As some of u'll maybe knowing, we have purchased two 49 seater buses as stated in this thread
Now to add to the fleet of these buses, we are planning to buy a 25 seater mini bus with AC & pushback/reclining seats. initially the choices we had was eicher, ashok leyland, tata & force motors. we will be buying only the chassis from the manufacturer & getting the body & interiors done in prakash, as done earlier. though fully built buses are available, they are neither stylish nor has an inbuilt AC except for the force traveller which has AC in its 14 seater model. even trucks from Mahindra Navistar, AMW & MAN were considered but these trucks were too expensive & not suitable to us as they came with fully built front bodies.
there was a newer chassis from AL called the lynx but that was rejected as stag was longer than the lynx whereas the lynx was wider than the stag. in our case, length was more inmportant.
swaraj mazda was rejected as i have not heard any reviews about it nor have i seen enough on kerela roads.
tata was rejected as i personally dont prefer tata vehicles but other than that, i heard many negative reviews that tatas require frequent attention/maintainence & also that their vehicles get "old" very soon, as in, engine starts making noise, etc.
so finally, after comparing the specs of each vehicle in detail, we narrowed down our choice to eicher 10.95 or Ashok Leyland Stag.
Pros & cons of stag:
* It has a powerful engine, so AC can be directly coupled to the existing engine.
* Our other two buses are AL too & many parts are the same, so it has its own advantages.
* The eicher is more longer, which is a big disadvantage for the AL.
* AL's engine (118 bhp) is more powerful than eicher's (95 bhp), which also means the AL would consume more fuel.
Pros & cons of eicher:
* AC cannot be directly coupled to the engine, which means an extra engine for the AC which increases expenditure.
* Eicher chassis is longer than AL, which is a huge plus point.
* Eicher will be technically more efficient than the AL.
We are planning to build the bus body with sliding glass so that the bus can be operated with or without AC, as per needs. so without AC, the eicher will reap in more benifits with its superior fuel efficiency.
TATA is launching a new chassis with a CRDi engine in 2 months but i am against it as-
* CRDi engine maybe more refined (which is not our priority) & a tad more efficient, but it will also be more costly.
* CRDi tech in buses means more attention to the engine. Also, spares & maintainence will be on the higher side.
* Drivers down south are well versed with normal engines, but not with CRDi ones. they will be clueless even if a small problem occurs. also, a local mechanic wont be able to solve it!
* New tata vehicles are known for its share of gremlins & issues. i dont want to be tata's guinea pig!
So, finally we have got the quotation for the eicher 10.90 which is Rs. 7.56 lakhs. We will get the quotation for the AL stag tomorrow.
any advice or suggestion guys?