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Old 8th June 2009, 19:02   #1
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Default Comprehensive Luxury Bus Comparison

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on BHP! My main interest in the Indian automotive sector is buses. I am in the middle of a feasibility study of running my own bus company and found many of the comments on this website to be tremendously useful. As a thank you, I want to begin sharing knowledge of whatever I myself have found out while doing my research.

I thought I would use this thread as an opportunity for all of us to share what we know about the major bus manufacturers and their flagship products and form an easy to use comparison for all the information. Some of us are interested in price. Some of us are interested in technical details. Still others are interested in ride quality/comfort. Hopefully this thread will become a one-stop shop for learning more about top of the line volvo-type buses from all the manufacturers in India.

The models I wanted to compare were (in alphabetical order)

Ashok Leyland Luxura, Corona Ambari, JCBL (Cerita) King Long, Mercedes, Swaraj Isuzu Prestige, Tata Hispano Globus, Volvo B7R and Volvo B9R.

I have made the main categories below.

Price (general range - as prices can depend based on your deal with the company):
Luxura
Ambari
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige ~59.0 Lakhs
Globus
B7R ~75.0 Lakhs
B9R ~87.0 Lakhs

Maintenance Costs in Rs/KM - which seems to be the preferred way to present the facts.
Luxura
Ambari
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R: 4Rs/KM
B9R: 5Rs/KM

Engine Type
Luxura: J08C, 6 Cylinder, BSII
Ambari
King Long: Cummins ISLe + 300 - (EURO III)
Mercedes: OM 926 LA, 6 Cylinder, 7200CC
Prestige: 6 HK1, 6 Cylinder Euro III, 7790CC
Globus
B7R: D7E, 6 Cylinder, Euro III CRDI
B9R: D9B, 6 Cylinder, Euro III CRDI

Mileage (Remember this is more driver dependent than anything else) in Kmpl
Luxura
Ambari
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R: 2.7-3.5
B9R: 2.5-3.0

Top Speed (Official/Witnessed) in km/h
Luxura
Ambari
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R
B9R

Power (KW/PS)
Luxura: 191KW/260PS @ 2500RPM
Ambari
King Long: 213KW/296HP @ 2100RPM
Mercedes: 225KW/306PS @ 2200RPM
Prestige: 169KW/230PS @ 2500RPM
Globus
B7R: 213KW/296HP @ 2100RPM
B9R: 256.92KW/345HP @ 1900RPM

Torque
Luxura: 745nm @ 1500RPM
Ambari
King Long: 1250nm @ 1100-1600RPM
Mercedes: 1200nm @ 1400-1600RPM
Prestige: 704.2nm @ 1500RPM
Globus
B7R: 1200nm @ 1050-1650RPM
B9R: 1630nm @ 1200RPM

Transmission
Luxura: 6 forward, 1 reverse, Syncromesh, electromagnetic retarder
Ambari
King Long: 6 forward, 1 reverse, Syncromesh with TELMA F191 retarder
Mercedes: 6 forward, 1 reverse, with Voith R 120 Retarder
Prestige: 7 forward, 1 reverse Syncromesh with Overdrive
Globus
B7R: 6 forward, 1 reverse ZF6S with Voith R 120 Retarder
B9R: 6 forward, 1 reverse ZF6S 1600 with Voith R 120 Retarder

Batteries
Luxura: 1 x 24V, 200AH
Ambari
King Long: 1 x 24V, 200AH
Mercedes: 2 x 12V, 135AH
Prestige: 2 x 12V, 150AH
Globus
B7R: 2 x 24V, 165AH
B9R: 2 x 24v, 225AH

Ride Quality - Suspension/Vibrations mainly based on personal experience, but also on driving conditions and driver style so this is entirely subjective as all buses are equipped with air suspension.
Luxura
Ambari
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R
B9R

Dimensions (Length, Width, Interior Saloon Length, Interior Saloon Width - usable space for seating)
Luxura: 12000mm, 2550mm, 10030mm (based on schematic drawing) 2450mm
Ambari
King Long: 11983mm
Mercedes: 11995mm, 2600mm, 10385mm, 2450mm
Prestige: 11500mm
Globus
B7R: 12000mm, 2600mm, 10240mm, 2450mm
B9R: 13780mm, 2600mm, 11940mm, 2450mm

I will not comment as to interior comfort like seats etc. as that has more to do with the maintenance of the bus, your fellow passengers, drivers habit, seat configurations than anything the bus manufacturers can really do.

