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Old 8th February 2007, 20:23   #1
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Default Think Volvo Buses, think safety? Think again!

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Over 50 travel agencies in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa are extremely dissatisfied with the poor quality of buses provided by Volvo India Pvt Ltd.

“Even ST buses have a better quality body,” rued Malik Patel, who owns six Volvo buses. “The body is in such a bad condition that a loose part can end up injuring a traveller. Two years ago, a passer-by was killed when a door broke loose due to a faulty lock and hit him,” he added.

Agreed Kotak, who purchased six Volvo buses three years ago. “The body develops problems very soon. It also leaks during monsoons.The floor of the bus is so weak that it develops holes,” he said.

After paying an enormous amount for these buses, all we get is a poor-quality product and equally bad service,” complained Patel.Purchasing Volvo buses was a regrettably bad deal, feels Chandakant Chheda who works with Neeta Travels, the first agency to introduce these buses in Maharashtra.
Source:State bus owners not happy with quality of Volvos
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:16   #2
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What is sold in India as a Volvo bus, has a body built by
Jaico Automotive Engineers (JAE), Azad Group in Bangalore.

In the absence of safety regulations in our hapless country, any box can serve as a bus body without violating our prehistoric legal system. With state-of-the-art vehicles plying at state-of-the-art speeds, isn't it time that we also have state-of-the-art safety norms?

Last edited by Ram : 8th February 2007 at 21:17.
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:20   #3
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Volvo would have been under pressure to do something abt that 2 kmpl mileage of the B7Rs. That and the quintessential cost cutting. I hope Volvo India havent got carried away by the market lead they have and developed attitude issues.

Btw, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation - which is the single largest fleet operator of Volvos in India, have very well maintained Volvos that seem to be built solidly, inspite of having run on the reviled Sakleshpur-Mangalooru war-bombed NH
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:24   #4
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Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Btw, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation - which is the single largest fleet operator of Volvos in India, have very well maintained Volvos that seem to be built solidly, inspite of having run on the reviled Sakleshpur-Mangalooru war-bombed NH
I agree. I recently had been to Dharwad by KSRTC Volvo and had come back to Bangalore by a volvo operated by one of the private operators. No prizes for guessing which one was better.
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:31   #5
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Angry I support Volvo...

I am a big fan of Volvo Buses and will always be.
If anybody asks me personally, I am totally against this "report".

To all bus operators who blame Volvo, this is an open letter to you:

How many of the so called bus operators whether state owned or private know how to maintain these buses? From what I can see, they are neither maintained nor serviced properly. If anything is broken or malfunctioning, it is never repaired. That part is just kept on to deteriorate and break in glory. To quote an example, there is a MSRTC Volvo "Shivneri" running along Mumbai-Pune route (reg. no. MH-11-T-9231 if I am not wrong) which had suffered from an accident atleast a year ago, where its rear end was damaged and it is still isn't repaired. I see it almost everyday. Neeta Travels' Volvo are the worst of the lot. Most of them are
abused so much as if they are some trucks. By paying 60 lakh rupees doesn't mean that a vehicle is invincible irrespective of how much you abuse it. This is what the people need to understand.

People, you need to understand that the Volvo B7R is a delicate vehicle which requires regular maintenance and a rusty State Transport bus (rather a truck which has a bus body) can NEVER be compared to a Volvo B7R.

A classic example of the apathy of the bus operators was the accident which took a year ago of a Patel Travels Volvo in Gujarat where it rammed into a truck and caught fire. And people couldn't escape because they thought that the bus didn't have an emergency exit. Infact, Volvo buses have fire extinguishers apart from emergency exits. Instead of blaming the operator for not informing the people about the exit arrangements, these "journalists" went on to criticise Volvo without confirming the facts. Anyway, the Indian media is highly biased towards some issues.

if I have offended any TeamBHPian....
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:39   #6
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Completely agree with you salil.

On volvos part I feel they should increase the number of service centres considering the rise in the number of B7R's on the road.

Last edited by rahul_intlad : 8th February 2007 at 21:42.
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:44   #7
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salilpawar1 - good point abt the maintenance or lack of, thereof. During my sojourns across India, I havent noticed any consistenly maintained private - or where exists, government Volvos. On a Konduskar Volvo that I'd made the mistake of traveling from Aurangabad to Pune in, the window was completely unglued - was flapping freely when the bus went over a disturbance, the seat adjustment was not working, and when the bus stopped at Smiles Stop on the Nagar Road, I noticed it had non-OEM non-radial JK tyres which were chewed. And I also noticed the body panels adjacent to the luggage compartments below were actually loose and torn.

I bet that that bus hadnt seen a service since 1.5 years.
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Old 8th February 2007, 21:46   #8
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I totally agree with you....this private operaters just abuse their Volvo fleet as if they have paid a slave under a one time investment and thats it...

