operational functions and profitability of the branch. In 1989 he joined BRS Truck Rental, which would later be acquired by Exel Logistics. Beginning as Truck Rental Manager in Sheffield he later moved to Leeds as Manager of Truck and Trailer Rental there.

In 1994 Rob became Area Rental Manager, based in Nottingham, covering Yorkshire and East Midlands. There he was responsible for the day to day operation and profitability of six Truck Rental locations and one Trailer Rental operation.

On the strength of pioneering work around damage recharges and driving an increase in profitability he was appointed Fleet Resources Manager at BRS parent company, Exel Logistics in 1996. Covering the whole of the UK he managed all Exel vehicles at the end of life, ensuring the most financially prudent route of exit for each individual asset.

In 2001 Rob joined Lex Transfleet Limited, later to become Fraikin Limited. His launch of a  Used Vehicle Sales Department allowed the company to manage lease return vehicles, vehicle inspections, damage recharges and the subsequent disposal of the vehicle. He also became responsible for setting residual values on all vehicles. In 2005 the fleet grew substantially with the company’s acquisition by Fraikin Limited. Rob eventually oversaw the  processing of over 1,000 vehicles through the end of life process, annually, generating sales revenue exceeding £6m per annum and damage recharges in excess of £350,000.