Please feel free to add your own details and observations. I only ask that you provide a source for figures or say it is your own observation/guess. We want this comparison to be as thorough as possible. The sources for all the information provided are through discussions with manufacturer representatives and brochures provided by the manufacturer.

So people, lets start filling in the blanks. I will continue to do so as well as I become aware of more information.

Also please post any other comparison points that you think might be worthwhile, and if they make sense, I will be happy to add them to the post.
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Old 9th June 2009, 12:17   #2
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An eye-opener of a post, Daj. Related thread here : Commercial Vehicle thread
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Old 9th June 2009, 15:11   #3
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Hello,

Ambari is not the name of a Corona model, but is the name given to those buses by KSRTC. The models produced by Corona are Corona Majestik (Sleeper Version) and Corona Prestige (Seater Version).

Here are some more details:

Engine Type
Corona: Cummins 6 BTAA 5.9 Rear Engine, Turbocharged Diesel Engine
Globus: 5.9 litres 6 BT Cummins Diesel rear engine

Power (KW/PS)
Corona: 160 HP(114.5 KW) @ 2500 RPM
Globus: 235 HP

Torque
Corona: 54.5 mkg (535 Nm) @ 1400 to 1700 RPM
Globus: 800 Nm @ 1500rpm

Transmission
Corona: GBS 60 6+1
Globus: G-600 Manual 6-Forward + 1-Reverse Hydrodynamic Retarder

Batteries
Corona: 24V, 2x150Ah
Globus:

Dimensions (Length, Width, Interior Saloon Length, Interior Saloon Width - usable space for seating)
Corona:
Globus: 11995, 2600mm

Corona has a website - check here.

Please share more info as and when you get them.

Request to the mods: Please let this thread remain such. The Commercial vehicle thread is getting too long. Let this be an exclusive source for info on buses.
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Old 9th June 2009, 17:17   #4
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Not sure I understand what you are trying to say. Are you saying the AL Luxura is tops in all categories?
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Old 9th June 2009, 21:58   #5
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Binaiks: Thanks for the info - could you cite your source - brochures? You were one of the poster's that inspired me to register with this website because of your knowledge of buses - so thanks for that!

Mpower: No sorry it is not clear, it was done in manufacturer alphabetical order. The numbers are just there for comparison purposes only.

GTO: thanks for the link - I read the thread every day - just did not want this to get lost in there as it is very long.

Also is there no way to edit my first post - so I can update with Binaik's info?
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Old 9th June 2009, 22:20   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daj857 View Post
Binaiks: Thanks for the info - could you cite your source - brochures? You were one of the poster's that inspired me to register with this website because of your knowledge of buses - so thanks for that!
Thanks a lot for the appreciation. And, apologies for not citing my source. The details of the TATA bus was from an automobile magazine (I think it was 'CV' or MotorIndia) and a Dealer's website. Corona's details were from their website (link mentioned in my earlier post).

Post your updates as new posts.... keep them coming
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Old 10th June 2009, 09:44   #7
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Default Updated List

Price (general range - as prices can depend based on your deal with the company):
Luxura
Corona
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige ~59.0 Lakhs
Globus
B7R ~75.0 Lakhs
B9R ~87.0 Lakhs

Maintenance Costs in Rs/KM - which seems to be the preferred way to present the facts.
Luxura
Corona
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R: 4Rs/KM
B9R: 5Rs/KM

Engine Type
Luxura: J08C, 6 Cylinder, BSII
Corona: Cummins 6 BTAA 5.9 Rear Engine, Turbocharged Diesel Engine
King Long: Cummins ISLe + 300 - (EURO III)
Mercedes: OM 926 LA, 6 Cylinder, 7200CC
Prestige: 6 HK1, 6 Cylinder Euro III, 7790CC
Globus: 5.9 litres 6 BT Cummins Diesel rear engine
B7R: D7E, 6 Cylinder, Euro III CRDI
B9R: D9B, 6 Cylinder, Euro III CRDI

Mileage (Remember this is more driver dependent than anything else) in Kmpl
Luxura
Corona
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R: 2.7-3.5
B9R: 2.5-3.0

Top Speed (Official/Witnessed) in km/h
Luxura
Corona
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R
B9R

