Volvo 9700

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Volvo 9700
Volvo9700HD-UG-B13R-6x2-NOR-WAY1.jpg
NOR-WAY (Telemark Bilruter) 9700HD UG in Drammen in May 2014.
Overview
Manufacturer Volvo
Production 2001–present
Assembly Lieto, Finland
Tampere, Finland (-2008)
Wrocław, Poland
Tultitlan, Mexico (-2016)
Body and chassis
Class Commercial vehicle
Body style Coach
Doors 1-1-0, 1-0-1, 1-2-0
Floor type Step entrance
Chassis Volvo B12B, B12M, B7R, B9R, B13R, B11R, B8R
Dimensions
Length 10.3–15.0 m
Width 2.55 m
Height 9700S: 3.42 m
9700H: 3.61 m
9700HD: 3.73 m
Chronology
Predecessor Star 302, Star 502, Star 602
Vector 330, Regal 350, Volvo 7550
Successor Volvo 9800

The Volvo 9700 is a range of coaches introduced by Volvo in 2001 as a replacement for the Carrus Star and Vector/Regal models. There are three main models in different heights; 9700S (3.42 m), 9700H (3.61 m) and 9700HD (3.73 m). The 9700S is only available in the Nordic countries. In addition there is the stripped down 9500 and the 9900 with theater seating. The coaches come in a variety of lengths up to 15 metres, depending on models and markets. Volvo 9700 is currently sold in most of Europe and North America (including Canada, United States and Mexico). In 2015, the Volvo 9800 was launched as a replacement for the Mexican market, followed by the double-decker 9800DD in March 2018, and an all-new generation of 9700 and 9900 were launched in May 2018 with the same styling as the 9800.

First generation (2001–07)

First generation Volvo 9700HD in France.
Volvo 9700S on a B7R in Jyväskylä in October 2009.

Carrus had for many years great success in the Nordic countries with the Star model range descending from the Delta Star and also the Vector/Regal model range from Ajokki. After Carrus was acquired by Volvo in 1998 the models also came available in other European countries under a variety of different names like Volvo 7450 and 7550. In 2001 Volvo gathered all the different models to one name, Volvo 9700, and on one single platform, the Volvo TX, inheriting most of the visual characteristics from the Star models. Serial production of 9700H and 9700HD started in the summer of 2001, while 9700S came into production in the autumn. All three heights were built by Carrus Oy Delta in Lieto, while Carrus Oy Ajokki in Tampere only built 9700H and 9700S. In 2003 production also started at Volvo Polska Sp. z o.o. in Wrocław, Poland, where only 9700H and 9700HD are built. Ever since the start the plants in Finland have served the Nordic markets, while the Wrocław plant has served the rest of Europe, including the UK. As always there has been a few exceptions to this rule for various reasons.

For the Nordic markets they were fitted on both B12B (rear-engine) and B12M (mid-engine) chassis, with both configurations proving to be nearly equally popular. The B12M being the most popular among old Volvo customers, while the B12B became the choice for new customers. Many customers who earlier had their Carruses built on Scania or Mercedes-Benz chassises chose to become Volvo customers to still be able to get their coach body of choice. In the Wrocław plant they were built on B12B only. Even if not being a general offer, a small batch of 9700S were built on B7R chassis in 2004 for a Finnish operator. Also a very small number of the first generation 9700 were built on B9R chassis, but this may have been entirely for testing.

There is also a difference between the Finnish-built and the Polish-built 9700s when it comes to lengths. While they build it to just about any custom length in Finland, those built in Poland are limited to a set of standard lengths; 12 m, 13 m, 13.8 m and 15 m. From the beginning the Nordic 9700S and 9700H were available as two-axle between 12.0 m and 13.7 m, and as tri-axle up to 15.0 m. However, in 2003 the European Union and European Economic Area limited the maximum length of a two-axle vehicle to 13.5 m, also affecting these models. The 9700HD as a tri-axle came in lengths between 13.0 m and 15.0 m, and as a two-axle they came in lengths around 12 m and a super-short 10.32 m, which was only available on the mid-engine B12M chassis.

