"SETRA" - WINS FROM CHANGE
It is very difficult to believe that the elegant name of Setra is a trivial abbreviation for the unpronounceable German SElbstTRAgender - “selbsttragender”, which means “self-supporting” in translation.
The name appeared in 1951, when the company of Carl Kessborre released the first bus with a supporting body "Setra-S8". Curious people sometimes want to know what italic "K" means, adjacent to the emblem with the word "Setra". Everything is simple here - this is a monogram of Karl Kessborr. His company made the very first bus back in 1911, and in the thirties established production of special aerodynamic bodies for high-speed buses - then they began to ply along German autobahns. Nearly 90 years with buses is a good reason to remind about this without hesitation.
AND WHAT DOES "EVOBUS" DO?
No, this is not a new model. Eurobus Company does not have such a glorious history. It was founded five years ago by Daimler-Benz, which combined three busmen: Mercedes-Benz itself, Mercedes-Benz Turkey and Setra, which had previously been independent. Now, the Setra and Mercedes-Benz are close relatives.
The union benefited everyone. Mercedes-Benz got access to the body technologies of Setra, and she, in turn, to the latest units of the company. In numbers, this is expressed as follows: in 1995, 1919 Setra buses were sold, and in 1999 - 2775.
IN THE EAST OF EUROPE
If we generally know about Mercedes-Benz buses of German and Turkish production and their sales number in the hundreds, then very little is known about the Setra brand. Eurobus believes that about 200 of these cars run on our roads. If we take into account that last year Russia purchased 68 Setr, this is close to the truth, but most of them are 215HD models, which dates back to the seventies. We do not order new models yet. Expensive.
The Russian bus market is very promising. After all, the third largest in the world after India and China - for every thousand Russians there are 3.2 buses, or a total of 470 thousand. Most of these machines are very old and need to be replaced. But for importers who are eager for our market, part of the conditions is unacceptable - 30% duty! For comparison: for the former "social brothers" of the Poles, it is only 10% and long-distance bus transport is growing much faster.
Residents of Eastern European countries love traveling to the west, but their income is a little tight, and therefore they prefer a comfortable bus that takes them directly to their destination with an expensive air ticket or a train that is not very convenient. Today, the growth of passenger traffic is also observed in the Baltic countries, from where Russia is within easy reach. With this in mind, apparently, the “Setra” organized by the Baltic Tour company was conceived with a finish in St. Petersburg. Here we met our new buses.
“SETERS” HAVE DIFFERENT
Each manufacturer has its own classification system. Setra divides all buses into three groups. “Multiclass” - the most affordable universal machines for suburban communication with an average or low floor level, “comfort class” - buses of the middle price range and comfort, designed for intercity transportation and excursion services, and, finally, “top class” - the most comfortable cars for operation on long routes with maximum efficiency.
All three families differ markedly in appearance. The “multiclass” machines have an almost rectangular profile, and the “top class” is easily recognizable from the side by a wide inclined rack.
Naturally, the gamut of buses does not differ only in body type and floor level: "Setra" are from 8.9 to 15 m long (in the "multiclass" there is also an articulated model 18 m long), and the 12-meter ones can be biaxial and triaxial and 13.6- and 15-meter-only triaxial. Unlike Mercedes-Benz, Setra is more flexible in picking cars. Even with regard to “political” issues: Setra buses can be equipped not only with Mercedes-Benz engines, but also with their competitors: MAN engines or Detroitdiesel engines. And while among the customers of intercity cars the share of those who prefer “non-Mercedes” diesel is only 5%, then suburban buses are equipped with 35% MAN engines.
WHAT WILL BE TOMORROW?
International passenger traffic is experiencing another surge today. With the abolition of borders in Europe, the intercity bus, as a means of transport, is becoming increasingly attractive. However, the old vehicles are not allowed to enter here: buses that do not comply with Euro I are no longer allowed in the EU countries. Next year the turn of Euro I cars will come, so that by 2004 only buses corresponding to Euro II and III will remain on the roads of the united Europe. At the same time, the number of long buses will increase - now they are allowed to grow as much as 15 m. Practice shows: the turning radius of 15-meter cars (they have both the front and rear axles) is only a meter longer than 12-meter ones, and this does not cause problems even in the narrowest streets. The boom of double-decker buses is also expected: the “double decker” Setra-328DT, with a 12-meter length, takes 75 passengers on board. So the spread of "extra-large" buses is a short time business, since it is very profitable.
And what about Russia? There are no new "Setr", as already noted. Will bus trips to Europe be popular with us? In the near future is unlikely. Still far away - two days' journey. In addition, contrary to popular belief, our traveling compatriots are wealthier than they sometimes want to seem, and prefer flights. In addition, weakening of the passport and visa regime is not yet expected - rather, on the contrary. Nevertheless, there is interest in bus trips. And if special prices work for the Russian market, it is possible that a variety of “sets” will appear on our roads.