Scania press conference
I was at a Scania press conference earlier this week on the Embankment, a short walk from Vauxhall Underground and Bus Station, which is worthy of note as I’ve never before seen a bus station with what appears to be a ski jump on the roof
When I was walking to the hotel, I saw something else I’d not seen before, a policeman pull over and book a cyclist for riding through a red light. Was this a coincidence or is it a new policy because something does need doing about the road sense of cyclists. Too many are being injured and killed. I read that there are calls for the driver of the bigger vehicle to automatically carry the blame in a collision and I strongly oppose this. Cyclists have to take more responsibility for themselves. Most are adults, ROSPA report that only 13 of 118 cyclists killed in 2012 were children.
The press conference wasn’t about bikes, it marked 50 years of Scania’s presence in the UK market and brought Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Scania CV AB, on a rare visit to our shores. I’d not met him before but he came over as a thoroughly nice guy. Much of what he had to say was about trucks, but there were some interesting nuggets for the bus and coach side too. The big coach news was that the Touring body, built by Higer in Suzhou, China, is coming to the UK, initially as a three axle 13.7m 57 seater with toilet, but next year in two axle form as well.
He said that VW’s full takeover of Scania was a natural progression from the 65% stake it took in 2008, listing increased revenue, higher competency and cost savings as some of the advantages. There would also be collaboration with VW and MAN on gearboxes, hybrids, cab components, city and intercity bus structures and axles.
Significant for me was a comment on what VW ownership means for the bus and coach operation, recognising that with respect to city and intercity bus structures; ‘the volumes are too small in that market and they need to be consolidated.’
When Scania first came to the UK it faced competition from 24 different truck manufacturers. There are nowhere near that many now and, as Martin’s comment showed, consolidation is ongoing.