The annual South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA) conference at the CSIR in Pretoria was the draw-card for the Who’s Who in passenger transport circles. Adding to the agenda of this year’s event, MAN Automotive showcased the next generation of their Lion’s Explorer bus bodywork – proudly produced at the well-known MAN Bus & Coach assembly plant in Olifantsfontein.
MAN has been dominating the passenger transportation market in southern Africa for more than a decade now as the market leader for commuter buses with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 8,5 tons and above. MAN offers a total bus solution. Its chassis are married to an own in-house body, and this ensures an integrated engineering solution with a tried and tested pedigree.
Elaborating on this well-timed launch, Head of MAN Bus & Coach sales, Philip Kalil-Zackey, says: “The new generation of Lion’s Explorer buses are clearly integrated into the family of MAN Lion’s buses available to customers around the globe. We are very proud as Team South Africa to build a bus locally which clearly has evolved in its aesthetic appearance, and no doubt will become a welcome addition to the hundreds of vehicles deployed so successfully over the last decade or so.
“We have taken two decades of passenger transport expertise, combined with the on-going inputs from our very experienced customers, and integrated all that know-how into the global developments of our Lion’s buses. The result is a completely new bus body, with modern European styling, that includes the DNA requirements of arduous African operating conditions.”
Looking at the new product, the flowing lines will certainly be eye-catching, whilst resulting in improved fuel efficiency through the lower drag co-efficient. The fuel consumption reducing aerodynamics are striking, with LED style daytime running lights enhancing the European elegance of the new styling.
The South African public will certainly also be pleasantly impressed with the rear-end styling of the bus, which incorporates a completely new design of complete rear dome with top class taillight layout.
MAN Automotive Managing Director, Markus Geyer, states: “We are very proud to continue and expand our local production of commuter buses with a product that includes all previous USPs, as well as having the blessing of our product engineers, who are driving technological developments at an international level.
“Our ongoing participation in the industry has allowed MAN to associate with the best local passenger transport engineers and passenger transport executives available. We are grateful for the ongoing inputs given to us by our customers who know this market intimately, and understand what makes for safe, durable and reliable technology.
We have proudly incorporated this expertise into our new design, whilst always matching the exacting engineering standards demanded from a group perspective in our own organisation.
“Having such a locally produced product to showcase at the SABOA’s annual gathering enabled a wide variety of industry stakeholders to share in a fantastic good-news-story,” Geyer says.
Kalil-Zackey concludes: “This is just another example of our on-going commitment to South Africa and the world-class passenger transport companies situated here. This is the result of teamwork between stakeholders, enabling solutions which add value to our economy.”
Team MAN has every right to be proud of this brand new offering, which is locally produced, and they are looking forward to the continued success of the Lion’s Explorer’s second generation of offerings.