MAN Automotive South Africa launched two new product offerings for the bus sector at the 2018 Southern African Bus Operators Association (Saboa) Conference and it did not disappoint. It showcased elegant vehicles that will make everyone want to use public transport.
There are very few opportunities in South Africa for bus manufactures to showcase their product offerings. Saboa is the perfect platform – and MAN knows this. Philip Kalil-Zackey, head of bus sales at MAN Automotive South Africa said: “We always go all out at Saboa. This is a big event for the bus industry and it is a big event for us.”
He added that the company spends a fair amount to ensure that the stand and the products launched at the conference make an impact on MAN customers, delegates and the bus industry at large. “This year, MAN launched its bus rapid transit (BRT), low-floor city bus,” Kalil-Zackey explained.
The locally produced MAN premium Lion’s City, low-floor, BRT bus is elegant and sleek with stainless-steel hand rails (inspired by European buses), wood flooring, bonded windows, modern seats, a door on both sides of the bus and segmented fibreglass side walls.
The latter plays an important part in small, inner-city accidents as the fibreglass is easy to repair and/or replace. The Lion’s City bus also has fixed 360° CCTV camera systems that capture the inside and outside of the vehicle.
“The exterior cameras assist bus drivers to argue their case when an accident occurs for which they are blamed. The interior cameras assist in monitoring theft, or possible fare evasion,” Kalil-Zackey said. He added that the footage can either be viewed live, or retrieved later.
The MAN Lion’s City also comes with a retractable boarding bridge at both doors situated on the right-hand side of the bus, and a wheelchair ramp at the front left-hand side door. These entrances have little to no incline as the bus is specifically designed to accommodate the bus rapid transit (BRT) stations and sidewalks in South Africa.
The second MAN vehicle on display at Saboa was the budget commuter bus, or MAN CLA Explorer. The bus body is similar to the premium Lion’s Explorer, which was launched at Saboa 2017, but has a more rugged look. Despite being a budget vehicle, it comes standard with a retarder, air suspension and a heavy-duty air-intake system.
“It is really designed for harsh rural applications. This is something we are very proud to launch at Saboa, as not everyone is a city-bus or coach operator. The budget commuter bus is more for day-to-day applications,” Kalil-Zackey noted.
MAN Automotive South Africa also had a full complement of staff (from South Africa and abroad) at Saboa – from sales directors to product specialists – to ensure questions from delegates could be answered. Kalil-Zackey said: “The team can really talk a customer through the A to Z of buses.
“With our stand, MAN wanted to show the market that it has a product in the BRT segment. It is a first for MAN Automotive South Africa and Saboa is the perfect place to showcase MAN’s muscle in BRT,” he concluded.