NEWS: Record Year For Volvo Buses In 2011 (03/Feb/2012)

 

Volvo Bus has reported a record year for sales worldwide in 2011, despite difficult market conditions.

The manufacturer’s end of year sales report states::

Deliveries were up 29%, which means 4200 units delivered in the fourth quarter. Volvo Buses  delivered almost 1000 more units  than the same quarter of 2010, though hard market conditions. Net sales increased by 19% in Q4, mainly due to South America.

Weak markets in North America and Europe, growth in South America

During the fourth quarter, the European bus market was at the same low levels as in 2010. In North America, the total bus market remained weak. The city-bus market declined 17% in 2011, when cities’ investments in new buses were very restricted. The coach market in North America increased 25% from an exceptionally low volume in 2010.

In South America, demand remained strong, with approximately 30% higher volumes in heavy buses, compared with 2010. In Mexico, the total bus market increased from very low levels in 2010.

The market for heavy buses in China grew 13% in 2011, compared with the year-earlier period.

Record deliveries in fourth quarter

Deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011 totaled 4,172 buses, up 29% compared with 3,230 in the year-earlier quarter. South America accounted for the largest increase. Order intake for the fourth quarter amounted to 3,941 buses, up 7% compared with 3,677 in the year-earlier period.

During the quarter, Volvo Buses signed its largest order ever in Columbia, 688 buses for Bogota. A new bus range, consisting of one city bus and two coaches, was launched in India.

Sales and earnings increased

Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 19% to SEK 6,680 M (5,602). Adjusted for currency fluctuations, net sales rose 22%.

Operating income improved to SEK 295 M (221). Compared with the year-earlier period, operating income was positively impacted by higher volumes, and improved market mix. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, operating income was negatively impacted by changes in currency exchange rates in an amount of SEK 22 M. The operating margin increased to 4.4% (3.9).

• Deliveries increased 29%

• Continued negative market trend in North America and Europe, but growth in South America

• New bus range launched in India

Net sales by market area Fourth quarter Year
2011 2010 Change in % 2011 2010 Change in %
Europe 2,225 1,581 41 7,009 6,242 12
North America 2,167 1,885 15 7,541 7,200 5
South America 1,001 582 72 2,721 1,737 57
Asia 833 947 (12) 3,027 3,299 (8)
Other markets 454 607 (25) 1,991 2,038 (2)
Total 6,680 5,602 19 22,289 20,516

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ONE IN TWELVE – VC Heyday

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today’s picture is from 1999, when the VC-class formed the backbone of the Bus Eireann fleet, and the oldest examples were only 5 years old.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

VC4 (left) and VC1 at Galway in 1999

VC4 (left) and VC1 at Galway in 1999

The VC class (Volvo B10M Caetano) have been one of the most widely distributed types in the Bus Eireann fleet since the old M-class. Used on everything from Eurolines express and national services to regional and local routes, the VC has got everywhere, and unlike many of the other classes of the 1990s, were owned rather than leased, and thus stayed in the fleet long term.

Now the VCs are slowly cascading onto school work, and thouse which remain in service are more likely to be on rural routes than Expressway.

This shot, taken at Galway in 1999, shows VC4 and VC1, in pretty much original condition, working local and commuter services to the west.

New Volvos for Ballincollig

Volvo Bus)

Ballincollig Coaches new Volvo B7R coaches (photo: Volvo Bus)

PRESS RELEASE

Ballincollig Coaches of Co Cork have just taken delivery of two Volvo B7R Sunsundeguis.

Purchased as part of a programme of fleet modernisation, the new coaches will be used for touring throughout Ireland and also into Scotland.

The family run firm had not bought Volvo for some years but were impressed by the B7R/ Sunsundegui combination. “It’s very stylish looking so helps to create the right impression; it’s very comfortable; and there’s great luggage space – all of which is perfect for our requirements,” explained Managing Director, Donal O’Callaghan. “Add to that the fact that the Euro/Sterling rate is so favourable to us at the moment, there was no excuse not to buy!”

Specified with Volvo’s D7C 7.1 litre common rail fuel injection engine rated at 290hp, combined with a ZF six-speed gearbox, the 53 seat coaches feature full double glazing, air conditioning, DVD player and reversing camera.

