Marcopolo’s Russian moves
In recent months, we have devoted a substantial number of column centimetres to the global business expansion activities of Brazilian bus builder Marcopolo SA. Early in 2012, we reported on the acquisition of a 75 percent stake in Australia’s largest bus bodybuilder, Volgren Australia (Pty) Limited of Melbourne.
More recently, we detailed Marcopolo’s “definitive” move into the North American market, through the purchase of a 20 percent stake in Canadian bus builder, New Flyer Industries Inc. These acquisitions can be expected to add an incremental 2 800 units or so to the 30 000-plus annual total already produced by Marcopolo from its seventeen global locations.
Back in September 2011, Marcopolo had established yet another important joint venture with Russia’s leading truck and chassis builder Kamaz, to form Kamaz-Marco, and details have now become available of the initial JV product to be produced at the Neftekamsk Auto plant, in Bashkortostan.
Named Bravis, this will take the form of a 21-seater, 7,8-metre midibus, mounted on a Kamaz-3297 4×2 rear-drive chassis, and powered by a 138 kW (185 hp) Euro 4-compliant Cummins ISB diesel engine. Other elements of the specification include a six-speed manual ZF transmission, Daimler-supplied front and air-suspended rear axles, and Knorr-Bremse disc brakes. The carrying capacity can be supplemented by an additional 29 standees, all contained within the design Gross Vehicle Mass rating of 9,5 tonnes.
In October, 2012, the Marcopolo organisation celebrated the production of its 350 000th bus. Regarded as the world’s largest coachbuilder, its main business consists of mounting its own distinctive bodywork designs on proprietary chassis, or integrating with the now fashionable “buggy”-style running units.
Marcopolo currently employs some 22 000 people, and also participates in a bus production joint venture, Tata Marcopolo Motors Limited, in India. This enterprise, jointly owned by Tata Motors (51 percent) and Marcopolo (49 percent) is located in Dharwadis, and produces complete service buses, luxury coaches, and low-floor city buses. These are marketed under Tata’s Starbus and Globus branding.