EXCLUSIVE: MAN enters the frame

Almost halfway through the year, bus chassis supplier Volvo is clearing from the pack, but recent data indicates some late season surges could be possible

EXCLUSIVE: MAN enters the frame
<b><font color=red>EXCLUSIVE:</b></font> MAN enters the frame

June 7, 2011

If this were a footy tipping competition, you would feel confident in backing Volvo to coast towards the ‘premiership’ at the half way point of the season.

With 58 deliveries in May, Volvo keeps pushing above the pack backed by continuing supply of mostly low floor units into Government-run route operations in Sydney and Brisbane.

Whether Volvo’s new man at the helm Peter Duncan turns out to be a Wayne Bennett or Mick Malthouse could be known by year’s end, and it will be fascinating to watch.

Sitting behind Volvo for the second consecutive month is Scania (24) also supplying low floors, but into the other major public transport domains – Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne.

Nipping at Scania’s heals is Mercedes-Benz (22), buoyed by contracting to the remaining major capital city with ten 0500LE low floors heading across to Perth’s Public Transport Authority last month.

As with footy of all codes, the top teams look behind their shoulders at this time of the year to see who might be primed for a late season surge.

In bus delivery terms, the big mover appears to be MAN, the quiet achievers of the industry who rarely get a mention, but are perhaps overdue for a good hard look.

MAN’s 18 deliveries in May is the German marque’s best result for the year, but the trend line also reveals a steady rise each month. Based on MAN’s 2011 month by month rate of increasing sales, they might well finish second by season’s end.

Other major chassis suppliers are doing what footy teams do when they look like missing the final four – altering the team structure, trying new routines, and serving it up to the leaders when the opportunity presents.

Expect a surge in delivery numbers from Asia Motors in coming months as the Korean chassis supplier completes its South Australian orders, and watch for a return to form from Bus and Coach International (BCI).

There has been a change of clubhouse and an alteration to the team roster at BCI, a big 2010 performer experiencing a downturn in deliveries due largely to relocating its manufacturing base and entering into a new partnership deal.

As elsewhere reported this month in ABC, BCI are getting busy with a revamped line-up, with the first units of their increasingly popular Classmaster 57-seat coaches starting to appear in Australia from the new China factory.

It might already be too late this season to hit the top four, but as they say in all footy codes - there’s always next year.

Exclusive May 2011 Delivery data is available here

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