MAN steps on the gas in South Korea
MAN’s portfolio of buses in South Korea is set to continue growing, following the presentation of its Lion’s Touring cabriolet single-decker last November. MAN showcased the first natural gas-powered low-floor bus at the Seoul Motor Show and also revealed a double-decker for the South Korean market.
- MAN presented the first natural gas-powered low-floor bus and a new double-decker at the Seoul Motor Show in South Korea
- Next steps planned to open up the South Korean market further
- Delivery of over 50 double-deckers planned for the remainder of 2017
In November 2016, MAN Truck & Bus gave the go-ahead to enter the Korean market, and the first Man bus was presented. MAN’s presentation of a CNG low-floor bus and a double-decker at this year’s Seoul Motor Show in Goyang, South Korea, formed the next significant milestone. Since then, the first of these double-deckers, which are based on the RR4 chassis, has already been handed over to customers.
Buses powered by alternative drive systems are hugely popular in South Korea due to their low emissions. This explains South Koreans’ long-standing love for natural gas as a fuel, which is also reflected in the fact that over a million trade show attendees showed interest in the CNG city bus presented by MAN. Its low-floor design and three doors to allow passengers to board and disembark more quickly represent a new concept for the country. A private bus operator was so captivated by this design that it immediately signed an agreement to purchase the first 30 MAN city buses. These are expected to be delivered at the end of 2017.
Carmen Fakler, South Korea Market Entry Project Manager, sees great potential in MAN’s natural gas-powered low-floor bus in South Korea. Two local bus manufacturers currently hold a duopoly on the South Korean CNG bus market. “We are pursuing a clear objective in South Korea: breaking out of a niche market, to achieve mass-market penetration. Each bus developed for South Korea is virtually a new creation due to the need to meet local specification and type-approval requirements,” explains Fakler.
A MAN A22 chassis forms the basis for the 12-m long natural-gas powered city bus, which has 29 seats, 6 of which can be folded down. The option is also available to accommodate two wheelchairs. The 310-hp E28 engine provides reliable acceleration. A distinctive feature of the MAN city bus is its low-floor construction, which incorporates three doors. City bus fleets in South Korea have primarily consisted of high-floor and low-entry vehicles up to now, which is why MAN is introducing the first, and only, low-floor bus onto the market.
The second MAN vehicle recently presented at the Seoul Motor Show also knew how to turn heads. The double-decker is based on the RR4 chassis and meets the latest emissions standard. The D26 engine delivers 460 hp (338 kW). Recent weeks have already witnessed the delivery of seven double-deckers and there are a further 45 vehicles to follow by the end of the year.
Project manager Carmen Fakler concludes, “following the motor show in Goyang, which ended with great success, we are now looking forward to more positive results for MAN Truck & Bus Korea and a rosy future in the South Korean market”.