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BUSWORLD TURKEY: the bus mirroring life

BUSWORLD TURKEY: the bus mirroring life

21.05.2012 — Analysis

Being the world's second biggest bus trade fair after BUSWORLD KORTRIJK, the International Trade Fair for Bus Industry achievements, which was held in Istanbul, has proved another time that Europe is changing over to Asian transport vehicles. Turkey, to a greater extent than China, is prepared for expansion into the Old World.

In the opinion of the jury that consisted of about 60 journalists from Turkey and other countries, including the head of RusBusinessNews, Otokar had the best stand design at BUSWORLD TURKEY 2012. Almost half a century after its starting business, Otokar launched Turkey's first electric bus Doruk (Vectio) Electra.

The newborn was exhibited in a very unusual way. The bus body was turned into a screen featuring videotaped Istanbul with its recognizable symbols - the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus Bridge...


Visitors of the exhibition were drawn, like through electromagnetic force, to Electra – to look at the Istanbul life mirrored in the bus windows. The Otokar display evidenced not only a manifest breakthrough of the company that moved up to a new production level, but also triggered the discussion about the adequacy of the bus industry’s response to the present-day concerns of society.

At the opening ceremony, the BUSWORLD founder Luc Glorieux made a few thesis statements that resonated with Otokar’s video installation.


By offering affordable fares, buses will eliminate discrimination in the right to traveling for people in all the countries. Even in the most economically distressed parts of the world people will be able to relocate or to visit their relatives by using a bus. The world economic crisis set the task of survival to the industry, and this task is being achieved by, among other things, BUSWORLD exhibitions held in different countries.

The fourth BUSWORLD TURKEY International Trade Fair attracted 197 participants, including 56 companies from 20 foreign countries. Over three days Istanbul Expo Center hosted nearly 12 thousand trade-related visitors. What trends could they see?


As Luc Glorieux pointed it out, one of the objectives facing manufacturers is improving environmental compatibility. Doruk Electra can cover a distance of 170 kilometers in heavy urban traffic after having been charged. In inter-city commuting - without traffic congestion and moving at a cruiser speed - the distance will increase to 280 kilometers. According to Otokar's general manager Serdar Gorguc, the "green" bus can be adapted to be supplied to the international market.

On the whole, the Turkish company is aiming at 5% of the European bus market by 2016, counting mainly on Sultan (Navigo) buses shorter than 10 meters. Within the last two years Otokar has been leading the field in its home country. In 2011 the company sold 1,190 buses, having boosted sales by 38%. At present, Otokar buses can be seen in the streets of 60 countries of the world.


Otokar is a company of the Turkish origin. Clearly, Mercedes-Benz Turk A.S has German roots. The company may have been wrong to place the Topcam bus made (though in Germany) in 1957 somewhere in the backyards rather than at the central stand, side by side with the present-day autobahn conquerors.


The toiler-veteran that had carried a lot of passengers to Istanbul over its service years deserved much greater respect; however, the German co-owners, most likely, were willing to underline that Mercedes-Benz Turk A.S is one of the largest foreign investors in Turkey, boasting the amount of about 670 million euros.

Mercedes-Benz Turk A.S, the main sponsor of BUSWORLD TURKEY, occupied the largest exhibition area - 1,200 square meters. It would take almost the whole day to see and learn about numerous microbuses of various types and impressive coaches.


Mercedes holds off on manufacturing of electric-powered buses in Turkey - the Germans aim to increase the output of hybrid (diesel-electric) buses, both as the city public transport and intercity transit buses. What cannot be denied is that if the Germans start making the Lounge Travego version, it surely will be a first-class vehicle. With leather-covered seats that you immediately want to have as a trophy for your office, with the video-system and mini-kitchen. Who knows, but this model might have the say in the decision on the Best Bus Manufacturer of 2012.This first-time award is given by the Coacher Federation of Turkey (TOFED) under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The third player on the Turkish bus market - BMC, which over 47 years of its operation has produced 315 thousand buses and is making every effort to keep its niche both at home and in other countries. Today BMC is exporting its products to more than 80 countries worldwide. Similar to Mercedes-Benz Turk A.S, it puts emphasis on manufacturing of hybrid buses. However, the most eye-catching model was the bus having a wheelchair emblem on the window, which was even more interesting to visitors than its environmental compatibility.


The company provides a novel opportunity to disabled people who could have a trouble-free trip in a city bus so far: Fold-out ramps to give an easy access to the wheelchair have become compulsory attributes of Istanbul "bendy" buses. But the sophisticated electric lift in a touring couch is a novelty. By the way, there were several manufacturers of such lifts among the trade fair participants, which another time proves the importance of the stated equality that people will be able to attain thanks to buses.


Mehmet Erdogan, the president of TOFED, was proud to state that buses carry 200 million passengers in Turkey annually. BUSWORLD TURKEY 2012 demonstrated that the Turkish bus manufacturers are ready to raise the bar to the new record level.

Vadim Dynin

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