Abhi
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Old 8th February 2007, 22:19   #9
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Exactly the same topic I was discussing with my dad a few days ago. With an investment that big, the operators dont ever take them off service for maintainance. But even then, I think the state owned "Shivneri" buses are in a slightly better condition than the private ones.
I had a travelled from Pune to Kolhapur in one of Konduskar's Volvos when it was just a day old (even then, it was the vehicles 3rd trip) and I see a world of difference between now and then.
Some Neeta buses have cracked body panels along with smashed/broken tailamps and yes...some even have non-OEM tyres.
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Old 8th February 2007, 22:30   #10
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slightly off topic, but i was rather amused the other day to see one of Punes infamous PMT busses sporting nylon retreaded michelin radials!

and yes, the MSRTC vovlos are much better maintained than the private fleets...im a frequent traveller on both...
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Old 9th February 2007, 00:39   #11
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Question But..........

Hi

I completely agree with last few posts criticising the bus operators....

BUT...

hasnt that been the case in India since.... forever!! Dont the bus manufacturers know that? I thought that manufacturers design and manufacturr cars/buses/trucks for the local market to meet local needs!?

I agree that any bus/truck can NOT run as a "new vehicle" within days of going into operation. But havent the Indian companies like TATA and Ashok Leyland managed to build buses and trucks that keep going even after being battered to death? Their floors dont cave in....their dont flung open everyday.

And Volvo, a company famous for its safe vehicles, who promised to redefine the Indian HGV market, should have set a new benchmark... a benchmark such as Ford Ikondid in its segment..... Swift has done (sort of) in its segment.. Renault Logan and Tata's 1 lakh car would do.

Volvo should have known better that their customers (who would have always been private HGV operators) would treat the vehicles as they have always done. And then attended to the problems arising from them. From above, all that seems that they have managed to do is match the quality of Indian buses and attempted to lower the price by doing so.....

I have got no sympathy with either of the parties involved here. The private operators as they cant respect their business tools (buses) and Volvo, who despite big promises, havent met the local needs.

Thanks
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PS:
These are MY opinions and not intended to challenge or hurt any fellow BHPians. And more importantly, I, personally have NOT witnessed any Volvo buses being treated good or bad in India. the comments are based on the discussions in the above replies to this topic.
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Old 9th February 2007, 00:45   #12
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Salil, I thought along the same lines as you did, but I still give benefit of doubt to operators on 2 counts.

1) They say that Volvo doesn't have enough service stations in and around Mumbai. If current service station is busy then obviously it will take much longer to get anything repaired. In turn, they end up losing revenue, which further leads to delay in getting things fixed.

2) The body is built not by Volvo and is done by a local coach builder, as Ram mentioned. While one can be sure about the chasis and engine, which comes from Volvo, it's difficult to be so confident about coach build quality.
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Old 9th February 2007, 01:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX135 View Post
2) The body is built not by Volvo and is done by a local coach builder, as Ram mentioned. While one can be sure about the chasis and engine, which comes from Volvo, it's difficult to be so confident about coach build quality.
I would disagree here. If Volvo gets work done outside from any vendor & is confident enough to slap it's badge onto it then it should also take the flak for poor worksmanship. It is after all their company which approved & commissioned the work to the vendors company, so there is no way they cannot be held repsonsible for any problems.

Let me put it to you this way - Say you buy a bus from Volvo, knowing zilch about where it's made or assembled or whatever. Now after a week the bus develops a problem with its door so who do you go back to? The vendor who did it for Volvo or Volvo themselves? Ofcourse you only know Volvo & you go to them, it is the last of the consumer's concern who's fault in the manufacturing process the problem arises from. I buy from Volvo so I blame Volvo as simple as that.
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Old 9th February 2007, 01:14   #14
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@iraghava, I was giving benefit of doubt to Coach Operators and not to Volvo I agree with you.

What I meant was that, with third party vendor coming into picture, there is a chance that quality might have slipped down. So, operators might be right in complaining about shoddy build quality.
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Old 9th February 2007, 09:49   #15
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Hmmm.... the fact that Volvo has just one service centre in Mumbai region might be one of the reasons.

Quote:
The body develops problems very soon. It also leaks during monsoons.The floor of the bus is so weak that it develops holes,” he said.
The bus floor will ofcourse develop holes if it is driven flat out on our so-called "national highways" consisting of infinite potholes and also because of driving through knee deep water in monsoons. Yes, they will leak if a shattered window is not replaced by glass but by pieces of wood/cardboard/thermocol and duct tape.

Quote:
“Even ST buses have a better quality body,” rued Malik Patel
This is exaggeration at its best. The red STs which we have in Maharashtra feel that they will fall apart at any second. Listen Volvo, you have serious competition from ST buses...LOL!!

Quote:
“The body is in such a bad condition that a loose part can end up injuring a traveller. Two years ago, a passer-by was killed when a door broke loose due to a faulty lock and hit him,” he added.
This a serious problem and Volvo should take a look into the matter, if it is really due to a manufacturing defect. But anyway, a regular bus with a loose part would have got into even more trouble.

I am not trying to make any blanket statements but just pointing harsh facts which all of us know.

Anyway, if Volvo didn't care about safety, they would have never offered tubeless radial tyres, ABS (optional) and stuff like that at all...
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