A new bus based on strong partnership
24 MAY 2021
Fifteen years into an extremely successful partnership, Scania and Chinese bus and coach builder Higer take another big step together. This week the new bus range Scania Fencer makes its world premiere in Great Britain.
“With the new Scania Fencer range in our offer we will strengthen our position in the market and keep driving the shift towards a sustainable transport system,” says Anna Carmo E Silva, Head of Buses & Coaches at Scania.
Scania’s global success in the bus and coach business is based on the strong partnerships built with many body builders around the world. These collaborations are an integral part of Scania’s bus and coach strategy.
“These partnerships have been developed and refined over the years. They are anchored by mutual interest to serve our customers' demands on products and services, and driven by the daily cooperation in our teams,” says Alexander Vlaskamp, Head of Sales and Marketing at Scania.
From quantity to quality
In 2004 Scania was looking for a commercial body building partner in China, interested in jointly taking the journey towards premium coaches and buses. A partnership was established with Higer, a bus body builder within the Chinese King Long Group.
Like other Chinese manufacturers, Higer wanted to move their product line from quantity towards quality and sustainability.
“What Scania suggested was exactly what we had been looking for at that time,” says Mr. Huang, CEO of Higer. “I was very impressed with the ambition Scania came up with.”
After launching the A80 luxury bus, aimed for export from China and used by the Chinese Olympic team during the summer games in Beijing 2008, the bus duo researched and developed the Scania Touring A90 High-class Deluxe coach, mounted on a chassis manufactured in Sweden and bodied by Higer.
In 2016, a new factory was completed in Suzhou, west of Shanghai - a dedicated production facility for Scania Higer products. With an area of 22,000 m2 the factory has a production capacity of 1,000 units/year on one shift.
At the same time a dual-brand strategy was launched in the partnership.
Largest high-end exporter
Both Scania and Higer expected China to be the main market for the cooperation, but it turned out that most of the common products would be sold outside China. To date, the Scania-Higer partnership is the largest exporter of high end coaches from China, with more than 3,000 of the cost-efficient Scania Touring coaches delivered to more than 50 countries worldwide.
“We have had a 15 year long mutually beneficial cooperation where we together made the journey to produce international high-quality buses and coaches. In these 15 years we have been forged together into a very strong team. We are today delivering top quality products with excellent delivery precision. The combination of Scania branded and dual branded products makes our offering both flexible and suitable for most market,” says Leo Zheng, Executive Vice President and Head of Production and Logistics at Higer.
“Knowledge and recognition”
Mats Harborn, President Scania China Group, also testifies to the strength of the partnership:
“This cooperation is seen as one of the most successful partnerships in the Chinese commercial vehicles industry. It has given us knowledge and recognition we can now rely on when expanding in China, and it has been a contributing factor to Scania´s approval to make a major and unique industrial establishment in China, with our own truck plant,” he says.
In the Suzhou factory, coaches and buses are built at dedicated Scania lines. The 250-strong workforce works according to the same lean production processes as Scania's other truck and bus production facilities around the world.
The collaboration between Scania and Higer is based on Higer contributing with knowledge and expertise regarding bodywork, while Scania contributes with chassis and experience of international customers' requirements. Together with Higer, Scania's designer team has given the vehicles a clear Scania expression.
“The partnership between Scania and Higer has developed over the years, and now it is time to take the next step together,” says Anna Carmo E Silva. “The new bus range Scania Fencer is the first result of this refined collaboration.”
A new range
Scania Fencer is a completely new range of city buses that in the future will cover all versions: low-floor, low-entry, 2-axle, 3-axle, articulated buses and double-deckers. It’s developed, designed and constructed by Scania and built at Scania’s own bus lines at the Suzhou factory.
The first Scania Fencer launched is a city bus, and with this launch Scania gains a new platform for its bus business in the British Isles.
“Working with the people in Higer has been an absolute pleasure and we are really excited to bring this bus to the market with them,” says Martin West, Sales Director, Buses and Coaches in Scania Great Britain. He continues:
“For the Fencer development, we worked directly with the Higer team. We are so impressed with their passion for the product, the attention to details, and also their ability to produce specifications for the British operators.”
“And most importantly - they have shown a huge drive and determination that matches our own, to exceed customer expectations. Our customers will love this bus!”
Find out more about the Scania Fencer bus.
Scania aims to be a frontrunner in sustainable mobility. Over more than a century, we have accumulated a deep understanding and a knowledge base that enables us to develop the buses, coaches, and services needed to make sustainable mobility happen – everywhere.