Crossbred coach announced

Mercedes-Benz has struck a deal with Australian-owned Chinese bus manufacturer BCI

Crossbred coach announced
Cross-bred coach announced

March 15, 2012

European chassis supplier Mercedes-Benz is collaborating with Australian-owned Chinese bus manufacturer BCI as part of a new strategy to target price-conscious small and medium-sized operators.

In a new arrangement unveiled this week, Mercedes will send its 0500 R chassis to BCI’s production facility in Xiamen, China, to be combined with an adapted BCI Classmaster body.

BCI CEO Ivan Furlanetto says the new BCI-Mercedes 0500R model, which is designed for school and charter applications, will carry both the Mercedes and BCI badge.

He says the new model has the potential to increase BCI’s appeal, as many Australian operators have a long association with Benz.

"There is a two-fold benefit with this model, as it expands the product suite to our current customers and increases appeal to new customers that hadn’t previously considered a BCI," Furlanetto says.

"Key to BCI's business strategy has been a focus on penetrating new markets, and for BCI the new alliance marks the expansion of the brands global reach, while seeing a return to BCIs strong home markets of Australia and New Zealand."

Mercedes-Benz Australia Bus and Coach Group General Manager Jan Moreth says due to the changing market in Australia, the company will focus more on small to medium-sized operators.

"While this new product is a direct result of a customer requirement it also offers a powerful mix appealing to other steadfast Mercedes customers and broadening the reach of the Mercedes brand," Moreth says.

He says the synergy between companies is a logical step as BCI holds strong market share in these segments.

"BCI is very close to their customers and transforms their needs into products in the shortest possible time. It is an innovative solution because they are complete bus builders and not a body manufacturer," Moreth says.

The Euro 5-compliant model has already been placed on a Western Australian Public Transport Authority school bus contract, with one of the flagship models performing both PTA school bus and general charter services.

The two flagship vehicles of the new model were built at the BCI production facility in southern China and were delivered to Fremantle Port last month.

The new model will be on display at the upcoming QBIC Conference on the Gold Coast and enquiries can be made through Mercedes-Benz and BCI sales networks in Australia.

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