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To challenge the dominance of Volvo into bus market, Mercedes-Benz made its foray into intercity bus business two years ago. And today on the 9th of March it entered another territory of Intra City public transport bus. Mercedes, which according to them has 25% of market share into intercity bus business, now want to enlarge its footprint with C125 RLE City bus. The launch happened at Mercedes-Benz’ plant at Chakan, Pune.

In India Volvo created a segment of premium buses long ago. They got a head start in this segment and got leadership as they were the first and only one in it. Creating an entirely new segment in cost conscious country like India was a very tough job. But Volvo manages it very well. Currently BRT projects in our Indian cities have Volvo 7900 range in volume. Mercedes came up with rival product but it took long time for them. But it’s little easy for Mercedes as it has market created for the product. Now it just has to play the pricing war perfectly to win India’s commercial vehicle territory.

To do so Mercedes has equipped their product with all features essential for a premium bus. From outside it looks nice and well built, especially in Red color. It measures a whopping 12 meters in length. It’s a low floor bus designed for easy ingress and egress of elderly and handicapped. Ramp is also available for wheelchair entry. On inside, floor is divided into two levels because engine is sitting at the rear. It can occupy 37 passengers in seats while number of occupants can stand. As it is premium bus, it has air conditioner, with independent vents overheads. Charging points are provided to power up your gadgets.

The C125RLE bus houses BS IV compliant 252 HP OM 926LA engine. It’s a inline 6-cylinder 7.2-litre intercooled turbo diesel engine. Mercedes claims that they have tuned the engine so that, it should give maximum efficiency at highest torque. This will ensure that in frequent start stop conditions or on fly-overs, maximum efficiency is achieved. Similar to cars, this engine has BlueTec technology. It is a feedback based intelligent system which controls engine parameters to be eco-friendly. Mated to this engine is an automatic transmission. Yes, it has only three buttons D for drive N for neutral and R for revers. It will help in reducing driver fatigue. Coming to the brakes, it has disc brakes equipped with ABS. And to please you air suspension with six air bellows is doing its duty underneath.

Mercedes is building this C125RLE low floor bus at their Chakan facility, by using their expertise from MCV, Egypt. We got the chance to have look at their manufacturing line. After seeing the plant and their work procedure, I understood Mercedes and its quality. MCV is Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicle Company which is manufacturing world class buses world over. Brazil is currently exporting some components of these buses to India. Currently 40% localization is achieved in the body till date which will increase over time.

Finally all these features and quality of Mercedes-Benz will come with a heavy price tag of Rs. 90 lakh (ex-factory, Pune) for the base version. If you want any additional features to suit your city needs, it will only add to this price tag. So let’s see how many buses make it our city roads. What we wish is that it should ease our journey all the way long.

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