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Wednesday, Mar 13, 2002

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Volvo expects to launch sleeper buses in 6 months

Our Bureau

Mr Akash Passey, General Manager, Volvo Bus Division, posing in front of a Volvo B7R luxury bus in Chennai on Tuesday.

CHENNAI, March 12

VOLVO India Pvt Ltd plans to introduce sleeper buses in about six months, the company's General Manager, Bus Division, Mr Akash Passey, told a press conference here today.

He said that the company would raise the indigenisation level from around 20 per cent now to 50 per cent in two years' time.

Volvo India first launched its buses in October and believes it can sell 100 buses every year. Its buses, with several "superior features" such as better mileage, higher seating capacity, larger storage space and electrical retarded-aided braking, are sold at around Rs 40 lakh, or about 35 per cent higher than Ashok Leyland's or Tata Engineering's luxury buses

In response to a question, Mr Passey said that he did not foresee any fall in the prices of Volvo buses, even though both production and indigenisation would be ramped up, because "all that has already been factored into the prices".

Mr Passey said that Volvo buses were running in about half a dozen stretches, mostly out of Bangalore. He said that a feedback exercise showed that 90 per cent of the customers were willing to pay higher fares for better facilities.

He mentioned the higher power of (imported) engines (260 hp as against around 120 hp of other buses), crumple zone for safety and air suspension as some of the superior features of Volvo buses.

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