BUSES

Daimler Trucks & Buses South Africa introduces two new bus products

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FUSO Trucks SA and Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach - both wholly owned by Daimler AG - are optimistic about the future of their recently launched products, the FUSO Canter Bus and the Mercedes-Benz Midi Bus, built on the OF 917 RF chassis.

With FUSO continuing to grow its range, the latest Canter Bus has impressed not only its customers but also an array of industry experts. First, it made history by being the first commercial vehicle to receive the Automotive Researchers and Journalists' Conference's "Car of the Year Special Award 2013."  This was followed in Ireland by the accolade of "Best Energy Efficient Product Award" being bestowed on this impressive vehicle.

Rich in a 52-year-old heritage associated with reliability and performance, the Canter Bus continues to apply FUSO's long-standing global branding to the future of transport technology in South Africa.

"The Canter Bus is indicative of our pioneering spirit of always moving forward for our customers and society. As we continuously refine the Canter - including the bus - so that it remains at the forefront of the transport industry, we ensure that we do this in consultation with all our stakeholders," said Godfrey Hani, Head of FUSO Trucks SA. "As a vehicle that is set to dominate the transport industry, the Canter Bus offers newly developed drivetrains. Our FUSO designers and engineers went beyond the ordinary and put everything they know about powertrain technology and efficiency into the new Canter Bus," added Hani.

The Canter Bus' new 4P10 twin camshaft,  four valves per cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder diesel engine is coupled to an advanced DUONIC 6-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transmission - the only dual-clutch transmission available in a bus.

What the Canter Bus does extremely well is to maximise efficiency and lower the total cost of ownership while being one of the most practical vehicles to own and operate. With the combination of the 4P10 engine and DUONIC transmission, fuel efficiency targets are achieved. The Eco-mode further improves efficiency; the dual clutch provides a soft shift that needs no maintenance and achieves the lowest shift shock in its class.

As one of the smoothest-running, easiest-to-drive buses on the market, the Canter  Bus offers a significant increase in the length of the service intervals up to 25 000km in some applications and a two-year unlimited kilometre warranty bumper to bumper also contributes significantly to lower cost of ownership.

Drivers were also top of mind when the Canter Bus was designed, as its features include stabilisers for the front and rear, ABS, EBD, disc brakes all-round, air-conditioning, and central locking to mention but a few. Being part of the Daimler AG stable also means that the Canter Bus benefits from competitive service and maintenance rates.

In the same Daimler stable as the FUSO Canter Bus is the new Mercedes-Benz OF 917 RF, a raised-floor bus chassis with a front-mounted 170hp engine with a 9-ton Gross Vehicle Weight.

The MidiBus chassis will be equipped with 22 to 40-seater bus bodies, ideal for the commuter and coach segments. Produced at the Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) plant in the south eastern Indian city of Chennai, the Mercedes-Benz OF 917 RF bus chassis was built not only to be comfortable for passengers, but also for the driver.

The pure bus chassis makes it body builder-friendly as it comes with shock absorbers, a 6-speed manual gearbox, front and rear leaf spring suspension, all resulting in the OF 917 RF being comfortable not only for the passengers but also for the driver.

The 4D34i inline diesel engine with electronic diesel control is the heart of the chassis, offering common rail injection with a peak pressure of 1600 bar, an exhaust brake system that comes as standard fitment as well as a twin-valve mechanism in both inlet and  exhaust. In addition to a notably quiet operation complemented by efficient engine cooling for peak performance in all operating conditions, flat engine torque ensures higher pulling power and low gear shifts. All these features mean that the engine is one of the most frugal units available.

"The new Mercedes-Benz OF 917 RF bus chassis is the perfect example of what happens when Daimler's trusted expertise is combined with our valued customers' inputs: the perfect product," says Dirk Ansorge, Head of Mercedes-Benz South Africa Bus & Coach.

"With the addition of the MidiBus, Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach now offers an even more comprehensive product line-up, making us the leader in the bus market. We look forward to bolstering our already impressive buses with the new MidiBus. " he adds.

Daimler's high-quality offerings in the guise of the FUSO Canter Bus and the Mercedes-Benz OF 917 RF bus chassis benefit from technologically advanced production processes, enabling the final products to rank as some of the most competitive in the bus market.

"With these two unmatched products we continue to cement our place as leader in the bus market, a fact backed up by our performance last year," says Kobus van Zyl, Executive Director Daimler Trucks & Buses.

"Since the bus business for Daimler Trucks and Buses is closely linked and driven by tender business, we have no doubt that the FUSO Canter Bus and the Mercedes-Benz OF 917 RF bus chassis will ensure we continue delivering reliable and safe mobility solutions not only for tenders but for the overall bus market," concludes Van Zyl.

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