Over 100 people collected to watch the 6 Volvo buses crossing the Beanpole border on their way to Dhaka. While they watched them out of sheer curiosity, these buses are indeed special. They mark Volvo in India's entry into the SAARC markets.
These buses operate as premium inter-city coaches. Dhaka is the hub from where the buses carry passengers to various cities in Bangladesh. These are also the first inter-city Volvo buses to operate in Bangladesh but not the first Volvo buses. 50 double-decker Volvo city buses are already an integral part of Dhaka's city transport operations.
The premium inter-city coach sector in Bangladesh has always attracted buses from other Asian countries, primarily Japan. This is the first time that a Volvo has been chosen for this sector and the first time it's been sourced from India.
This would not have happened but for our customer's visit to the Volvo factory in Bangalore. That one visit changed everything. In fact, the customer was so impressed by the Volvo B7R's competitiveness that he actually disposed his entire existing bus fleet of 8 buses - making way for Volvo B7Rs and the induction of an entirely new concept and quality in bus travel.
SAARC customers have been importing products from Europe and Japan for long and it's important to exhibit the international quality being produced in India. Volvo products produced in India operate under the same quality inspection system as that practiced across all Volvo factories around the world. This allows customers in SAARC countries a choice to opt for an international product without having to spend the extra cost importing from distant countries.
The entry into a SAARC nation comes 18 months after Volvo Buses were introduced in India and also marks the second phase in the Volvo Bus introduction into India. In the first phase, Volvo kept its focus in the South & West of India. The aim being to grow with proper customer focus and build the right support infrastructure. With this achieved, these $ buses are ready to move to the North of India and SAARC nations as well.
Driver training being an important aspect in this order - the customer's drivers from Bangladesh were trained at Volvo Driver Training Centre at Bangalore. Volvo in India also imparted intensive technical training to the customer's mechanics -Swedish Trading Corporation - the company that will support the customer in Bangladesh.
The Volvo B7R bus supplied to the customer in Bangladesh is the same configuration as that supplied to customers in India - it has a 260hp turbocharged intercooler engine, 45 seats, air suspension on all axles, integrated air-conditioning and is built on a true bus chassis.
"Even though Bangladesh has been importing buses for many years, the high-performing Volvo B7Rs are slated to establish a new level of comfort and safety levels for passengers in the country. The journey has begun", says Akash Passey, General Manager, Volvo Buses.