In 2004 the model received a minor facelift. That year the Finnish plants were renamed; the Tampere plant became Volvo Bus Finland Oy Tampere Factory and the Lieto plant became Volvo Bus Finland Oy Turku Factory. Turku being the nearest city to Lieto.

Non-Volvo chassis, Star 503/603

In 2001 and 2002, the body model was also available on other chassises as the Carrus Star 503 (9700H) and Star 603 (9700HD) in Finland, Sweden and Norway. A handful of Star 503 were built on Scania K114EB/K124EB and Scania K114IB/K124IB chassis. In Norway they were all sold as Scania Classic. Two Star 503 were built on Mercedes-Benz OC500RF for Norwegian operator TIRB. Only two Star 603 are known to have been built on Scania chassis. A K124EB 6x2 to Norway in summer of 2001 and a K124EB 4x2 to Finland in early 2002.

Second generation, NG (2006–13)

Holinsheads Volvo 9700H NG in Chester in September 2013.

The Volvo 9700 NG, also known as 9700 New/Next Generation was revealed in the autumn of 2006. All new styling, but still the same main shape from the previous 9700 and the decades-old Carrus Star. In 2007, the 9700 NG was awarded the title Coach of the Year 2008 by European bus journalists. On 1 October 2008, Volvo closed their operations in Finland. The Tampere plant closed and the Lieto plant was sold back to Finnish investors, mostly related to Carrus, so in a way it was sold back. The new name became Carrus Delta Oy. All 9700s for the Nordic markets are still licence-built at the Lieto plant.

The B12B was still the chassis of choice from the Wrocław plant, until late 2009 when Euro V emission requirements were enforced, and all but the 340 hp engines were gone. The higher power outputs were replaced with the new B13R chassis. For the Nordic markets things changed a bit more. The B12M, which was quite popular, was no longer available. The B13R became the obvious replacement for the 9700H and 9700HD models, but the tall-standing B13R would not fit in the 9700S model, so until the introduction of the B11R in 2011, the 9700S could only be delivered with 340 hp (B12B) or 380 hp (B9R). Before 2009 420 hp was quite common with both B12B and B12M.

Third generation, UG (2012–)

Volvo 9700H UG at Busworld Kortrijk in 2013.

The Volvo 9700 UG, also known as 9700 Upgrade, was first revealed in November 2012[1] for the Nordic markets, and the production at the plant in Finland was all changed to UG by early 2013. For the rest of the European markets, the new generation was postponed to the introduction of the Euro VI compliant chassis models in the autumn. The new generation got new styling details both in the front and the rear end, including new shape of the rear window and new side mirror arms. On the inside Volvo have developed all new seats, giving better side support than the previous ones. They are also a lot thinner, saving some space for legroom. While the Nordic markets got these while still on Euro V/EEV level, they got them also on B9R and B13R chassis, the rest of Europe got them only on B8R and B11R, which are the current offerings.

Alternative versions

Volvo 9700 as brucks

Volvo 9700S B12M 6x2 as a bruck in Finnmark, Norway.

The 9700 is also available as a bruck, with a large integrated cargo compartment at the rear end of the bus, sold only in Norway, Sweden and northern parts of Finland. The cargo compartment usually has a cargo door on the passenger side and a hydraulic cantilever tail lift. The size of the cargo compartment compared to the passenger section may vary by the customer's needs, and some are even fitted with a refrigerated section. In the old days this type of bus was offered by many coachbuilders in the Nordic countries, built on front- or mid-engined chassises, but for the last decade or so Volvo has had very little competition, except for a few double-deckers on Scania chassis, bodied by either Helmark Carosseri or Van Hool. However the brucks are not very common anymore, after the mid-engined B12M chassis was taken out of production in 2009. A rear-engine chassis makes worsened weight distribution and raised floor height at the rear, which results in less cargo capacity. Only a handful have been built on B12B and B11R since then. Also this type of route is not as common as it used to be, as it is considered cheaper to just buy a normal bus or minibus and have a separate cargo route. There are also fewer bus companies into cargo transport than there used to be a few years ago.

