Daimler subsidiary in Colombia begins operations at new bus chassis assembly in the capital Bogota
Daimler to have an initial output of 500 chassis in 2012 to prepare for growing demand for buses and efficient bus transport systems in major Colombian cities
Four-digit production capacity in the medium term
Stuttgart / Bogota, Colombia – The innovative Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mobility concept is being used in big cities such as Bogota to channel modern buses along separate lanes for faster, safer, and cleaner transportation. For instance, Mercedes-Benz buses equipped with environmentally friendly BlueTec diesel technology and the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) are operating in Colombia’s capital. On February 16, the Daimler subsidiary, Daimler Colombia S.A., officially opened a new bus chassis assembly in Bogota so that it can continue to meet the demand for buses from Daimler, especially for efficient passenger transportation in densely populated cities. Daimler unveiled its latest assembly in the presence of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, and several members of the German parliament. The facility will assemble bus chassis based on the Mercedes-Benz 1016 and the Thomas EF 1723, and will initially assemble a batch of 500 units this year.
Jürgen Ziegler, Head of Daimler Latin America, explained the decision to locate the new bus assembly in Bogota as follows: “Colombia has the biggest market potential for Daimler in the South American bus business after Brazil and Argentina. We are responding to the growth forecasts by consistently expanding our product range with vehicles that meet Colombia’s local Euro IV emissions standard.”
The Mercedes-Benz 1016 and Thomas EF 1723 bus chassis are available in Colombia in Euro IV- and Euro V-versions. The models’ design is unique, since they were specifically developed for the Colombian market and are being exclusively assembled in Bogota. As completely knocked down kits (CKD), the Mercedes-Benz 1016 chassis are delivered from the plant in Wörth, Germany, and the Thomas EF 1723 chassis are conveyed from the Thomas Built Buses facility in High Point, North Carolina, and are finally assembled in Bogota. The local parts production in Colombia initially amounts to ten percent. In the future, Daimler Colombia will also procure parts from local suppliers who meet Daimler’s high quality standards in order to increase the chassis facility’s localization rate to at least 18 percent.
“With a total investment of over $1 million, we are ensuring that the employee qualifications, as well as vehicle development and production equipment, meet our high quality standards,” says Mathias Held, President of Daimler Colombia S.A. “We are creating around 40 new jobs so that we can begin production with an initial output of 500 bus chassis per year. In addition, we are planning to raise production numbers to four-digits in the medium term so that we can meet the rising demand for buses to implement innovative mobility concepts in Colombia’s major cities.”
Bus Rapid Transit in Bogota
Bogota’s “TransMilenio” BRT system is a great example of a successful transportation solution in a city with a population in the millions. The local transportation system was set up in just 24 months and is being gradually expanded across the entire city. The plan is to make the network so comprehensive that 80 percent of the city’s residents will have a bus stop within 500 meters of their homes by 2015. More than 1,800 buses - around 700 of which are Mercedes-Benz models - operate on separate bus lanes that are fed by several feeder lines. Due to its large number of passengers and high travel speed, TransMilenio is one of the world’s leading bus transportation systems.
About Daimler Colombia S.A.
Mercedes-Benz has been operating in Colombia since 1948. Daimler Colombia S.A. is a wholly owned Daimler subsidiary. It has its headquarters in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota and has been selling cars and commercial vehicles since 1998.