Major order for 460 Mercedes-Benz travel coaches
Investment of around €1 million in East London plant, South Africa
Daimler Buses will deliver 460 Mercedes-Benz brand coaches to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. The vehicles were ordered by Autopax Passenger Service Ltd. based in Pretoria, the company is South Africa’s largest operator of regular-service long-distance coaches. Delivery of the Mercedes-Benz travel coaches is set to commence already in December 2009, with the last of the 460 vehicles to be delivered to the customer in late April 2010. Autopax transports almost four million passengers in South Africa each year. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
“We are delighted that we’ve landed such an important contract for the World Cup in South Africa,” says Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses. “It shows what a great reputation Mercedes-Benz buses have worldwide and how much confidence our customers have in them. At 460 vehicles, Daimler Buses is delivering by far the largest number of coaches for upcoming top-events in South Africa.”
Mercedes-Benz do Brasil will ship the chassis of the 460 type O 500 RSD coaches to Mercedes-Benz South Africa as CKD parts that will be assembled at the Mercedes-Benz plant in East London, South Africa. The coach bodies will be manufactured in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Daimler Buses’ close partner Marcopolo. The major order will help considerably to safeguard the future of the production location in South Africa. Daimler Buses has invested around €1 million in the East London plant to increase its bus production capacity. Part of the investment was used to expand the workforce. Daimler Buses has around 50 employees in East London. The 460 Mercedes-Benz coaches will be financed by Daimler Financial Services South Africa.
“With this order we are not only expanding the sales volume of buses in South Africa, but also handling vehicle maintenance,” says Holger Suffel, Head of Sales at Daimler Buses. “This underlines our competency as professional service provider.”
The Mercedes-Benz O 500 RSD is equipped with a fully electronic management engine with 260 kW output of power. The vehicles will be fitted with a fully automatic transmission with integrated retarder, which has recently been introduced to the product range. The automatic transmission has a number of driving and safety benefits, as it allows the driver to concentrate on stress-free-driving, with the gearbox shifting automatically on demand, and is ideal for inter-city transportation.
Passenger safety and comfort are prime considerations, so both the coaches with seating capacity for 52 and 61 persons are fitted with seat-belts all-round. The coaches are fully equipped with air-conditioning, entertainment equipment including DVD and MP3 player and monitors, and microphone facilities.