With over 50,000 buses and coaches manufactured in India every year, the country ranks second in the world in terms of market size. With new initiatives like smart cities coming in and the expansion of almost all the major tier-1 cities, the numbers are set to grow in the years to come. This was evident at the recently concluded seventh edition of Busworld India, which opened new vistas for several stakeholders in this segment of the commercial vehicle industry.
The three-day event from November 10, 2016 at the BIEC, Bengaluru had 90 exhibitors – from vehicle manufacturers to coach builders and suppliers such as seat makers, floorings, air-conditioning, transmission, steel, plastic and rubber parts manufacturers.
At the inauguration Didier Ramoudt, President-Busworld International, said India has a huge requirement for replacement of buses and hence it is imperative for creating space for sustainable transport. India is definitely one of the most important and fast-growing bus markets globally. The market could grow faster if there was proper enforcement of regulations and if we got clarity on which direction the authorities wanted the industry to go in terms of emission technology.
In China it is electric while Russia seems to support gas-based fuels and in the rest of Europe there is a combination of electric, gas and hybrid. Therefore, it is necessary to look at different options to enhance public transportation in India. However, there should be standards formulated to achieve a robust public transportation system. He assured that Busworld was ready and fully-committed to support this vision.
Oleg Kamberski, Head-Passenger Transport, IRU, said that for several countries buses and coaches were not a priority. Therefore, policy makers must look at them urgently. According to Rajender Kumar Kataria, MD, KSRTC, the image of public transport needs a drastic change. In a country, where 1. 5 lakh buses are run by STUs, a need is felt for weaning the public back to public transport.
According to the organisers the exhibition has been showing a consistent growth over the past years and its size has increased from 5,700 sq.m in the last edition to 7,500 sq.m this year. This year, Busworld has joined hands with the ASRTU – the apex body that brings together all State Road Transport Undertakings on a common platform-and the Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI), a recently-formed entity for bus operators in the country.
Columbus By MG Group
The event witnessed participation from few OEMs including Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, SML Isuzu and Volvo. The key launches of the event were the unveiling of monocoque tarmac, Columbus, designed and developed by MG Group. It is the first-of-its-kind, fully Monocoque Ultra-low Flat-floor Tarmac coach developed currently for international markets with a passenger entry floor height at as low as 290 mm.
The Group also launched its Flagship Premium Luxury Coach ‘Mammoth’ for the Indian market. The coach is already being produced for International Markets since its unveiling last year at Busworld 2015 held in Mumbai, and MG Group is now introducing this product in the domestic market. The ‘Mammoth’ has also been fully designed and developed by MG Group.
Volvo Buses launched a new coach range in a bid to redefine intercity travel in the country. The range includes the Volvo 9400, the 12–metre coach with the new eight litre engine sourced from VECV’s Pithampur facility. The Volvo 9400, 13.8-meter multi-axle coach gets a boost with the engine being upgraded from nine litre to 11 litre. In the Volvo 9400, 14.5m coach the 11 litre engine is upgraded to meet the upcoming BS IV emission regulations, besides improvements for enhanced performance.
The new coach range unveiling coincides with the completion of Volvo Buses’15 years’ journey in India. The new eight-litre engine is a result of the efforts towards localisation of key aggregates, which is part of the company’s agenda, besides highlighting its intent to leverage the local manufacturing competence to meet the market potential. As such, the bus body in all Volvo buses in India is 100 percent localised. The engines in the new range comply with BS IV emission norms that come into effect from April 2017.
HakanAgnevall, President, Volvo Bus Corporation, said,”The new engine range is a good example of India’s role in Volvo Group’s global plans. The way forward for us is to offer in India the latest solutions that can provide the finest ownership experience to the operators.”
AkashPassey, Senior Vice President,Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation, said, “Our journey in India over the last 15 years has helped create awareness and acceptability towards bus travel among people. The bus transport business and the bus manufacturing industry have undergone a sea- change since 2001. Volvo Buses will continue to take initiatives to make a difference to our customers, which is our commitment to the market.”
As part of the expo, the Busworldorganised an educative conference with the theme, ‘Bus and Coach-A Smart Transportation System for India.’ A series of seminars were held with topics like challenges faced by Indian bus industry, best practices followed by international bus industry and how technology can improve the services among others. Some of the other topics were: ‘Efficient, comfortable and safer bus connectivity for India,’ Indian bus industry- challenges and opportunities,’ Travel and tourism sector in India – challenges and opportunities,’ ‘Electromobility in India- Vision 2020 and beyond’ , and ‘Bus safety.’
Overall the expo offered participants options to enhance their businesses and also look for new avenues of opportunities for diversification.
The mother exhibition (Busworld Kortrijk) began its debut in 1971 in Kortrijk, Belgium. It has since established itself as one of the sought after expos exclusively for the bus and coach industry. In addition to the Indian edition Busworld is being organised in few other locations including Belgium and China.