Setra, the premium bus and coach brand owned by DaimlerChrysler AG, has set itself the target of further increasing its seven-percent market share in the UK coach segment. Having already seen unit sales rise from 49 vehicles in 2002 to 67 vehicles in 2003, Setra supplied a total of 83 coaches and rural regular-service buses in 2004. This is equivalent to growth of 70 percent in just two years. The unveiling of two right-hand drive versions of the ComfortClass 400, which enjoyed such a successful launch in 2004, coupled with the expansion of the service network, is set to boost customer acceptance levels significantly over the coming months.
Oliver Möckesch, Managing Director of EvoBus (UK) Ltd. since March 2005: “The Setra brand has a very long-standing tradition in the UK bus and coach market, and the new right-hand drive version of the ComfortClass 400 will further underline our leading position as a premium brand in Europe.
I am confident that, with this new product and the new services on offer, the team headed by Mike Beagrie – General Manager, Setra Sales, UK and Ireland – will be able to further boost the appeal of the brand and attract many new customers to the Setra fold in the UK.”
Right-hand drive S 415 GT-HD and S 416 GT-HD models
The Setra S 415 GT-HD, measuring 12,200 mm in length, and the 13,020-mm long Setra S 416 GT-HD are ideal for use as coaches or occasional-service vehicles. A new concept introduced for this series has increased the length of the vehicle by 200 mm, creating extra space in the front-entrance area, increasing the flow of passengers and, as a consequence, boosting overall economic efficiency. Both vehicles are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz OM 457 LA engine developing 310 kW/422 hp and a GO 190/210 six-speed manual transmission. Optional equipment includes a ZF-AS Tronic 12-speed automated manual transmission.
The two ComfortClass 400 models supersede the S 315 GT-HD models from the outgoing 300 series, of which a total of 281 units have been sold in the UK, Ireland and Cyprus since market launch in September 1998.
Initial customer vehicles are scheduled for delivery in the autumn. Setra is already represented in the UK market by the right-hand drive S 415 HD model measuring 12,000 mm in length, which was introduced in 2002. Part of the current TopClass 400 coach generation, this model rounds off the top end of the high-quality coach segment. Like the ComfortClass 400, the S 415 HD is equipped with high-tech safety systems such as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Brake Assist (BA).
Expansion of the service network
After-sales activities are also being extended. As part of its on-going expansion program, the service network opened a new service centre in the Southall district of London in the third quarter of last year.
Formed in 1998, the EvoBus United Kingdom subsidiary is based in Coventry, situated around 100 miles to the north of the nation's capital. There are now seven service outlets for customers in the UK.
Even before Kässbohrer United Kingdom Ltd. was formed in 1981, UK coach operators held Setra vehicles in very high esteem, largely thanks to the notable successes notched up at major UK coach rallies, which boosted the profile of the Ulm-based manufacturer within the industry. Year after year, Setra double-decker and S 215 HD models won coveted trophies at events like the British Coach Rally in the seaside resort of Brighton and the National Coach Rally in Blackpool. Originally based in Bordon (in the county of Hampshire, near London), the company moved to a new site in Lincoln in 1989 following a major programme of investment there, predominantly in workshops and parts stores.
The expansive move into the UK market was ventured on the back of good customer relations and, even 20 years ago, was seen as an investment in the future of Europe. Following the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1993, Setra wanted to provide its customers in the British Isles with highly capable, company-owned outlets for service and life-cycle support.
Setra milestones and innovations
1893: The company is founded
1951: The first Setra product line (S 8) is introduced in Europe
1955: Coaches with the first independent air suspension are exhibited at the German Motor Show in Frankfurt. The Setra S 6 is presented at the Geneva Motor Show
1959: First modular Setra system and Europe’s first articulated with load-bearing body structure
1963: The 10 series comprising six models is introduced
1964: Setra is the first bus and coach manufacturer to adopt a retarder (a wear-free continuous brake)
1967: Setra introduces the 100 series with independent front suspension as a standard feature
1971: The first S 130 is delivered to the UK
1976: Setra introduces the 200 series with an innovative cross-flow ventilation system. During its 15 years of production, Setra manufactures an extra-long model and Europe’s first low-floor overland coach
1984: Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) become standard on Setra coaches
1986: Delivery of Setra number 40,000
1990: Hand-over of Setra number 50,000 in Berlin
1991: The European 300 series is introduced in Europe with modern body styling and an ergonomic driver’s area
1992: The Setra S 315 HDH is voted “Coach of the Year 1993”
1996: The Setra S 315 NF is voted “Bus of the Year 96”
1998: Opening of the service centre in Coventry and market launch of the right-hand drive S 315 GT-HD in the UK
2001: Setra’s TopClass 400 is introduced in Europe, with distinctive styling and state-of-the-art technology. The same year, this new coach generation is voted “Coach of the Year 2002” at “Busworld Kortrijk”
2002: Presentation of the S 431 DT double-deck coach at the German International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover. Introduction of the right-hand drive S 415 HD for countries with left-hand rule of the road. The thousandth TopClass 400 vehicle is sold
2003: The S 417 (USA) for the North American market is officially introduced at the UMA (United Motorcoach Association) event in Orlando, Florida. At the “Coach & Bus” exhibition held in Birmingham, England the right-hand-drive S 415 HD coach was shown for the first time at a trade fair. Sale of the 1,500th TopClass 400 coach.From October 2003 on, all TopClass 400 and ComfortClass 400 coaches have the ESP Electronic Stability Program as standard equipment. Two vehicles from the new ComfortClass 400 generation are presented at “Busworld Kortrijk”
2004: The Setra S 415 GT is presented at the Hanover IAA Commercial Vehicle Show. With this fourth vehicle, the line-up in the Setra ComfortClass 400 is complete
2005: EvoBus celebrates its 10th birthday on February 23. During this ten-year period, Setra successfully launched three model series (MultiClass 300, TopClass 400 and ComfortClass 400) including vehicles measuring over 12 metres in length. The beginning of March marks 50 years since the Setra S 6 compact bus was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1955.