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Old 7th April 2010, 18:07   #61
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The bigger deal to me is, how on earth did Volvo convince bus operators, during the early days, to pay multiple times the price of competitors? This extends not only to buses but even trucks. I mean, that same truck operator could buy a Tata at 1/2 or 1/3rd the price. Obviously Volvo sold them on the value component (and not necessarily price), still its a case study in the making. I mean, these are the kind of operators who would think twice before ordering a premium cup of tea at 8 bucks, instead of the "regular kadak" at 4 bucks.

Volvo deserves credit for raising the bar in India, when it comes to trucks & buses.
@GTO: Having had some prior experience with a global bank that was a pioneer when it came to financing Volvos, I can say that it was a leap of faith for most Indian operators as well as for the banks that funded these pioneers. In fact, during the initial years, not too many asset financing companies/ banks/ nbfc's would fund the purchase of a Volvo (which was priced at a premium of 40% to an equivalent Tata or AshLey) mainly because the estimated marketability of a repossesed Volvo bus (Estimated Market Value in Liquidation) was pereceived to be lower than a Tata or an Ashley. As a result, like you said, operators prefered to buy a Tata for which they could easily get a loan (leaving aisde the price difference and the consequently higher EMI payments).

In this, the greatest hand in this was played by the company itself, which interacted with all major transport operators across the company and brought about the advantages. Some that I remember being quoted were:

1. Speed
2. Safety and Driver Comfort, Better ergonomics
3. Longer maintainence cycles for engines and drive gear
4. Higher load bearing capacity compared to the single axle vehicles offered by the competition.

I guess, the company was willing to work as a solution provider to larger operators compared to the competition, which essentially behaved to be an equipment supplier. This was perhaps the biggest difference.
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Old 7th April 2010, 21:49   #62
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Default Protecting their trademark

While reading through this thread, I realized something else as well. Some time back you could see all kinds of bus body builders (small to big) embossing the patented "VOLVO" trademark on whatever they build. But today you will not see even a single private owned/on hire/public transport buses/vans misusing this trademark; not even in remote villages. I have noticed that some scratched off the edge of the letters and made them read as " VOIVO", "WOLVO", "VOLWO" . I remember seeing a notice from VOLVO in the newspapers warning people about the misue of their logo. But what keeps me wondering is how on earth did they get this implemented in a country where nobody cares about brand names, trademarks, logos or gives a damn about getting sued. How do they ensure that only real new VOLVO's have the VOLVO stickers done on them?
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Old 7th April 2010, 22:51   #63
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I always wonder, Volvo should rethink their strategy for India. They should bring out a cheaper alternative for villages. With vast experience and best R&D in bus business, they can easily bring out a newer non AC basic bus, with more comfort and ride quality.
Well said Jimmyjosek. Yes, Vovlo already started on this by aquiring a stake in Eicher, Volvo Eicher Commerical Vehicles. VECL will compete in the lower end with out diluting the Volvo brand. Shortly (not sure when) Eicher will become the lower end brand for Volvo for emerging market. I call Eicher nothing but a Volvo Lite. (Not now, eventually)..
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Don't agree here. You have to create market. Tata created market for themselves with Ace. Now Ace is most successful in that segment & others following them now. Same with 407 i guess. 407 is one of the best selling models in India in commercial vehicles even today. Tata can come up with bus similar to Volvo but price tag of say 35-40 Lacs. It will surely create market for its own. Similarly there are much better SUV's available in market, but Tata enjoy its share through Safari.
That is exactly Tata tried with Hispano Globus. A new segment at 50 Lakh. But i think Tatas have not started to market it nationally yet (Only few direct sales to selected operators), not sure about the reason though, But i am sure this may not be last attempt by Tatas at this segment. Tata already have many truck models with Multi axle, how much time it will take for them incorporate the same in a bus platform?
But one issue is "Volvo" is synonymous with "Luxury" travel in India, as it was the only choice. It will take some time to change this perception.

Last edited by teamveevee : 7th April 2010 at 23:01.
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Old 8th April 2010, 01:03   #64
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Volvos are expensive because all the key components like engine, transmission and suspension are imported. Looks like the body, seats and other simple parts are Indian made.
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Old 8th April 2010, 01:42   #65
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Somehow i still find the 2+1 seating busses very comfortable. The seats are broad, loads of leg space, no annoying passengers next to you (i always go for the single seat) and i really enjoy sleeping in a noisy/vibrating bus with cool air blowing from the window.

In the 6 years that i travelled between Hubli and Blore, i must have taken the Volvo maybe 2-3 times (only bcoz i couldn't find a seat in the 2+1 bus).

