Volvo Buses’ new B8R model arrives to Thailand

The new Volvo B8R chassis from Volvo Buses has arrived to Southeast Asia – ‘Made to just keep running’. The Swedish premium buses brand’s latest model, which replaces the top-selling B7R, was in Thailand launched with a Bangkok event in late March. Volvo Buses assembles the B8R in its plant there, using kits from Volvo Buses’ factory in Borås, Sweden.

The new chassis, powered by the 8-litre Volvo engine, is already being sold throughout the Asia- Pacific region and will be available in Euro 5 emission standard when so required by Thai regulations.

To celebrate the arrival H.E. Ambassador Staffan Herrström honoured the occasion, praising one the Nordic country’s most well known brands.

Volvo Buses is replacing a top-selling product with something even more modern, and doing it in a region that is one of the growth engines of the world – SEA.

“Congrats to Thailand, Volvo’s customers and prospects. Volvo Buses is taking a major step forward with its new chassis. Increased safety, fuel efficiency and life cycle cost efficiency will mean important improvements and opportunities for buyers of buses in this country and the region,” said Sweden’s ambassador to Thailand in his welcome address.

H.E. Staffan Herrström, Ambassador of Sweden to Thailand, holding his address at the Volvo Buses B8R Thailand launch

“Volvo is a trademark closely related to Sweden as a country. It stands for many things; safety, quality, environmental concern… as does Sweden as a country. Volvo buses is one of the world’s leading brands of buses and coaches, operating in more than 140 countries all over the world, in Thailand running since 1999,” he continued and went on to point out the two countries have a significantly longer history together.

“Our first relations were established, this year, 150 years ago! King Chulalongkorn visited Sweden in 1897. King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit followed in 1960 and our royal families have very close relations with each other. And the Thai Supreme Court hosted Queen Silvia in Thailand last month. In parallel we have seen remarkable relations been developing between Thais and Swedes,” said ambassador Herrström, pointing to the large number of Swedes, residing in and visiting Thailand every year, as well as the many Thais living in Sweden.

David Mead, Vice President, Volvo Buses Asia Pacific then continued and highlighted and impressive number: “In 2017 Volvo Buses delivered almost 1500 new Volvo Buses in the Asia Pacific. We supply operators in various segments, including city buses, tourist coaches, express coach services, as well as corporate and school transport. We’re very proud to provide the world’s safest, most reliable and most environmentally-friendly buses and coaches across the region and the world.”

“Thailand has always been a special market for us and for the last ten years we put almost 200 new buses on the road every year. In 2017 we are really proud to be the market leader amongst European coaches, and the outlook for 2018, with the new product entry of the new Volvo B8R, looks even brighter,” Mr Mead continued.

“Those that want differentiation in the market and the value of after sales; customers looking to quality and safety in choosing buses – that’s our market.”

He said that with their vision for the future they have made investments locally to serve their customers in the best way possible, and you’ll meet the Volvo bus team based right here in Bangkok.

Volvo Buses spend over 100 million USD annually on R&D, Mr Suresh Chettiar, Business Head of Volvo Buses South Asia and Vice President Volvo Bus Corporation, informed, where the new chassis represents the Swedish company’s commitment to invest in future technologies.

“Describing Thailand as one of their most important markets, he said: “It’s not every day we launch a new product; in this case a product that has been designed to keep our customers in Thailand and markets around the world on the road. It is designed to just keep on running. The new Volvo B8R represents Volvo’s commitment to the intercity tourism and coach segment across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

He described the B8R as well suited to Thailand on long distance and th tourism couches market.

The latest result of the R&D is a “new driveline that takes fuel efficiency to an even better level with the B8R. You will see new features, great flexibility and most importantly the Volvo quality and safety built into this product. But it represents so much more than just being a product – it represents a way that we at Volvo Buses think about public transport, the way we wish to move people and the way we wish to respond to the cities of the upcoming future,” Mr Suresh Chettiar continued.

“At Volvo Buses we understand the importance of being able to move a large number of people reliably, safely as well as with care for the environment. We see the role of B8R as a workhorse for leading bus operators around the world. We are closely working with operators, distributors and with governments. With them we jointly plan for the future in public transport.”

General Manager for Volvo Buses Thailand, Mr Dechchai Kulkarineetham

“We are looking at sustainable technologies that will deliver mass transit outcomes with care for the environment where they work. In time we see a world where vehicles are inter-connected. We see a role also for electric vehicles. And one day maybe even vehicles that can navigate a country like Thailand on their own, with autonomous roads. Above all we do see a bright future or public transport, for operators, our operators, and of course for ourselves as Volvo Buses.”

Speaking to ScandAsia, General Manager for Volvo Buses Thailand, Mr Dechchai Kulkarineetham said that the forecast is for its sales volume to increase, with the Volvo B8R being a bus well suited to Thailand. The focus is on tourism couches, a market of 1200 buses per year in total. In fact, tourists and tour operators increasingly demand more safety and quality from the bus operators.

In 2017 buses from Volvo represented 52 % per cent of sales of brands from Europe.

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About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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