Ballincollig plan to use them on incoming tours which make up a large part of their business. “We shall be very busy over the next few months, particularly with French and American students requiring sightseeing tours, and these coaches really are ideal for the task,” said Donal.

Established 20 years ago, Ballincollig’s 15-strong fleet ranges from six seaters to full size executive coaches. The company runs its own programme of two to three day short breaks and seven to ten day tours. In addition, a variety of specialist breaks are arranged for incoming tourists, ranging from historic sightseeting and pilgrimage tours to short breaks for fishing, golf, gardening and art enthusiasts.

Minister disputes Patton Flyer claims

Comments in Dail by Transport Minister claim operator applied for licence in 2007, not 2006

Patton Flyer links Dalkey to Dublin Airport

Patton Flyer links Dalkey to Dublin Airport

Further interesting information has emerged in the long-running saga of the Patton Flyer coach service in Dublin, which the Department of Transport says is being run without a licence.

The service, which links Dalkey and Blackrock to Dublin Airport via the Eastlink and the Port Tunnel runs hourly and is seen to be carrying healthy loadings. DoT officials say they reported the operator to the Gardai in August 2007 for operating without a licence, though what action has been taken as a result is unclear.

Back in March, we reported on claims that a very long delay in dealing with a licence application had forced the coach company to start the service without a licence. According to the operator, they had submitted an application in 2006, without reply.

Now recent comments on the record of the Dail (Irish parliment) by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey seem to dispute this version of events, as according to the Minister the operator only applied for the licence in early 2007.

Below is the full text of the minister’s Dail response when questioned.

Apart from the date of the application, this answer is interesting in that it confirms that the reason for the licence not being granted is, as long suspected, the prior application for a licence by Aircoach, whose Greystone to Dublin Airport service only meets the Patton Flyer along part of the route.

 23. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Transport  if he will grant a licence to a bus service (details supplied) to operate a scheduled bus service between Dalkey and intermediary points such as Glasthule, Dún Laoghaire and Monkstown with Dublin Airport which are not served by an alternative bus operator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32450/08]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): My Department received an application on the 20 February 2007 from the operator to whom the Deputy refers, for a licence to operate bus passenger services between Dalkey and Dublin Airport. At that time, my Department had on hands a prior application for bus services on a similar route, and in accordance with administrative procedures, applications were dealt with in date order. That prior application was finalised in December 2007 and a licence has issued to that operator for the provision of bus passenger services between Greystones and Dublin Airport.

In the case of the service referred to by the Deputy, on the 16 July 2007 my Department was made aware that the operator concerned had commenced the operation of an unlicensed bus passenger service between Dalkey and Dublin Airport. My Department immediately contacted that company and advised that failure to cease the operation of the service in respect of which a licence had not been issued under the Road Transport Act 1932, is an offence under section 7 of that Act. It is also a prerequisite before the making of an offer of a licence that in accordance with road traffic and safety legislation the applicant provides my Department with Garda approvals for all proposed bus stops along the route and holds a Road Passenger transport Operations Licence.

While there is a strong passenger demand for a service between Dalkey and Dublin Airport, my Department would only be prepared to make an offer of a licence to Patton Flyer if that company demonstrates that it would be prepared to operate in conformity with the law.

New Volvos for Mannings of Limerick

Mannings 9700 Prestige Plus. (photo by Volvo Bus)

Mannings 9700 Prestige Plus. (photo by Volvo Bus)

FROM THE VOLVO DELIVERY FILES

Irish operator, Mannings Coaches, has just taken delivery of two new Volvos – a B12B with Jonckheere bodywork and a tri-axle Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus – both firsts for the Limerick based company.

Managing Director, Tommy Manning, had been looking for additional vehicles to handle his luxury touring work – both incoming touring work throughout Ireland and trips to English Premier League football matches on behalf of Celtic Horizon Tours.

“We already have a B12M with Jonckheere bodywork and found that the Volvo/Jonckheere combination was popular with both drivers and passengers,” he explained. “We’d heard excellent reports of the B12B, so decided to give it a try this time.”

