New partnership makes waves in Australia

The new Audace – the first bus to come from a partnership between Volvo Bus Australia and bodybuilder, Marcopolo has made quite an impression on the Australian market, as operators continue to give positive feedback.

Two NSW operators in particular, have been impressed with the backup, functionality and stylish appearance of the newly-launched model.

The 12.3 metre Audace combines the renowned Volvo Euro5 Volvo B7R chassis with a Brazilian-made Marcopolo body.

The result is a sleek, stylish and affordable package that appeals to the dynamic needs of operators, including John Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Tours in Nowra, NSW and Brett Allen, Director of Wagga Wagga’s Allen’s Coaches.

Total package – functionality and style
In Nowra, John has been operating the new Audace for both his regular school routes and school excursions for two months, and says the bus ticks all the boxes.

“This unit really meets all our requirements – it allows us to deliver the high quality service on which we pride ourselves, and it’s a good looking bus, built well and at a good price. It came with all the features we were looking for, from safety to comfort and functionality to back up,” John said.

The Volvo B7Rs have extensive mechanical features, including four wheel disc brakes and ABS for responsive braking, and active suspension that allows for a smooth ride and exceptional manoeuvrability.

The 57-seat Marco Polo body features bonded glass panes that maximise passenger and driver visibility, streamlined pillars from windscreen to roof, head and tail lights with LED turn signals and clearance lights, and electric rounded external mirrors with a demisting system.

“Everyone loves this bus. The drivers enjoy the manoeuvrability and robustness of the Volvo B7R chassis as well as the seating position and the layout of the driver’s cabin, while our customers and passengers are impressed with the overall design and comfort. And from a business standpoint, we’re really pleased with the excellent back up we’ve received from both Volgren and Volvo.”

Of John’s 24-strong fleet, 17 of his units have Volvo chassis, and their reliability and brawn are something he’s come to rely on. Another characteristic John depends on is Volvo’s steadfast support. Throw Volgren Australia into this equation, and John says the back up and support he receives for his new Audace is second to none.

“The Volvo chassis is what really sold me on the Audace, but the fact that the whole unit is fully warranted and supported by both Volgren and Volvo really added that extra security that this was the right bus for us,” he said.

“The response we’ve had from Volvo and Volgren already has been phenomenal. We had a door lock break a short while ago - which can happen on any bus - and the spare part was in our hands the very next day.”

Service and back up is a huge point of call for every operator as slow or inattentive back up can cost thousands in unit down time.

Meeting new regulations
Director of Wagga Wagga’s Allen’s Coaches, Brett Allen, experienced the Audace at Bus NSW’s Regional Seminars across the state in April.

Though Brett doesn’t currently own one, with new seatbelt regulations rumoured to be pending in NSW, he’ll soon have to consider busses equipped with seatbelts, like the Audace.

“If new regulations are passed, I’ll have to update to seat belted busses. The Audace definitely tops the list and in addition, it’s a smart-looking bus. It has great finishes; new, clean styling, and looks much smarter than the boxy bodies.”

The Audace comes standard with seatbelts, parking sensor, reverse cameras, DVD player, reading lights, Multiplex - an advanced natural ventilation and air-conditioning system, and individual air controls.

Brett also explained that while the sleek look of the newly-designed body first caught his eye, it was the quality and backing from such reputable companies such as Volgren and Volvo – who both have a strong understanding of the Australian market – that really made a lasting impression on him.

“What appealed to me is that the body is backed up by Volgren, probably the most respected bodybuilder in Australia; and the chassis is supported by Volvo, which is known throughout the world for quality, safety, and efficiency.”