Daimler Buses India, a unit of Germany’s Daimler Buses under the umbrella of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles and Daimler Trucks Asia, is bullish on sales of its premium coaches in India.
According to the bus manufacturer, the size of the premium rear engine coach market in India is likely to grow over the medium-term as intercity transportation is growing rapidly. Daimler Buses India is targeting an ambitious goal of selling 200 SHD coaches in 2018, which translates into a 30 percent market share.
After the discontinuation of the previous-generation BS III premium rear engine coaches last year, Daimler Buses India recently introduced its new upgraded Super High Deck (SHD) coach for the small but profitable 24-tonne segment. This premium coach segment, which has a market size of 600 units per annum in the country, is currently dominated by Volvo Buses India, which has an absolute monopoly after it entered this market in early 2000.
Over the past few years, premium coaches operated by private fleet operators and state transport units (STUs) to ply between key major cities of India have changed the long-distance travel in India for the better. These luxury coaches have become the preferred mode of transportation of the growing middle-class for long- distance travels as they are willing to pay a premium for a higher level of comfort and safety. Due to their widespread popularity, the multi-axle coaches are now covering over 1,000km a day while connecting all the major cities of India.
In the premium coach segment, Daimler Buses India is focused on the multi-axle coach and does not plan to enter in the two-axle segment.
In a recent interview to Autocar Professional, Thomas Fricke, managing director, Daimler Buses, said, “The size of the premium coach segment in India is around 600 units per annum. Within this segment, the multi-axle segment is growing fast due to better operating economics and higher passenger comfort, which enable fleet operators to derive a better return on every trip. We don't intend to introduce a two-axle, rear engine coach in the segment.”
Daimler Buses India bets on class-leading features
After selling 70 units of its earlier model, Daimler considered all the customer feedbacks and launched the new SHD coach with a class-leading 410hp engine, automatic transmission, 59 pushback seats and 14 cubic metres of luggage space.
The company claims that the new 15-metre bus, which is the longest in the Indian coach segment, offers more legroom, higher luggage, and superior comfort. Built on an aluminium body, it is claimed to be the lightest vehicle in its class, offering superior fuel efficiency. With an active steerable tag axle, it features a low turning circle diameter to effortlessly navigate sharp turns and bends.
The SHD coach comes equipped with advanced braking systems and has strategically positioned fuel tanks for better safety.
“Our earlier coach was BS III-complaint. After the introduction of new BS IV norms (in April 2017), we had to bring a new product in the segment. Following customer feedback, we have introduced the SHD fully automatic, highest power coach in the segment,” said Fricke.
The company has already sold six units of the SHD coach to Parveen Travels, a Chennai-based bus fleet operator and guarantees that it would start delivery at the earliest.
Full report appears in the June 15 issue of Autocar Professional - an Indo-German Special