Specified with Volvo’s DH12E engine rated at 420hp coupled to the I-Shift gearbox, the new vehicle features full climate control, toilet, TV/DVD player and hot and cold drinks facilities.

Also built on the B12B chassis, the Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus provides optimum comfort along with Volvo reliability from bumper to bumper. The 13 metre coach features the same 12 litre engine, though rated at 460hp, and I-Shift gearbox combination.

The interior’s theatre-style design concept, with its sloping floor and large tinted side windows, enables excellent vision for all passengers. All 50 seats have integral three point seat belts and the ventilation system has high capacity, good air distribution with individually adjustable air-circulation outlet vents for each seat.

Other features include a demountable toilet/washroom, servery, GPS Navigation for both driver and passenger viewing, and Volvo’s Sound and Vision package comprising radio, CD and DVD complete with two TFT monitors and sub woofer speakers.

Tommy Manning explained, “We knew that the 9700 would be perfect for touring, whilst the tri-axle model provides us with extra passenger and luggage capacity yet can still cope with the weight restrictions in England, which is where much of our work takes place.

“With a tour programme as busy as ours, reliability and passenger comfort are equally crucial. We’ve had high expectations of both these new coaches from talking to colleagues in the industry and our experience indicates that they are living up to it!”

A family business with over 40 years’ experience, Mannings Coaches handle a wide range of work including day trips, touring holidays, golfing breaks, airport transfer, schools and corporate work.

B7R for O’Connors of Cork

O'Connors new Volvo B7R - photo by Volvo Bus

O'Connors new Volvo B7R - photo by Volvo Bus

FROM THE VOLVO DELIVERY FILES

O’Connors Coach Hire of Bandon, Co Cork, have just taken delivery of a new Volvo B7R Sideral 10.

The majority of O’Connors’12 strong fleet is Volvo and the operator was keen to try out the newest addition to the range. Cormac O’Connor explained, “We were in the market for a midi-coach, and I personally prefer the coach-built style to a minibus. So when we saw that Volvo were introducing the B7R Sideral 10 we were very interested, particularly as we already have a couple of full size Sunsundegui bodied B7Rs in our fleet. They’re extremely popular with our passengers and we find them very economical to run.”

The 10.3m B7R Sideral 10 is based on the B7R chassis, which is renowned for its versatility, dependability and good economy, as well as excellent ride and drive qualities. Available exclusively with the striking Sunsundegui body, it has been designed for applications where a full sized coach may not be necessary, but where on-board comfort and luggage capacity are still vital.

Specified with Volvo’s Euro 4 compliant 7 litre engine – rated at 290hp – featuring common rail technology and metered fuel injection, coupled to a ZF six speed automatic gearbox, the driveline combination offers excellent fuel economy and driveability.

The restyled Sideral 2000 body boasts full climate control, 43 seats – all with three point belts, a multimedia system, incorporating 15” LCD monitor, GPS navigation system and MP3, RDS radio, CD/DVD player and Bluetooth hands free mobile phone installation, and an ergonomic, comfortable driver’s environment.

The new vehicle is now being used for private hire throughout Ireland and O’Connors are delighted, but not surprised, that it is living up to expectation. “Of course, one of the main factors in our decision was simply that it is a Volvo,” said Cormac O’Connor. “For us, that means reliability, good availability of spare parts and excellent servicing from McCarthy Commercials of Cork.”

Southwest photos

Coaches & Buses in West Cork and Kerry in July 2008, including Bus Eireann, private operators, rural transport scheme and island operations. All photos by Gabriel Conway

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

The Beara peninsula is one of the lesser-known treasures of Ireland, just as pretty but far less spoilt than the nearby Ring of Kerry. The Cork/Kerry border runs along the middle of the peninsula, with the western end being wholly in West Cork.

For such a remote area, it is well served by public transport, with Bus Eireann services on both sides of the peninsula, a long established private operator on the Cork side, and a well-developed network of rural transport services that reach right to the end, and even out to the largest island off Castletownbere.