Volvo 9500

Volvo 9500 in Drammen, Norway.

The Wrocław-built Volvo 9500 was introduced as a low-price alternative at IAA Hannover in 2010, and is essentially a stripped down 9700H NG. At launch it was only available in a single 12.3-metre configuration and without the possibility for a wheelchair lift, which meant that it could not be used in route traffic in all of the EU and EEA countries. This was both to keep the price down, and to avoid it competing with the more costy 9700 models, but after a few years Volvo changed their mind and released a version with wheelchair lift too. From the start it was only built on the B9R chassis, which got replaced by the Euro VI compliant B8R chassis in 2013. To differentiate the 9500 from the other models, it has simpler-looking headlights, much like those on the Indian Volvo 9400, but in the same colour as the rest of the bus. And while the rest of the European 9700 models have been upgraded to third generation, the 9500 is still built as the second generation.

Volvo 9900

While the first generation of Volvo 9900 introduced in 2001 had many similarities to the 9700, it was technically a separate construction and was built by Drögmöller (Volvo Busse Deutschland GmbH) in Heilbronn, Germany. When the second generation was introduced in 2007, it became a full member of the 9700 family and has since then been built in Poland.

Localized adaptions across the world

A Mexican Volvo 9700 Luxury B12B.
A Volvo 9400 from India.

Mexico

Volvo Buses de México, S.A. in Tultitlán offered a range of 9700 models. Earlier[2] they offered Volvo 9300 (B9R) and 9700 (B12B), resembling the 1st. generation European 9700S and 9700HD. They have also offered second generation 9700s. Currently they offer the American version known as 9700 US/CAN and the new model 9800[3] built on B13R chassis. Volvo's 1st Generation was known as '9700 TX', thanks to the B12B chassis (known as TX) Although second generation was built in two platforms (B12B (TX) and B13R (PX)), two variations came: Luxury and Select. Third generation was presented in 2013, known as 9700 Grand. This was specially designed for Mexico, and was sold in B13R chassis. Luxury and Select versions were still available, but now known as Grand S for Select, and Grand L for Luxury. In Mexico, 9700's replacement is the new Volvo 9800.

USA & Canada

Through Volvo's Prevost network, the Volvo 9700 has been available as a 45' (13.7 m) tri-axle coach in North America since 2009. The North American 9700 differs from all other 9700 models with its split windscreen. The model is also available in Mexico, where it is manufactured.

China

Volvo's Chinese subsidiary Xi'an Silver Bus Corporation (jointly owned with Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation[4]) offer a range of 9700-derived coaches; Volvo 9300 (B7R), Volvo 9600 (B9R) and Volvo 9800 (B12M).

India

Volvo Buses India Pvt Ltd in Hosakote, near the city of Bengaluru, started production of the Volvo B7R bi-axle coaches since 2000. At present, they offer the Volvo 9400 range. In addition to the standard 12 m 9400 (B7R or B9R chassis), they offer since 2012[5] also the 13.7 m tri-axle 9400XL (B9R 6x2 chassis) and the luxurious 14,5 m tri-axle 9400PX (B11R 6x2 chassis).The 9400PX is provided with a steerable tag axle to help it handle tight corners.The latter being the first on the new light-weight Volvo PX platform.

There is also a Volvo 9100 (built on the Volvo B7R chassis), dubbed "Asia Bus", which appears to be the low-price alternative in the Indian luxury coach markets. Being the low cost alternative, the bus lacks certain features possessed by the top notch 9400 family. But still manages to provide the same quality and comfort one gets in the 9400s.

References

  1. ^ Nye Volvo 9700 Bussmagasinet 29 November 2012
  2. ^ Volvo México : Productos www.volvobus.com.mx
  3. ^ Volvo Buses México - Productos
  4. ^ Xi'an Silver Bus Corporation www.chinabuses.org 28 May 2010
  5. ^ Volvo Goes Up the Value Chain with New Class of City Bus & Coaches; Enters Second Tier of Routes Volvo Buses India 29 December 2011

External links

  • Media related to Volvo 9700 at Wikimedia Commons
  • Specifications Volvo Buses (global)
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