Higer dawn

Long-established Brisbane automotive dealer – Zupps – has found a new market for Higer in airport shuttle work

Higer dawn
Higer dawn

By David Goeldner | January 19, 2011

Soon after WMC opened its new Brisbane dealership late in 2010, local agent Tony Coccetti quickly started taking orders for the Chinese-built Higer range.

A niche in airport shuttle business has surfaced for the Higer RoadBoss, featured on the cover of the 2011 Bus Search buyers’ directory released this month.

"I see great opportunities for buses anywhere between 28 seats and 57 seats," Coccetti says.

"Higer provide a wide range of product, and 2011 is going to be bigger and better."

Coccetti spent ten years with International trucks and a further ten years with Scania, and is now in his ninth year with Zupps Trucks, where the WMC agency is based.

His service background makes it easier to help customers with the right products and specifications.

Coccetti’s new role as Manager for Higer Bus and Coach at Zupps means he will look after the Brisbane and Gold Coast market.

The 12.2 metre 57-seat Higer RoadBoss is already proving a winner at the new agency.

"It’s ideal for charter work and airport pickups, and short haul work," he says.

Coccetti sold three units to Con-X-ion the Gold Coast within the first month of business.

"We believe it’s the right bus for Con-X-ion’s operation."

From his long background in trucks, Coccetti believes the Cummins engine, Allison transmission and Meritor axles make for standout features in the Higer range.

"You’ve got a complete American driveline which a lot of customers see as a benefit," he says.

"The body is very well put together and good value for money."

The top of the range RoadBoss comes in at about $300,000 plus GST and on-road costs.

"You are looking at anywhere between $30,000 to $40,000 savings on a similar European design," Coccetti says.

The Brisbane agency kicked off with Euro 4 vehicles, but expects Euro 5 will become the standard offering early in 2011, running AdBlue with the Cummins engine to meet the Euro 5 specification.

Coccetti will be adding the 28-seater Munro to the southern Queensland dealership soon, and half way through 2011 expects to see a 12 seat Higer to compete against the Toyota Commuter range.

The 12.2 metre RoadBoss will remain the largest Higer bus in Australia, although Coccetti is looking with interest at the prospect of WMC bringing the 3-axle Higer from China at some stage.

From order to delivery where customers specify options, Coccetti says operators could expect sixteen weeks from order to on-road in Australia.

"Which is quite good compared to getting an opposition chassis built in Australia, which could take anywhere from six to twelve months," he says.

Coccetti says the standard vehicle comes with Higer AC, but can be optioned with the ever-popular Thermo King, and can also be optioned with different destination boards and side windows, among other extras.

He has also formed a relationship with Bodyline – a division of Mills Tui – at northern Brisbane suburb Brendale for modified body work, such as complete through bins from near to outer side of the bus, depending on customer requests.

Zupps Truck and Bus Centre is the third member of the AHG Group to get on board with the Higer range, with agencies already established in Perth and Melbourne in 2010 and more to follow soon.

He says a major private Brisbane operator is currently considering investing in the Higer Ryder 8.5 metre mid-sized coach.

"We may even put on a Ryder demonstrator depending on stock if the interest keeps increasing," Coccetti says.

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