Power (KW/PS)
Luxura: 191KW/260PS @ 2500RPM
Corona: 114.5KW/160HP @ 2500 RPM
King Long: 213KW/296HP @ 2100RPM
Mercedes: 225KW/306PS @ 2200RPM
Prestige: 169KW/230PS @ 2500RPM
Globus: 175KW/235HP
B7R: 213KW/296HP @ 2100RPM
B9R: 256.92KW/345HP @ 1900RPM

Torque
Luxura: 745nm @ 1500RPM
Corona: 535nm @ 1400-1700RPM
King Long: 1250nm @ 1100-1600RPM
Mercedes: 1200nm @ 1400-1600RPM
Prestige: 704.2nm @ 1500RPM
Globus: 800nm @ 1500rpm
B7R: 1200nm @ 1050-1650RPM
B9R: 1630nm @ 1200RPM

Transmission
Luxura: 6 forward, 1 reverse, Syncromesh, electromagnetic retarder
Corona: GBS 60 6+1
King Long: 6 forward, 1 reverse, Syncromesh with TELMA F191 retarder
Mercedes: 6 forward, 1 reverse, with Voith R 120 Retarder
Prestige: 7 forward, 1 reverse Syncromesh with Overdrive
Globus: G-600 Manual 6-Forward + 1-Reverse Hydrodynamic Retarder
B7R: 6 forward, 1 reverse ZF6S with Voith R 120 Retarder
B9R: 6 forward, 1 reverse ZF6S 1600 with Voith R 120 Retarder

Batteries
Luxura: 1 x 24V, 200AH
Corona: 2 x 24v, 150AH
King Long: 1 x 24V, 200AH
Mercedes: 2 x 12V, 135AH
Prestige: 2 x 12V, 150AH
Globus
B7R: 2 x 24V, 165AH
B9R: 2 x 24v, 225AH

Ride Quality - Suspension/Vibrations mainly based on personal experience, but also on driving conditions and driver style so this is entirely subjective as all buses are equipped with air suspension.
Luxura
Corona
King Long
Mercedes
Prestige
Globus
B7R
B9R

Dimensions (Length, Width, Interior Saloon Length, Interior Saloon Width - usable space for seating)
Luxura: 12000mm, 2550mm, 10030mm (based on schematic drawing) 2450mm
Corona
King Long: 11983mm
Mercedes: 11995mm, 2600mm, 10385mm, 2450mm
Prestige: 11500mm
Globus: 11995, 2600mm
B7R: 12000mm, 2600mm, 10240mm, 2450mm
B9R: 13780mm, 2600mm, 11940mm, 2450mm
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Old 10th June 2009, 22:52   #8
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Default Double decker buses

Has anyone tried a double decker charter service in South India for intercity travel? Is clearance really an issue? I cannot imagine there are too many overpasses over most of our highways. Or is it the general unavailability of the product in Indian markets?
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Old 11th June 2009, 10:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daj857 View Post
Has anyone tried a double decker charter service in South India for intercity travel? Is clearance really an issue? I cannot imagine there are too many overpasses over most of our highways. Or is it the general unavailability of the product in Indian markets?
"Bluelines" (owned by one SS Travels i guess) were operating a double decker bus with a Mercedes engine, for a few months, between M'lore and B'lore. This was about 6-7 years back. Was told that the upper deck had seats while the lower ones were the sleeper types. Ground clearance would definetely been one of the issues for stopping this service. And with our snaky roads, thinking that the buses would sway if the driver doesn't provide the steering feedback on time.
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:37   #10
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Dude, are you in the transport business? If not, I would not recommend running this high investment, low entry barrier, highly taxed and controlled business.

I actually wanted to post a bit on what I know about bus bodies, but the 3 year old decided that she has had enough of daddy wating time on the computer and hit the reset button. :-(

You have left out an important criterion - whether the chassis in monocoque or "ladder" type.

And suspension. (spring leaf / hydraulic aka "air")

So, will post the info some other day.

Last edited by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR : 11th June 2009 at 22:39.
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Old 12th June 2009, 01:57   #11
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hi backseat - thanks for your input - i sent you a private message.

with regards to your criterion, the monocoque design i thought was implemented by all the new volvo wannabe buses? the same i thought applied to the suspension - where all these models have air suspension.

please anyone correct me if i am wrong.


On an unrelated note - i remember reading a thread somewhere about the hassles of importing a car. what about importing a bus? I would love to have one those big old greyhounds i know the duties are lower for commercial vehicles. I have looked on the customs website - and the best I can find is a 16% duty and a 24% excise tax (or vice versa - i forget), but it is India, which means there must be another million or so "special" taxes that are added to the total. Anyone have an idea of what the final figure is - is it 70% of MSRP or closer to cars at around 110%?

