From Cairo to Mt Cotton

MAN will preview its Egyptian-built ‘Elite’ city bus in Brisbane next week before a select group of operators leading up to the Australian Bus + Coach Show

From Cairo to Mt Cotton
From Cairo to Mt Cotton

By David Goeldner | August 26, 2011

While heads have been turned north to China as the source of Australia’s charter, school and route service buses, MAN’s Australian arm has gone further, about to source a suite of buses from a German-endorsed plant in Egypt.

MAN Automotive Imports National Operations Manager Mark Mello says a select group of 50 bus operators will attend the prelaunch of its Egyptian-built C130 ‘Elite’ city bus at the Mt Cotton high performance test track near Brisbane on September 3.

"If you had said to me to think about going to Egypt to find a body builder it would have been one of the last places I would have thought to have gone," Mello says.

"But I’m very impressed with what they do over there."

The strategy is backed by MAN in Germany which sourced and endorsed approved body builders around the globe to build bodies on the popular German chassis.

Rather than import the chassis and have it fitted with a locally built body, the approach MAN in Australia has taken is to import a chassis and body that has MAN endorsement for the complete unit supported throughout the MAN distributor network.

"It’s an MAN endorsed bus so at the end of the day you can still buy a chassis from MAN in Germany, it’s then delivered to one of a number of authorised body builders that MAN is working with around the globe, and it has a body fitted to it to meet Australian conditions," Mello says.

"I started the inquiry with MAN in Germany about what we were looking at doing here and they’ve worked with us," he says.

MAN identified suitable body builders and out of the Australian-inspired project in Egypt has since expanded its preferred body builder status to other countries, principally Portugal and South Africa.

"There are about six body builders that MAN has chosen globally on who they want to build on their chassis for a completely endorsed vehicle," Mello says.

MAN engineers from Germany went to the Egyptian body builders, along with engineers from Australia.

Mello says MAN was heavily involved with integration of the frame and chassis, and with the Australian engineers, inspected the vehicle through various build stages.

"I received reports of the build from the engineers in Germany saying it’s as good or better than anything else they have seen in the world, so we are happy with the quality and the finish of the vehicle," he says.

The Australian Elite range will come from one factory in Egypt, mated before shipment with chassis from MAN in Germany.

Along with the pre-launched 12.5 metre MAN ‘Elite’ C130 on the A69 chassis, Australian operators will soon see two other MAN Elites – a C110 and an S120 coming through the program.

The MAN Elite will be showcased at the Australian Bus and Coach Show at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney from October 5-6.

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