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Old 8th April 2010, 09:43   #66
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Originally Posted by Shan2nu View Post
Somehow i still find the 2+1 seating busses very comfortable. The seats are broad, loads of leg space, no annoying passengers next to you (i always go for the single seat) and i really enjoy sleeping in a noisy/vibrating bus with cool air blowing from the window.

In the 6 years that i travelled between Hubli and Blore, i must have taken the Volvo maybe 2-3 times (only bcoz i couldn't find a seat in the 2+1 bus).

Shan2nu
I agree mate Once i traveled from Pune to Banglore in such bus. It was 2X1 bus. Seats were really very comfortable. More comfortable than Volvo. There were hardly 28 or 30 seats in the bus. But unfortunately these type of buses are no more there. For transport people i guess its not a profitable business or they wanna earn more
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Old 8th April 2010, 15:06   #67
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Unhappy Volvo is good but what about drivers?

After reading this thread, one thing is evident that, as of now, Volvo is an undisputed leader when it comes to 'luxury' buses.

However, what about the drivers and driving [SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri]etiquettes? In the movie spiderman, it is said that 'With great powers, come great responsibilities' and that is what exactly missing in the drivers who jump onto driving seat of Volvos, without any official training and previous experience of just those old Tatas, Leylands, etc (even thats not always true). I was earlier working with the IT giant Infosys Technologies, last year one of the Volvo (KSRTC was carrying around 56 employees (all fresh and young trainees) from Mysore to Pune (18 Hours Journey). Sadly, driver was quite "Excited" with the machine in hand and we lost 5 of our fellow infoscions. I know that such accidents are a common stuff on Indian roads, but the point is that Volvo and Bus Operators should also start official training programs for drivers to handle high end buses so that, we can avoid such mishappenings further. Volvo that met with an accident toppled over multiple times and you can also have a look at the accident pic that I have attached.[/FONT][/SIZE]
[FONT=Calibri][/FONT]
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Old 8th April 2010, 15:24   #68
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I heard that a normal Volvo bus gives about 3KM per litre. Is this true ? If so this bus should be having a huge fuel tank
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:26   #69
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Originally Posted by SpinWizard View Post
I heard that a normal Volvo bus gives about 3KM per litre. Is this true ? If so this bus should be having a huge fuel tank
In Chennai, more number of volvos running on weekends on profitable routes. I once asked the volvo driver about the mileage, in city it is atmost 3 kms per litre, not bad for such a big engine.. When these buses arrive at the terminal and if it scheduled for a 10-15 minute halt then they switch off the engine and AC, reason being heavy consumption of diesel..

Normal buses give close to 5 kms/litre. I think tank capacity is around 600 litres

source - http://www.volvo.com/NR/rdonlyres/6F...usBrochure.pdf
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:51   #70
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Operators should also start official training programs for drivers to handle high end buses so that, we can avoid such mishappenings further.

vBa
IIRC there was a norm earlier that drivers were trained before being let to drive the B7R's. I remember long back that one of the drivers of the bus I traveled in mentioning that he was trained somewhere in Hosakote, Karnataka.

He even mentioned it was mandatory to undergo training before a driver wears the white uniform and hits the pedal on a volvo.

From the way these buses are driven around in the city there days, its quite evident that the lower cadre of drivers with no understanding of safety and zero driving etiquette are on-board.

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 8th April 2010 at 16:52.
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:11   #71
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vBa
IIRC there was a norm earlier that drivers were trained before being let to drive the B7R's. I remember long back that one of the drivers of the bus I traveled in mentioning that he was trained somewhere in Hosakote, Karnataka.

He even mentioned it was mandatory to undergo training before a driver wears the white uniform and hits the pedal on a volvo.

From the way these buses are driven around in the city there days, its quite evident that the lower cadre of drivers with no understanding of safety and zero driving etiquette are on-board.

Yes.Only drivers with atleast 3 years of experience of driving HCVs were eligible for this driver training program.
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Old 8th April 2010, 18:11   #72
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Originally Posted by VbA View Post
In the movie spiderman, it is said that 'With great powers, come great responsibilities' and that is what exactly missing in the drivers who jump onto driving seat of Volvos, without any official training and previous experience of just those old Tatas, Leylands, etc (even thats not always true).
Your allegations are not true. KaSRTC has a strict policy, and drivers don't get the white uniform until they have a proven accident free track record (there is a set number of years as well - IIRC, it used to be 5 years), and the mandatory training at Volvo Hoskote.

