Volgren’s patient approach to Japan’s bus market and a growing reputation for manufacturing high-quality bus bodies is paying off with the delivery of two new articulated buses to bus operator Nara Kotsu Bus Lines.
This latest partnership with Nara Kotsu located in the South of Japan, near Osaka, is one of several relationships Volgren now has including their ongoing association with Japan’s largest bus operator, the Nishitetsu Railway Company, who ordered an additional five artics last year.
Volgren has also forged partnerships with global trading company Mitsui & co and Scania Japan who provide the service and support of the complete bus.
Volgren Business Development Manager Jon Tozer says the two 18-metre long articulated buses, built on the Scania K360UA E6 chassis delivered to Nara Kotsu, represent an important milestone for Volgren’s export credentials.
“The delivery of the two artics for Nara Kotsu is the result of eighteen months of hard work, and reinforces Volgren’s ability to deliver world-class buses that meet Japan’s rigorous compliance regulations.”
Articulated buses are rare in Japan with only a handful operating in the country up until Volgren’s entry into the market in 2014.
“Since first entering the Japanese market, we’ve found that operators are closely watching the operation and public acceptance of the artics and there’s definitely renewed interest, especially as they face driver shortages and also the costs associated with light and heavy rail means BRT systems are now becoming a more financially viable and attractive solution.” Tozer says.
Tozer said that the Japanese bus market is very conservative and they’re extremely careful about the product they choose, especially when going outside of Japan.
“They need to trust that your solution won’t break down and passengers are accepting of it.”
While the Japanese market presents a more boutique market of bespoke product solutions, Volgren believes Japan offers continuing export potential for articulated buses.
“There’s currently no local Japanese bus body manufacturer producing articulated buses with the only other option being buses from Europe, that are non-compliant to Japanese regulations and not equipped with any Japanese accessory equipment upon delivery to the customer.”
“The articulated buses that we are producing for the Japanese market are 100 per cent compliant to their vehicle regulations complete with Japanese equipment.”
“This ready to roll solution is well received by the operators and is one of the key planks to our success in Japan” Tozer explains.