Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey

Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey

Life has become a race rather than a journey, with everything going instant, high speed and all about the destination … It’s no wonder that transport has followed suit. But, with Scania, there is a better way.

Today, more than ever, it’s true that time is money – with humanity being very reluctant to waste its most precious commodity. The world’s best and brightest are all working on ways to move people and goods from A to B – in the shortest amount of time … But life is meant to be an enjoyable journey, with so much scenery to be admired along the way. And what better way to do this than in a comfy, shiny, new coach.

Scania has a wide variety of people movers – developed and improved by a company that has more than 100 years of experience in this industry – but one of these definitely leaps out when it comes to getting to where you want to go, in a way that you can truly enjoy the journey. Enter the Scania Touring – by no means a new addition to the company’s coach range, but a new player in the South African market.

The vehicle is officially being launched at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) this month and promises to meet all the different demands of occasional and regular service. From guided tours in the city to cross-country trips, the company states that the Touring will offer support over a broad range of transport operations.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the journeyScania South Africa’s (SA’s) sales and export director, Ivan Stefanovic, elaborates on the coach: “The Scania Touring coach is new to South Africa, but it has been in operation in many markets globally for a few years.” He adds that customers can, therefore, be assured that it will deliver durable operation.

“The chassis is still the same one that we’ve used in our markets for many years, which has been regularly updated,” Stefanovic points out. As for the engine, the Touring is powered by Scania’s 13-litre derivative, which is based on the company’s global engine platform. “We have a history of delivering outstanding fuel economy and uptime, and this coach is no exception.”

He adds that, to secure the best possible fuel economy, Scania chose to standardise the Touring with the fully automated gearbox – Opticruise. “This helps to prevent driver error and abuse, which will have a positive effect on fuel economy and also on uptime and maintenance costs.”

The Touring is available in 6×2 or 6×4 configurations; with a 53-seat option, which includes a restroom, kitchenette and middle door – or a 60-seat version for maximum seating capacity, which comes with a front door only. “Other configurations are, of course, available on demand, all depending on the type of transport needs,” Stefanovic points out. For example the three-axle version provides greater load capacity, at no cost to the vehicle’s manoeuvrability, via the steered tag-axle – which also reduces tyre wear.

However, as Scania SA’s bus and coach national sales manager Robbie Virgili explains, an operator’s main income is based on the number of passengers transported … which includes luggage on each trip. “On the Scania Touring the luggage compartment is designed to fulfil any need within occasional and regular services,” notes Virgili. “Pneumatically operated luggage doors open the compartments, making it easier to load and off-load for both the driver and passengers – even in tight spaces.”

But it is much more than just a beautiful coach, as managing director of Scania SA Steve Wager points out: “It is a better way of doing business and is built on a partnership between the operator and Scania.” He adds that, with the Touring, Scania wants to share a new solution for the coach industry in southern Africa by providing full support for the whole vehicle from one single point of contact.

“The success of any coach operation has a lot to do with the choice of vehicles, but is has very little to do with their initial costs,” emphasises Wager. “So operators must always look at the bigger picture.”

He accentuates the importance of total operating costs. “Everything from fuel and driving capabilities to servicing and downtime; these costs all depend on the quality and reliability of the vehicle, as well as on your relationship with the manufacturer.”

And it is Scania’s commitment to that relationship that has led to it offering a one-stop shopping solution, which covers the Touring from bumper to bumper – including all parts, maintenance and repairs from Scania’s regional sales and service network. The company also offers in-house finance and insurance solutions, driver training and coaching and an array of other services.

Above left: Some operators pre-ordered Scania’s Touring coach, which makes its official South African debut at the Johannesburg International Motor Show this month. Above right: (from left) Ivan Stefanovic, sales and export director; Steen Gram, after sales director; Steve Wager, managing director of Scania South Africa; Matthew Lawrence, managing director of Scania Finance Southern Africa and Robbie Virgili, national sales manager bus and coach.Matthew Lawrence, managing director of Scania Finance Southern Africa, adds: “Looking at finance and insurance, which together comprise an important part of the total operating costs, operators should have the best solution. At Scania Finance we offer tailored finance and insurance solutions adapted to individual requirements.” He says that Scania has extensive knowledge of the transport industry and also understands coach operations specifically.

“Our finance and insurance offerings are an important part of the complete transport solution,” emphasises Lawrence. “They can be integrated with repair and maintenance contracts, Scania Assistance and many other services.”

Steen Gram, after sales director at Scania SA, focuses on some of these: “With the Scania Touring we now offer one single point of contact to manage all body and chassis-related services, engine repairs and warranty claims – keeping downtime to a minimum.”

He adds that the company offers service, full repair and maintenance contracts that can be tailored specifically to an operator’s needs. “A Scania repair and maintenance contract is the ultimate way to get a firm grip on operational costs,” Gram reassures. “It gives a clear overview of a company’s total maintenance costing at a fixed monthly fee – preventing unforeseen major expenses and maximising uptime.”

As for Scania Assistance, it offers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year on- and off-road support – regardless of where the vehicle may be.

But the vehicle isn’t the only thing Scania looks after, as its driver training can be tailored to any operational needs. “Driver training is the key to optimising fuel consumption and safety, while minimising maintenance and risk,” Gram points out.

So, as Wager puts it, Scania is offering a one-stop solution as a better way of doing business “by working together in partnership to provide customers with the very best product and support”. He adds: “We have a very exciting journey ahead of us …” So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride with the Scania Touring and all it has to offer.

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