CHASSIS ‘FORWARD ORDERS’ ASSIST BUS BODY-BUILDER CASHFLOW

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Scania Australia


SCANIA AUSTRALIA is standing ‘ready to deliver’ by ordering a range of vehicles for charter and school bus operations to support Australian bus body-builders during the present downturn in retail demand, it reports recently.

CHASSIS ‘FORWARD ORDERS’ ASSIST BUS BODY-BUILDER CASHFLOW
While the chassis forward order should help local bus body builders now, the planning for the roll-out of Scania's battery-electric chassis begins early next year - with operations planned by mid-2022,” Scania Australia director of Sales for Bus and Engines, Julian Gurney, confirms.

"We understand how critical it is for bodybuilders to be able to maintain their staff and their cashflow, and so we have taken the decision to invest further in the local manufacturing industry," said Scania Australia director of Sales for Bus and Engines, Julian Gurney.

"In the normal course of events we would typically only stock the Scania-Higer range of buses, but our reading of the market and the industry was that we needed to step in to assist our partners, as retail orders slowed as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns.

"Public transport and school service suspension or reduction as a result of the lockdowns has hit bus operators very hard across all the eastern states and South Australia, with the knock-on effect impacting bodybuilders all around the country," he explained.

"Scania has ordered bodies from a range of body builders including Volgren, Express Bus & Coach, Coach Concepts and Coach Design, and we also have some ethanol-powered Scania chassis in build at Bustech for a long-term project in Mackay.

"The upside for us will be that when demand returns, we will have vehicles ready to go, requiring just seating installations and other minor accessories as per the specific demands of the individual operators," Gurney said.

Scania Stock school bus DSC_1948.jpg

REFINING RUNNNG COSTS

"We are confident that it is just a matter of time before the market regains a semblance of normality, and the reality of replacement cycles returns," he continued.

"The Federal Government’s roadmap includes an easing of restrictions once we achieve 70–80 per cent vaccination levels and, at current take-up rates, this should be a reality by the end of the year.

"Across Australia the absence of inbound tourism has been strongly felt by operators in the charter and tourism sector. For all those working in this segment, I know the long-awaited upturn in domestic tourism - which the opening of state borders is expected to bring - can’t come soon enough," Gurney stated emphatically.

Additionally, the impact of the pandemic may be a good time for operators to review their business operating principles, and Scania has many advantages to offer businesses looking to reduce or refine their running costs, it states.

"This starts with an offer from Scania Finance Australia to provide an alternative source of funding, while our repair and maintenance contracts deliver known and predictable running costs, as well as total peace-of-mind that the vehicle will be cared for by expert technicians, and only fitted with genuine Scania replacement parts for ultimate uptime reliability," he confirmed.

Julian Gurney Scania Sales Director Bus and Engines 2021 DSC_6253.jpg

SOLID SUPPORT

Gurney was quick to point out that one of Scania Australia’s key advantages in the Australian market is that its company-owned workshops are staffed by expert, fully qualified technicians with access to the latest tooling, diagnostic resources and replacement parts.

They are also experienced in maintaining Scania products, which means faster turnaround of regular maintenance and repairs, he says.

In addition, Scania Australia has a nationwide network of authorised independent dealers, which has similar access to Scania’s knowledge base. Combined, these two networks strive to support our customer pledge of maximum uptime for Scania buses and coaches, Gurney explains.

"Further, Scania advantages include our driver training and fleet-monitoring systems, which allow operators to see exactly how their fuel budget is being burned, and to pinpoint areas where savings can be made," he stated.

"Examples of these savings are through reduced idling, or by finessing driving styles to reduce harsh acceleration or braking. These are all big fuel-wasters," he said.

"As more and more Australian business turn towards sustainable business models, Scania has ‘here and now’ solutions that are ready to hit the road for the bus industry.

"Our bio-diesel ready engines can help cut CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent (well-to-wheel) and our hybrid-electric engines can save up to 25 per cent in diesel consumption.

Scania stock bus for schools lDSC_2012.jpg

"These are solutions all operators can plug into their fleets immediately, and they are moves that could encourage higher levels of patronage, particularly among inner city dwellers who have expressed strong desires for more environmentally friendly transport," Gurney stated.

"The planning for the roll-out of our battery-operated electric chassis will begin early next year, and we anticipate having product ready to begin operations by mid-2022," he confirmed.

"In the interim, with our stock on the ground now built, we stand ready to deliver Australian-built buses to the market with immediate availability," Gurney concluded.

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