Iveco Bus unveils its locally-built versatile bus at annual convention in Pretoria
SOUTH AFRICA Launched at the SABOA (Southern African Bus Operators Association) annual convention at the beginning of March, Iveco’s new Afriway bus range can accommodate both intercity and long-distance applications. Available initially in a 4×2 two-axle configuration (12.3m) with manual or automatic transmission, a 6×2 three-axle version (14m) is to follow.
The Afriway bus – a product of Iveco’s ‘Born in South Africa’ initiative – will be assembled locally, building on the solid foundation Iveco has established in Africa. In previous years a flourishing bus business was established by Iveco in South Africa, and in export markets including Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.
“Key elements have changed on the new Afriway,” said Iveco South Africa Works (ISAW) head of the bus division, Ray Karshagen. “While the base driveline remains the same as the Euromidi chassis, the vehicle’s suspension has been tailored to enhance ride comfort in relation to the specific bus chassis.
“Rather than right in the front, the engine is positioned over the front axle. The first and most important reason for this is better weight distribution, which enables an increased payload. The second factor is that the passenger entrance is positioned in the longer front overhang.”
To appraise durability and validate engineering changes, full product testing was carried out to cater for the often arduous off-road rural conditions – from sea level to high altitude – prevalent in South Africa, including the installation of stone guards to protect key driveline components. Demonstration units were also placed with selected customers.
Dubigeon, a renowned bus bodybuilder and established partner of Iveco, designed the Afriway’s body, and production is integrated into the ISAW plant at Rosslyn, in the suburbs of Pretoria.
Interior customisation options include a wide range of optional extras that can convert the standard vehicle from a rural commuter bus to a semi-luxury intercity vehicle, with different types of seating, trim, air-conditioning and entertainment systems available.
With increased manufacturing capacity available at the Rosslyn Plant, Iveco Bus is now able to participate in some larger volume enquiries, and will be offering the Afriway for some of the large tenders being issued by parastatal-owned companies. The company will also be targeting tender opportunities across the South African borders.
Selected dealers will have bus service and parts added to their portfolio. With the division supplying a complete bus to the market, dealership parts stockholdings will also cater for the bus body portion of the Afriway product. Dealers will also stock a range of consumables including windows, headlamps and windscreens.
An alliance forged with Iveco Capital and WesBank, a major provider of motor vehicle and business finance in South Africa, will take care of funding and financing needs, including repair and maintenance contracts concerning the complete bus. A two-year bumper-to-bumper factory warranty is offered on the complete bus, and a three-year or 300,000km (whichever occurs first) warranty covers the chassis driveline.
“We believe Total Cost of Ownership for the Afriway bus will be best-in-class, and we are confident that the product will benefit operators and passengers alike, as it traverses the city, intercity and rural roads of southern Africa,” Ray concluded.