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Bus Search: Challenger builds on success

With its two high-quality coaches, Challenger Bus & Coach has excelled in 2022. It’s now using this momentum to deliver its V10 and V12 vehicles to more customers in 2023.

It’s been a big year for Challenger Bus & Coach. The Australian owned, designed and fully supported bus and coach manufacturer has enjoyed the return of in-person events in 2022, with its premier models on full display at BusVic’s Maintenance Conference and October’s Australasian Bus & Coach Expo.

Heading into 2023, Challenger Bus & Coach sales manager Dan Campbell says the V10 and V12 buses will continue to be at the forefront of Challenger’s offerings to the Australian market, except now they’ll come with the availability of a crucial environmental twist.

“This year we’ll have our V10 and V12 models with the option for Euro 6 engines,” Campbell told ABC. “Our buses will still be available in Euro 5 models, but now we have Euro 6 available too.”

Campbell says the added option for reduced engine emissions should continue to boost sales.

The changes should only serve to make Challenger coaches an even hotter proposition for Australian customers, not that they needed much help. In the lead-up to the Bus & Coach Expo in Sydney, Challenger’s V10 bus that it planned to bring along to showcase was sold. It ensured a hasty late change for the Expo but proved the popularity of the products in the market in 2022.

“Seeing the way that the industry is heading, we want to be leading the way towards Euro 6 buses,” Campbell says. “As we continue towards a zero-emissions vehicle transition, we see ourselves as a company trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

“We’re excited to transition to Euro 6 engines in 2023.”

Helping Challenger transition to Euro 6 versions of the V10 and V12 models is Cummins. Campbell says Cummins is an industry leader in the engine space and being able to partner with them is an exciting move for Challenger.

When it comes to the V10, the 10.5m coach can take up to 45 seats. The V10 model sold on the eve of the 2022 Bus Expo was built with a toilet and kitchen included, as well as a wood grain interior. The V12 model is a larger 12.3m coach that has up to 57 seats.

Campbell says both vehicles in the Challenger fleet can be adapted to suit client needs.

“Both of the V10 and V12 are really versatile,” Campbell says. “The models may be different sizes, but everything inside is fully adaptable.

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“We’ve pre-sold vehicles to be delivered next year with wheelchair lifts and toilet equipped. We can do anything from a standard school bus to a premium coach with reclining leather seats, dishwashers and coffee machines installed.”

The slight additions to the V10 and V12 have stirred plenty of excitement within the Challenger team. After seeing sales triple in 2022 compared to previous years, the Australian brand has also seen repeat customers and orders for the first time.

Joining the success of its vehicles is Challenger’s spare parts business, Australasian Bus and Coach Parts. Campbell and the Challenger team will continue to stock extremely well-priced parts for all vehicle brands, not just for Challenger buses and coaches.

He says Challenger will announce exciting offers for parts in early 2023.

Campbell says Challenger will continue to be a flexible and hard-working manufacturer, using the finest quality products to construct vehicles that will develop its footprint in the Australian industry.

“We now see customers buying multiple vehicles at a time from us,” Campbell says. “We also see repeat orders from customers buying multiple vehicles. It’s really exciting to see customers respecting and loving our products.

“We’re hoping to grow and get new customers in 2023 while fulfilling our existing orders. Once customers see our buses and coaches, we know they’re never disappointed.”

What to look forward to in 2023

After a whirlwind finish to 2022, Challenger will spend the new year delivering on the quality vehicles it has in build. While the brand does this, it also has some new vehicles in the works for 2023.

“We do also have an eye on a couple of new projects underway,” Campbell told ABC. “This includes a smaller vehicle in a V8 model, which will be a 25-to-30 seat vehicle.”

Alongside this concept of a smaller V8 vehicle is Challenger’s first zero-emissions bus and coach in the form of a low-floor battery electric model. Campbell says both of these new models will still be part of Challenger’s Australian-owned, designed and fully supported fleet of quality products.

He says these models are incredibly exciting for Challenger as it looks to continue its expansion in Australia.

“The uptake we’ve had since the BusVic conference and the Expo in 2022 has created momentum that we’re taking into 2023,” Campbell says.

Yet Challenger’s 2023 evolution won’t just be limited to vehicles. In 2022, the manufacturer developed bases in Brisbane and Perth to go with its Melbourne depot. With more growth expected for Challenger, it has its eyes on further expansion.

“In 2023 we’re now looking at sites in Sydney,” Campbell says. “We’re hoping for, and forecasting, significant growth for the Challenger brand next year.”

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