The photo above, taken on the southern side, on the road from Glengarriff to Castletownbere, shows Bus Eireann VC116 parked around 4-5km west of Glengarriff. There is often a schoolbus parked at this location, though I suspect that VC116 has been working a regular service.

In the background can be seen Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head.

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

A closer view of VC116 – the VCs are the mainstay of many services in the area, though they are being slowly cascaded to schools work now.

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

Over the many years that I have visited Kenmare, I have seen generations of buses come and go on the Kenmare/Killarney service (these days numbered 270).

In the mid 70s Leyland Leopard E14 was the main bus, with E69 sometimes doing duty as a backup. In the late 70s and early 80s, C27 was the only bus on this service for a long time, until replaced by new KR97 in 1985. This was to be the last new bus that the route received for many a year, as a succession of midlife coaches followed when the KR was eventually relegated to schools. There was a PL for a while in the late 90s, and then VC60 became a regular, up until about a year ago, following which a variety of VCs have been used, with VC109 appearing often.

SC235 is the first brand new vehicle I’ve seen on the route since 1985, and is seen here departing from Killarney Bus Station for Kenmare (irish: Nedin) on an early morning journey.

VC86 waits at Killarney

VC86 waits at Killarney

Also at Killarney, VC86 waits to take up duty on the 040 express service linking Tralee and Killarney with Cork and Waterford.

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Also fairly new, SP104 is seen here at the part of Killarney Bus Station closest to the Outlet Centre. These coaches are very sleek looking, and have the most flush fitting doors of any I have seen.

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

Sister vehicle SP108 seen in the coach parking area near the bus station.

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

A variety of independent operators coaches can be seen at Killarney throughout the year, and there is almost always several varieties of Kavanaghs on display!

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins of Dunmanway are often seen around Killarney on tour work.

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

Back to the Beara peninsula, and VC28 is seen at The Square in Castletownbere, ready for the 1100 departure to Kenmare on route 282. This is a magnificant trip, which involves crossing the mountains to the nothern side of the peninsula and into Co. Kerry, with some spectacular scenery and narrow roads. In the summer, two round trips a day are operated Monday to Saturday, while in winter months a shorter version runs once a week from Ardgroom to Kenmare.

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

An hour an a half later, VC28 has arrived in Kenmare and dropped off its passengers, some of whom will continue on to Killarney on VC109 on the 270.

The buses are seen at the top of the main street in Kenmare, where a dedicated Bus Eireann stop is in place. CIE and Bus Eireann buses have used the main street as a stopping point for almost 50 years, however a local politician has launched a campaign to have the bus stop moved to a different part of town, in order to make 5 further car parking spaces available in the main street.  This despite the fact that the new location would involve considerable disruption for the bus services, forcing them to navigate the one-way system twice for some departures, and would be less convienient for the passengers.

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

During the summer, two buses are needed for the 270, so VC109 is working the service as well as SC235 – it will be interesting to see which one is retained for the one-bus winter timetable!

The early afternoon departure that the VC is about to work takes connecting passengers from both the 282 Castletownbere service, and the West Cork 252 route, formerly the 044 expressway.

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

Since the late 1970s there has been a summer-only service from Cork through Bantry and Glengarriff to Kenmare, until this year always running on to Killarney.

Originally an Expressway service, recently numbered 044, it has this year been downgraded to a stage service, numbered 252, and does not run beyond Kenmare.

When started in the 70s, the route used to take the scenic Molls Gap road to Killarney, though in recent years it has used the quicker Kilgarvan routing. It remains one of the few services in Ireland to operate through a hand-carved mountain tunnell, between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys is an operation connected with Kerry Coaches of Killarney. One of their luxury minicoaches is seen here at the triangle in Kenmare.

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

Here is an interesting and very well-preserved import to these shores. Possibly a former postbus from the UK, this Leyland vehicle now seems to be used as a private camper van, and was in Kenmare for the fleadh weekend at the end of july.

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 seems to be a regular overnight visitor to Kenmare, on CIE touring work.

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

Back to Castletownbere, and here we see the very long established private operator O’Donoghues, who operate bus services from Castletownbere to Bantry and Cork. Their base is right in the centre of the town, at the main square.

