Buses for Africa: Daimler launches two locally built Mercedes-Benz models for Kenya

Jul 3, 2017   OEM

Daimler is bringing two new models to meet the ever-growing demand in East and Central Africa for comfortable and safe buses for passenger transportation.

Both bus models are built in Nairobi in cooperation with local sales partner DT Dobie Kenya for the domestic market and its challenging road conditions. The compact Mercedes‑Benz 917 city bus is ideal for use as urban, school or shuttle bus and can accommodate up to 37 people. The more spacious Mercedes‑Benz 1730 is designed for long-distance travel and has room for approximately 60 passengers. With a total market of up to 2,500 new vehicles per year, Kenya is one of the most important sales markets for buses in Central and East Africa. Daimler has been active in Kenya since the 1950s.

Global positioning pays off

When developing new bus models, Daimler Buses benefits from its global operations. Presently truck chassis are used in the vast majority of buses in Kenya. Due to the comparatively hard suspensions and high entrance steps, however, passenger comfort is low. By contrast, the two new bus models are built on the proven OF 917 (permissible gross vehicle weight of 10.4 tonnes) and OF 1730 (perm. GVW 18 tonnes) bus chassis. These come from the Daimler plants in Chennai (India) and São Bernardo do Campo (Brazil). Both chassis have already proven themselves in practice on tough routes in India and Brazil. The chassis will be assembled locally and equipped with a body by certified body manufacturers in Kenya in accordance with Daimler standards. Daimler Buses is the only manufacturer in the Kenyan market to install ABS braking systems and precision steering systems.

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