Thanks all!
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Old 12th June 2009, 07:09   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daj857 View Post
Globus
If you are referring to Tata Hispano Globus, they are still in test marketing phase. According to a recent report, they sold 50 of them assembled at ACGL to selected transport operators in Bombay and Panjab and few STRTC's and feed back was very encouraging. I doubt you could buy them yet.
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Old 12th June 2009, 07:37   #13
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Default Part 1 - taxation, permits and maintenance

Vehicle taxes is very high, mostly based on passenger capacity and / or area of the vehicle. For taxation rates in Karnataka, search for a thread by mod samurai on his woes re-registering an old jeep. Taxes are usually payable every three months or half year. You will need a "national permit", for which you will have to approach your local RTA, (same office as RTO) and the state transport authority (STA). The permit will have to be countersigned by each state's STA. Not sure of tax incidence for each state. My guess is that you would not have to pay extra tax for each state.

At approximate 1000 INR road tax per passenger per quarter, to break even, your vehicle should average at least 500 KM per day, and keep running at least 365 days a year. Means no down time for any kind of repair / maintenance. In other words, spares should be available on request.

Maintenance should be "preventive" rather than on "as when problems occur" basis.

So, forget importing used vehicles. If spares are not readily available at place where a vehicle is to be based, forget that brand / maker. At 500 KM per day, you will be needing regular oil change every 15 - 20 days. Regular "bearing cleaning" for wheels every 2 weeks. At least one pair of new tyres every month. Retreading more than once would be out of question for that level of usage - for relability. Not retreading would be extremely uneconomical.

Fuel system overhaul 3-4 times during the interval required for full engine overhaul. Engine overhaul intervals would vary between makes and engine types. It used to be 3 Lakh KM for AL buses 20 years back. (AL 370 engine).
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Old 12th June 2009, 07:47   #14
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Default Part 2 - vehicle maintenance

The remarks about vehicle maintenance were made above purely with vehicle availability POV.

Most vehicle operators stick to a few fixed routes, and have their own repair facilities either at their head quarters, or somewhere near middle of their routes. For example, one of the longest running operators on Bangalore - Kerala sector has facilities near Salem or Erode, where drivers are changed, and any vehicle repair is immediately repaired.

For vehicle availability reasons, the vehicle is NOT taken off service for maintenance. Every major component - engine, fuel pump, gear box, even differental housing (the rear axle) would be available spare, and be replaced / swapped. (MV act permits engine swaps for commercial vehicles if the owner has more than N number of vehicles, the engines to be swapped should be registered with the RTO).

In otherwords, for a successful operator, you would require N numbers of identical vehicles (same make, variant, seating capacity, etc), N would vary on the route, kind of maintenance infrastructure you could put in place etc.

Remember that if you would be using the vehicle purely as a contract vehicle (for specific tours / daily hire) where you can afford vehicle down time, you can get away with minimal investment on maintenance infracture.

For operating on routes, there is no question of outsorcing maintenance. You will end up with 10 year old parts on a brand new vehicle.

(mods - please do not merge posts - each post is on a different topic / aspect).
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Old 12th June 2009, 09:10   #15
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Default Part 3 - the extra legal levies

A shiny, big, luxury vehicle, with owners' name emblazoned on the side is the best magnet the transportation business' potential customers.

Unfortunately, customers are not the lone creatures attracted by this magnet.

Around election and festive season, people would approach you seeking donations. And you would face the consequences if you refuse to oblige.

As an operator (err.. unofficial liquidator of the family business) of a fleet 5 buses I faced the label of petty bourgeois in my early teens. I refused such donations, and my vehicles would always spend 2-3 days in police custody when seized. And I faced more than normal number of inspections from every conceivable department. Whenever I asked why I was singled out, I would get the reply "we have complaints about you".

I guess God was training me to become a babu. Today, I get a barrage of complaints immediately after festive season or elections. I know what to do with these complaints.

Nowadays, they no longer come calling. Instead, they expect you to to come to them.

Remember that your business will be highly visible. Even in the middle of the night, there would be checkposts and mamus seeking mamo^W^W^W^W err... doing their job braving cold and darkness. These mamus do not get to hold that particular post (check post assignments, mid night duties etc) unless they have good "hold".

For a business which will operate in multiple states, can you manage these levies?
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