MAN Truck & Bus chose last month’s SABOA Conference and Expo to showcase its next generation Lion’s Explorer bus with bodywork produced at the company’s assembly plant in Olifantsfontein.

According to a company statement, the MAN brand has dominated the passenger transportation sector in southern Africa for more than a decade, leading the market for commuter buses with a gross vehicle mass of 8,5 tons or more.

At the launch, Philip Kalil-Zackey, Head of MAN’s Bus & Coach sales, said the new vehicle had been fully integrated into the family of Lion’s buses available to customers around the globe.

“We are very proud as Team South Africa to have built a bus locally which clearly has evolved in its aesthetic appearance, and no doubt will become a welcome addition to the hundreds of vehicles we have deployed so successfully over the last decade or so.

“Team MAN has taken two decades of passenger transport expertise, combined with the ongoing inputs from our very experienced customers, and integrated all that know-how into the global developments of the MAN Lion’s family of buses. The result is a completely new bus body, with modern European styling, that includes the DNA requirements to meet arduous African operating conditions.”

At the front the bus features fuel consumption reducing aerodynamics and LED day-time running lights, while the rear incorporates a new design that includes dazzling taillight clusters.

Markus Geyer, MAN’s managing director, said that while some of the world’s best passenger transport engineers and passenger transport executives had been involved in the project, the company was equally grateful for the input from its customers.

“They know this market intimately, and understand what makes for safe, durable and reliable technology. We have proudly incorporated their suggestions into our new design, while aligning to the exacting engineering standards demanded from the MAN group perspective.”

Geyer added that MAN was proud to have expanded its local production capabilities. “The new generation of Lion’s Explorer bus bodies will have pride of place in our communities and will contribute to safe commuting like never before,” he maintained. “The vehicle includes all previous USPs as well as having the blessing of our product engineers who are driving technological developments at an international level.”

According to Kalil-Zackey, the new bus provided an example of MAN’s ongoing commitment to South Africa and the world-class passenger transport companies situated here. “The bus is a result of teamwork between stake-holders, enabling solutions which add value to our economy,” he said.