China-based Higer enter Australian bus market

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Higer produces a range of buses and coaches
Higer produces a range of buses and coaches

Imports cost 40% less than comparable current offerings from native manufacturers

CHINA Chinese-made Higer city buses will arrive in Australia within three months, at prices 40% below comparable current offerings from native manufacturers.

Importer WMC Group will also be offering a lead time of two months for the Higer buses, compared with up to nine months from rival bus manufacturers.

The Suzhou-based manufacturer already offers six different coaches across Australia, including the 7.6m Munro and the 12.3m Roadboss. They are all made in China and shipped to Australia completely built-up.

WMC Group will target operators looking to reduce their budget, with the new Higer buses to be priced at around AUS$350,000 compared with around AUS$485,000 for a similar Australian-made vehicle on an imported rolling chassis.

WMC general manager Shannon Taylor said the expanded bus range would turn Higer from one of the fastest-growing bus companies in Australia to one of the biggest. “We expect to go from 300 units a year now to a couple of thousand next year,” he said.

Mr Taylor said Higer had already gone from eighth to first among non-city bus brands in Australia in just 12 months, and commented that attractive pricing drew customers to the new Higer buses, but so did technical advantages. He added: “Price is part of the story, not the whole story.”

Higer offers both diesel and CNGpowered vehicles, with hybrid also a possibility.

The buses will be powered by Cummins engines with Allison transmissions, and are expected to go on sale from February or March.