Buses for Africa
Despite the bus market being rather quiet over the last year or so, there was an assortment of bus offerings at this year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS)
Hino unveiled its 300-series bus at JIMS – based on the Hino 300-series chassis and developed jointly with Busmark 2000. The bus is designed to be a medium-sized 25- to 37-seat people carrier for staff and scholar transport. Its superstructure features high-strength super alloys, allowing for structural integrity and energy absorption with the use of fewer structural materials. The aerodynamic design of the bus contributes to fuel savings and a resultant decrease in CO2 emissions.
Irizar did not hold a press briefing, but featured the latest i6 coach on its stand.
Iveco was proud to present its forthcoming 180E bus – its first bus to be locally assembled and which will be specific to South Africa. This 65-seater, front-engined bus is powered by a Tector 5,8-litre Euro-3 engine – which Iveco points out provides top performance, optimised fuel consumption, low environmental impact, long lasting reliability and outstanding driver and passenger comfort.
It will be built at the company’s forthcoming R530-million, CKD facility in Rosslyn – a 60/40 partnership with the Larimar Group.
Also presented was the new Daily Minibus, which offers configurations for the transport of up to 23 passengers in five different versions, from urban and scholar transportation to tourism. The bus is designed to provide maximum comfort; with large side windows, an ergonomic driver’s area and various safety features. These include Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Anti-Skid Regulation (ASR), and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) systems as standard, while airbags for the driver and front passenger are also available as options as are a speed limiter and an electric brake.
MAN buses on show illustrated the company’s ability to service niche passenger transit application, like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and intercity commuter travel. With BRT being a particular focus, the company was proud to mention the fact that its offering for this application – the A84 Lion’s City low-entry, low-floor, dual passenger door city bus – consists of 80 percent local content.
The A84 Lion’s City currently features a Euro-3 rated engine with a Euro-5 specification version becoming available in the next couple of months. It also includes various safety features such as EBS and traction control.
The company notes that, having recently been awarded a tender by the City of Tshwane for the supply of 120 MAN A84 units, its BRT strategy roll-out is gaining momentum.
Marcopolo did not hold a press briefing, but featured its G7 coach on Mercedes-Benz, Scania and Volvo chassis.
Just days before the start of JIMS, Mercedes-Benz handed over 134 buses to the City of Johannesburg for Phase 1B of its Rea Vaya BRT system. The tender for the supply of these buses was awarded to MBSA’s Sandown Motor Holdings. The network, covering ten stations from Soweto to Parktown linking to the Johannesburg CBD, will be served by 93 complimentary and 41 articulated locally assembled Euro-5 buses.
With sales of 150 units during 2012, MCV South Africa announced a new 15-metre, 6×2 coach in its flagship 600 range – originally launched two years ago. The new coach features 62 seats, two doors and a central toilet.
Other vehicles in the company’s range offering include the 400; S125, S130LE, S125 and S140 semi-luxury coaches; and the 120 city bus range. This
range too has been expanded, with the addition of a 14,8-metre, 105-seat 6×2 model. According to Medhat Guirguis, assistant general manager, MCV,
this model offers the passenger
capacity of an articulated bus with the compact dimensions of a standard, non-articulated bus.
There is also the 260T “small coach” aimed at employee and scholar transport. Guirguis also pointed out that the
company does do truck conversions, but not in the traditional way where the cab is left and then built around. Instead all chassis are stripped and a new body is then built onto it. All MCV plants and products comply with all European quality certifications.
The Egyptian company, having been operational in South Africa since 2007, has a presence in 16 African countries.
Having only been officially launched at JIMS, Scania’s new bus, the Touring, has already proved to be a success, with the company selling one within the first couple of days of the show. In fact, the first ten buses Scania brought in to the country were already sold before the show, and the company had to “hire” one back from a client to have on its stand.
“On the very first day of the show we sold one of the new buses straight off the stand! I’ve been in the truck business for many years and this is the first time this has happened,” says Gideon de Swardt, public relations officer for Scania South Africa.
Full details on the Touring can be found in the October issue of FOCUS.
VDL Bus and Coach had no new models to announce, but is continuing with its 6×2 and 4×2 front-engined line-up. Locally, the company also makes tag axles for SA Truck Bodies. A 72-hour parts turnaround time is guaranteed, with full support by the company’s head office in Holland.
VDL turns over €15 billion (R201 billion) annually, has its own assembly plant and no ties to any body-builders. Its buses are made to spec for customers.
MD of VDL South Africa, Sam Mansingh, made light of the company winning the 2012 European Coach of the Year and the 2011 City Bus of the Year with the Citea. Mansingh also revealed that the company has been awarded the contract to manufacture the next generation of the Mini range of vehicles for BMW, as of March 2014 – with 800 000 to be built over the next 10 years. (See page 82.)