The bus demand is coming back with the industry selling more buses in the April-July period of this fiscal than the whole of last year, Vinod Aggarwal, MD and CEO of VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), said on Wednesday.
Aggarwal said that within the industry, various segments such as school, staffing and inter-city and tourists, are all coming back to normal.
Bus industry was the worst-hit in the domestic automobile space owing to travel restrictions in the first two waves of the COVID pandemic.
“In the first four months (April-July) of this financial year, the bus market (5-tons and above) was around 19,000 units. As against this, the industry sold a total of 18,000 buses in the full fiscal year of 2021-22,” Aggarwal told PTI after the launch of a new coach platform and sleeper and seater coaches.
He said this (5-tons) market, which used to be around 65,000-70,000 units at the peak, in 2018-19 has hit rock bottom at just around 11,000 units in FY21 due to the pandemic.
“We can very clearly say that the bus market is coming back and things are getting back to normal now, be it the overall bus market or its various segments. School segment has become almost normal, the staffing segment is also becoming normal because a lot more offices have reopened and people have started travelling to their offices. The intercity and tourists segments are also coming back,” Aggarwal said.
“We see a very positive outlook for the entire bus industry going forward. The industry is going to get back to normal,” he added.
The first offerings on the next-gen Volvo 9600 platform are factory-built sleeper and seater coaches, the company said in a statement regarding the launch.
“The Volvo 9600 platform merges bus design, technology and manufacturing processes with our successful ‘Make-In-India’ journey. As the bus industry recovers from a very tough period, bus operators continue to count on us to deliver solutions that address the aspirations of inter-city passengers,” said Akash Passey, President – Bus Division at VECV.
The coaches on the Volvo 9600 platform will be manufactured at the company’s Hoskote plant in Karnataka, which has been producing fully built Volvo premium buses since 2008, VECV said.
“The goal of our bus division at VECV is to shape the future of the Indian bus industry, and to transform public mobility,” Aggarwal added.