Swedish commercial vehicle giant is all set to turn the heat on Indian bus makers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland. The value bus brand from Volvo will be a global bus brand that will sell not just in India but in emerging markets in Latin America and Asia. South Africa too will be a destination from Volvo’s new “Value” bus range. The car and commercial vehicle maker from Sweden is expected to announce the name of the value bus brand later this year. Production of the first buses under the new value bus brand from Volvo will be kick started in 2014 from India.
Volvo’s bus making facility near Bangalore, India, will be the factory where the buses under the Value brand will be produced. By 2015, Volvo plans to produce no less than 5,000 buses from this factory that currently has a capacity to produce about 1,500 to 1,700 buses annually. The big growth in production is expected to come largely from Volvo’s new value bus brand. The value bus brand from Volvo is expected to be clearly demarcated from the luxury line of buses that Volvo is typically known for. So, by 2014, expect two bus brands from Volvo, a low cost brand and a high end luxury brand.
Brand Volvo in India, is known for luxury buses. In fact, the very mention of the word Volvo in India conjures up images of luxury buses doing duty on both city and inter-state routes. Such has been the impact of Volvo’s luxury buses that many high end buses on inter-state routes are simply referred to as Volvos irrespective of their brands. Allured by Volvo’s success in the Indian luxury bus market, global commercial vehicle giants like Daimler and Scania have made a beeline for a pie in the growing Indian bus market, which is incidentally the largest in the world.
Daimler sells its high luxury buses under the Mercedes Benz brand while Scania will begin selling its own luxury bus range from later this year. Indian bus makers too have joined the luxury bus bandwagon with competitively priced products. Tata Motors has the high end Divo inter city luxury bus while Ashok Leyland has the ULE range of city luxury buses. Fiat’s Iveco is said to be mulling an entry into the Indian bus and commercial vehicle sector. Meanwhile, Volvo’s entry into the lower priced luxury bus market in India has the potential of shaking up the market as Volvo is known to typically load its buses with high technology, features and safety.