By Theodore Opara
WESTSTAR Associates Limited, authorised general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Nigeria in collaboration with Auto Alternative Nigeria Limited, authorised representative of Marcopolo in Nigeria has launched the new Marcopolo Paradisio 1350 bus to the Nigerian market.
While presenting the bus to the press and leading bus operators in Nigeria, Managing Director of Weststar Associates Limited, Mr. Mirko Plath, said that the introduction of the Marcopolo Paradiso 1350 bus model marks a move in the right direction for bus operators in Nigeria.
He said,“The bus operators already have a long standing relationship with Mercedes-Benz dating back to the 1950s. The brand has been a benchmark for their success over the years hence, their trust in the brand and in Weststar Associates.”
According to him, the Mercedes-Benz Marcopolo buses are not new to operators in Nigeria. He, however, assured that with the bus, operators were ready to take their businesses to the next level, and pleaded that they should continue to put their trust in the Mercedes-Benz brand. He noted that the collaboration with Marcopolo in Nigeria has certainly borne fruit over the years.
Narrating the story of Marcopolo buses in Nigeria, Plath said that Mercedes Benz has a long history in Nigeria, adding that the first Marcopolo was first launched in the country in the 80s. According to him, the Marcopolo stands for safety, quality, reliability and genuineness among others.
In his presentation, Weststar Associates Key Accounts Manager, Ifeanyi Igbokwe explained the O 500 RSD bus chassis has been carefully developed for medium and long-distance applications. According to him, the chassis has all of Mercedes-Benz‘s technological advantages and is a robust and highly durable chassis that is adequate for the most severe working conditions.
“It also provides high comfort to the passengers due to the integral pneumatic suspension and a Mercedes-Benz gearbox (with six synchronized gears). This chassis is built to offer top quality and low operational costs, it is also designed to withstand 24 tonnes. It offers better ergonomics to the driver’s top auxiliary brake which provides an additional braking power of 30 per cent and a high ground clearance level for bad road conditions”, Igbokwe added.
On the bus USP, Igbokwe said Mercedes-Benz has a long legacy, assuring that the new posseses certain attributes which include: reliability, easy access for maintenance, brand aesthetics, better connectivity features, comfort and safety, good fuel efficiency, high modularity, efficient powerful engine which gives a lasting value, low total cost of ownership among others. For the bus operators, he warned that their focus should be on: Ruggedness and an absolute work horse – versatility in terms of load capacity, easy maintenance, continuous service with little downtime as possible, wider service network, lowest cost of operations for better returns in business, parts availability and one-stop solutions.
Other attributes of the newly introduced bus include: design to provide the best passenger experience and greater comfort and safety to the driver making it even better than its predecessors. The Paradiso 1350 bus is built with the ever reliable Mercedes-Benz 0 500 RSD bus chassis developed for middle and long distance travel, it is a robust and highly durable vehicle that is built to carry 24 tonnes and a body length of up to 14 meters long.
The new Marcopolo Paradiso 1350 brings external and internal changes that raise the level of sophistication, comfort, safety and efficiency in comparism to its predecessors. A renewed exterior sees the Paradiso 1350 appear with newly designed mirrors that offer better driver visibility, newly designed bumpers and side windows and a new visual identity in the front; while the rear comes with a larger back cover that improves access to mechanical components and rear windows with a new design. Another major feature of the exterior is the headlights with new internal design and integrated DRL (Daytime Running Lights), also included in the headlights are LED fog lights and an elongated side wall design giving a modern feel and flow to the light assembly.
The interior of the new Marcopolo Paradiso 1350 is totally transformed from the driver’s cabin with new lighting to the dashboard with soft touch finish and more thermoacoustic comfort. There is also an electric window next to the driver that comes as an optional extra, while the larger access steps come with injected profiles and indirect lighting for ease of entrance, other features include new floor coverings and a new roof design with superior lighting and LED details. The safety and well-being of passengers and the driver is highly prioritized as the space between the driver’s cab and the passengers’ section is partitioned with bulletproof glass and the drivers cab is also partitioned with a protective glass door.
The O 500 RSD 2436 6×2 chassis is equipped with an OM 457 LA engine that comes with 6 in-line cylinders. The power output is 265 kW (355 hp) at 1,750 rpm and is operated via a 6 speed manual gear transmission. The Mercedes-Benz O 500 chassis is also very economical for bus operators as the electronic motors included in its engine ensure that the bus consumes lower fuel and has a longer life.
With regards to safety the O 500 RSD chassis is equipped with safety features like the Top Brake auxiliary engine brake coupled with the conventional engine brake system. This brake system provides many advantages, such as increased braking power, higher speed on slopes, greater safety, less gear shifting, lower maintenance costs, longer life of brake and tire components and fuel economy. Also there is an anti-lock brake system (ABS) which offers greater safety, because the vehicle remains stable in adverse driving conditions and critical situations. In cases of sudden braking, even on smooth surfaces or rough roads, the ABS system prevents the vehicle from skidding.