Specifically, the Scania Interlink brand targets Chinese makes that have become a dominant force to reckon with in the upcountry bus transport business.
Already the company has brought in 16 chassis of the new bus for the showdown with the Chinese dragons, which are currently dictating terms in the market. Scania has also lowered the price of the bus as part of the comeback strategy to deal with what some quarters in the subsector regard as “very cheap” Chinese models.
Sales Manager Jerome Sentimea said one Scania Interlink has been sold to Tashriff Bus Company Ltd for US$210,000, which is half the price of what their buses used to fetch when the firm was market leader about four years ago.
According to him, lowering the price has not compromised the quality and durability virtues of the company’s products on which Scania is trusted and has unrivalled goodwill in the market.
Sentimea told Smart Money last week that the engine of the new design is fitted with a cost management technology known as Fleet Management System (FMS). He said this is the first time for such a bus to be introduced in Tanzania.
The technology consists of more than seven components for reducing unnecessary costs in transport vehicles operations and maintenance. Among other things, it helps bus owners and operators to effectively take control of management of fleets to maximize value for money from their businesses.
“We are now ready for a comeback and our goal is to regain the position of being the leading bus supplying company in the country by providing products of high quality and standards,” Sentimea said in an interview on Tuesday at Scania premises along Nyerere Road in Dar es Salaam.
“The new bus we sold two weeks ago is known as Scania F310HB6X2. Its chassis is as usual from Sweden while the body is Malaysian made known as Gemilang Coach,” he added noting that the first Scania bus with the FMS technology was introduced in the East African market mid last year.
The initial eight buses were sold in Kenya. Sentimea said FMS buses debuted in the European market three years ago and the technology was specially introduced for safety purposes.
The system enables the owner of a bus to track it down from the initial point of the journey to the final destination. This can be done by using a smartphone, laptop or iPod anytime from anywhere.
According to internet sources, the Interlink body structure is 14cm narrower at the front, only 2.41m rather than the 2.55m of the rest of the coach. This enables reduction of the turning circle, saves around 100kg in weight and results in a fuel saving of around three per cent.
“The Scania Interlink offers operators unmatched flexibility and customization – different lengths and heights, multiple layouts and the broadest range of fuel options. The new Scania Interlink family has three members: Low Decker, Medium Decker and High Decker,” reads one online source.
“The unique angled front, which reduces weight and turning radius, will lower fuel consumption and noise level. The smart approach behind Scania Interlink is the ability to do many jobs at once –suburb-to-suburb, city-to-city and even countryside-to-countryside,” it adds noting that operators decide on the interior layout and seating of their choice as the basis for deciding on bus length.
Commenting on the new model, the owner of Tashriff Bus Company Ltd, Said Hamoud Said, said he has no qualms with its quality since that is the distinctive hallmark of Scania vehicles. He said his company has decided to revert to Scania buses because of wanting quality issues with the brands they currently have.
He said the company will acquire more Scania buses this year depending on availability of funds but declined to mention the number they have in mind. Currently Tashriff Bus Company has more than 30 buses plying from Dar es Salaam and Tanga to many parts of the country as well as Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya.