BUSWORLD TURKEY SHOWED GREAT VARIETY
The 8th edition of Busworld Turkey was held from 5 to 7 March in Istanbul, just before much of Europe went into lock-down from the coronavirus pandemic. The event was organised by Busworld International and its Turkish partner, HKF Trade Fairs and was held in the Istanbul Expo Center.
There were 35 vehicles of various sizes on display and 118 industry suppliers. Turkey has a large number of them, making all sorts of parts and systems for buses and coaches, not only for the domestic market but for many export customers. Almost 8,000 visitors came from 75 countries. Istanbul is truly a crossroads city with good connections to many other countries.
Turkey now requires commercial vehicles to meet Euro VI emission standards but is also promoting the use of compressed natural gas in bus fleets. Like many other countries, it is also looking to an electric future which could be vital in crowded cities like Istanbul.
Karsan showed two electric models. The Jest is a low floor minibus that uses the same electric drive system as BMW. Another example was outside the halls and surprised many people with its lively performance. Karsan said at Busworld that it had sold 68 Jest Electric vehicles in eight different countries.
The second exhibit from Karsan was the Atak Electric low floor midibus and that had 18 sales made before Busworld Turkey. Both the Atak and Jest electric models are ready for volume production alongside diesel versions. Many of the diesel Jest minibuses could be seen in Istanbul running on dolmus services.
Anadolu Isuzu has expanded its range greatly in the last ten years. It was originally known for its midicoaches that were widely used on all kinds of services. Since then, the company has developed the full size Citiport range of low floor buses and larger midicoaches. The exhibits in Busworld Turkey were a Citiport 12 CNG, a Novociti Life low floor midibus, a Novo Lux midicoach and the new Novociti Volt which, as the name implies, is electric.
Otokar is the market leader in the Turkish bus sector and now has a large range of buses and coaches. The Kent range of low floor buses has been expanded with the addition of the Kent Electra. Otokar also has an extensive range of medium size buses and coaches. Unusually, they have one model name for the home market and another for exports. On the stand in the fair were Sultan LF, Sultan Mega and Sultan Comfort models along with a larger Doruk.
The Turkish market has suffered a downturn in the last two years so all the manufacturers have been increasing their export efforts. Otokar said that exports accounted for 80% of turnover in 2019. The company has a well established European subsidiary with headquarters near to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Turkey is well known for production of a very wide range of minibuses and minicoaches. Some are relatively simple conversions of popular panel vans but others are coachbuilt on a range of chassis and chassis cowls. These vehicles range from around 4 to 12 tonnes gross weight. Some are incredibly luxurious with large leather seats. Others are designed for city traffic with ingenious options like a low floor area behind the rear axle, suitable for carrying a passenger in a wheelchair.
As mentioned earlier, Turkey has a well developed supply industry capable of making practically everything that a bus or coach builder requires. It can make complicated and high quality units in GRP and other lightweight materials for assembles as complicated as the complete front dashboard of a coach or a staircase for a double deck bus. Others make interior trim, racks, seats, windows, doors, air conditioning and a host of other parts.
The next edition of Busworld Turkey will be held in 2022 when, hopefully, the world is much more back to normal.
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