The ferry to Bere Island

The ferry to Bere Island

A few miles off Castletownbere in Bantry Bay lies Bere Island, which is connected to the mainland by two car-ferry services, one of which leaves from the centre of town.

The ferries are very small, and have room for just six cars. The trip out to the island is well worth the time, although reversing down the slipway and up the ramp onto the ferry can be nerve-wracking, particularly when it is at an angle as seen here!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

Trucks are also carried to and from the island, though only one at a time. And buses too, as I was to find out when I arrived out on Bere Island . .

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

A Ford Transit minibus of the Bantry Rural Transport scheme is seen at the harbour on Bere Island. Because of the way it was parked against a wall, the only possible front shot was this one, from the ferry slipway with zoom lens!

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

The minibus provides transport both on and off the island, with regular services being operated to and from Castletownbere via the ferry, and a twice-weekly evening service to Bantry. This is just one of a network of buses operated by West Cork Rural Transport, with government funding, covering the areas of the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas that Bus Eireann do not reach.

Bere Island itself is delightful, with few cars, quiet roads, and a huge amount to see. The size of Manhatten island, it is somewhat less densely populated, though you will find two pubs, a great coffee shop and a resturant as well as other facilities alongside the quiet hill walks and miles of empty laneways.

New Volvos for Rover

Rover's new Volvo B7R / Sunsudegui  (photo by Volvo Bus)

Rover's new Volvo B7R / Sunsudegui (photo by Volvo Bus)

FROM THE VOLVO DELIVERY FILES

Irish operator, Rover Coaches, has just taken delivery of two new Volvos – a 9700 Prestige Plus and a B7R Sunsundegui Sideral 10. Whilst Rover Coaches has been a Volvo customer for a number of years, these coaches are both ‘firsts’ for the Mullingar based operator.

“We’ve admired the 9700 since its launch and were particularly keen on the fact that it is 100% Volvo throughout,” explained John Farrell of Rover Coaches. “We were planning to buy one in any case but when the exchange rate between Euro and Sterling made this kind of luxury such excellent value, we just had to invest.”

Specified with Volvo’s DH12E 12 litre engine – rated at 420hp – coupled to the I-Shift gearbox, the 12.2 metre Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus certainly provides luxury. The vehicle’s theatre-style, gently sloping floor and large tinted windows provide excellent viewing for all 49 passengers. And with full climate control, toilet, servery and Volvo’s Sound and Vision entertainment package – which includes first class monitors and high quality sound system, every comfort for luxury travel is guaranteed.

The vehicle will be used for corporate work throughout Ireland as well as incoming tours on behalf of a number of holiday operators.

In contrast with this full size coach, Rover Coaches’ new B7R Sideral 10 will deliver the same Volvo quality in a midi coach format. At 10.3m, the exclusively Sunsundegui bodied coach has been designed for applications where a full-sized coach is not required.

Specified with Volvo’s 290hp 7 litre engine featuring common rail technology and metered fuel injection coupled to a ZF six speed automatic gearbox, the driveline combination offers excellent fuel economy and driveability.

The restyled Sideral 2000 body boasts full climate control, 43 seats – all with three point belts, a multimedia system, incorporating 15” LCD monitor, GPS navigation system and MP3, RDS radio, CD/DVD player and Bluetooth hands free mobile phone installation, and an ergonomic, comfortable driver’s environment
Rover Coaches will use the vehicle mainly for conference and corporate work, in addition to some touring. John explained, “Because of the amount of corporate work we handle, there is always a place for a midi coach in our fleet, so when we heard about the B7R Sideral 10, we were immediately interested.

“It’s a high specification coach, the build quality is excellent and the rear engine design gives us plenty of luggage capacity. Add to this the fact that we’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with Volvo and excellent service from Irish Commercials, and it means that we have every confidence that both new vehicles will prove valuable additions to our fleet.”

Volvo’s Regional Sales Manager, James Hyde added, “We’re delighted by Rover’s continued loyalty. By providing two very different vehicles, as we have done on this occasion, we have once again demonstrated our ability to listen to a customer’s requirements and provide the solution from our extensive range of high quality products.”