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Originally Posted by VbA View Post
I was earlier working with the IT giant Infosys Technologies, last year one of the Volvo (KSRTC was carrying around 56 employees (all fresh and young trainees) from Mysore to Pune (18 Hours Journey). Sadly, driver was quite "Excited" with the machine in hand and we lost 5 of our fellow infoscions.
56? You gotta be kidding! The Volvo can taken in only 45 passengers. What you've stated is 11 more than the official limit - if that is indeed true, both parties are at fault.

How can an excited driver kill 5 people? From the news reports, it is learnt that the poor driver had been continuously at the wheels for a very long time, and the fatigue is thought to have caused loss of control. It seems the bus ran on to the divider at high speed and toppled in the process.

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Originally Posted by SpinWizard View Post
I heard that a normal Volvo bus gives about 3KM per litre. Is this true ? If so this bus should be having a huge fuel tank
The city volvos give 2~2.5 kmpl (one must remember that the bus has a real thirsty 7 litre engine, powering the AC all the time). The B7R and the B9R reportedly return 3~4 kmpl depending on the driver and the route.

The tank AFAIK takes in about 600 litres of diesel. These buses comfortably do Trivandrum-Bangalore-Trivandrum in one tankful! (thats about 700 kms one way)

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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
From the way these buses are driven around in the city there days, its quite evident that the lower cadre of drivers with no understanding of safety and zero driving etiquette are on-board.
Its just frustration - they are given tight schedules to adhere to, and the bus gets delayed in traffic. Plus a delay means the next bus catching up, and this guy losing his revenue. Each extra ticket gets him extra commission!
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Old 9th April 2010, 11:30   #73
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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
56? You gotta be kidding! The Volvo can taken in only 45 passengers. What you've stated is 11 more than the official limit - if that is indeed true, both parties are at fault.

How can an excited driver kill 5 people? From the news reports, it is learnt that the poor driver had been continuously at the wheels for a very long time, and the fatigue is thought to have caused loss of control. It seems the bus ran on to the divider at high speed and toppled in the process.
The number of passengers were more than 50 for sure as per what was communicated to us internally by company, and for that matter, yes, both the parties are ar fault. However, as you said, that driver was not 'excited' but felt pray to 'fatigue', then it's operators fault only. They should have arranged more than one driver for long journeys, epecially those which take more than 12 hours. Idea of training is not just limited to 'How to drive' but also it should provide the knowledge of 'Best Practices' for operators as well. Also, State Transport Agencies may follow some standards but what about private players, thats why I believe that Volvo should come into picture and operator should be asked to send drivers and helpers for mandatory training before delivering the vehicle.
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Old 9th April 2010, 16:36   #74
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VBA, how can you hold Volvo responsible for the operator as well as infosys Mistake.
Volvo has State of the art training facility in bangalore, with every purchase they offer free and compulsory training.
Tell me one Indian company which does that?
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Old 9th April 2010, 20:08   #75
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.
Volvo has State of the art training facility in bangalore, with every purchase they offer free and compulsory training.
Tell me one Indian company which does that?

As you have rightly said " with every purchase volvo offer free and compulsory training". Why? Because, their products are having complicated electronic systems. If an untrained driver operates the bus, then just a blown fuse can result in the bus brakedown, incurring huge loss to the operator and bad image for brand. (I am only saying, this is one of the main reason for such tranings being given when you purchase their product). Moreover Volvo can do this because, they have hardly 2000-3000 vehicles on road. But for Indian companies, its lakhs!

Tata & AL are regularly conducting trainings for drivers & mechanics at their respective Traning Centers and also at customer ends, be it for STU or a private fleet operators.
Even TataMotors & AL offers compulsory trainings to drivers along with their products like Tata NOVUS, Hispano Globus & AL IntracenturyLuxura, ULE etc.

Now, FYI, Ashok Leyland has a state of art driver training institute at Namakkal, TN. I have personally visited there and would say it is well ahead of what others have. Any driver can get admission there. They offer specialised course for different applications like Buses, trucks, trailers, tankers etc. Its not necessary that you should be a AL vehicle driver to get enrolled there. From 4lane roads to hairpin bends, night driving facilities, all you have in the 25acre campus. Thousands of people from the drivers community from across India have made use of this facility. Moreover all major STU have their drivers, officials etc trained here. Even Karnataka RTA department got its Motor Vehice Inspectors trained at this facility. There are many more milestones about this Institution. Again based on AL success, even Delhi govt. had joined with AL to setup a facility at there. Its now operational and DTC drivers are trained there for operation of CNG & Lowfloor buses.
There is no doubt both AL & Tata is contributing a lot for the driver community, society and the nation as a whole.
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