A wider variety of coaches, including those with Tourismo bodies, are now available for PSVAR conversion work at Volvo’s Truck and Bus repair centre in Loughborough.
The first Tourismo was booked into the workshop in March and completed in July. Now the workshop has completed four such vehicles in total, and a supply of parts means lead time on the conversions is in line with other bodies in the workshop’s remit.
Roy Scott, Bodyshop Manager at the workshop, is responsible for working directly with a door manufacturer to develop and bring to market the side door for the Mercedes-Benz offering.
“It has put us in a unique position,” Mr Scott explains. “To get the initial prototypes, the drawings, the patterns, the shape of the door, the size that we want, the door was essentially built around what we could get off the shelf in terms of glass.
“Now that we’ve gone through that development phase and we’ve got vehicles with doors in stock, the conversion time on the Tourismo is six to seven weeks as any other product we convert.”
The new door has been specified for both the second and the third generation (post-2017) of Tourismo. So far the workshop has completed two of the earlier type and two of the later type. The workshop, which routeone visited in 2020, is now fully booked to October 2022 with conversions.
“We’ve gone on the front foot and taken stock on the parts required,” continues Mr Scott. “We knew there was a future here for PSVAR conversions for the next couple of years, and we were confident that whatever stock we bought we would move. So we bit the bullet and placed some big orders for stock of doors.”
The conversions have been well received and Mr Scott reveals there is an interest in developing doors for further models if the demand is there.
“We have to take the enquiries one by one and evaluate what volume of that particular vehicle is out in the market place. There’s a lot of research and development that has to go into it and we have to commit to a minimum order quantity for our supplier to fabricate it. We have to be confident that we will get the return on that investment.”
And there is little evidence to suggest that the enquiries for PSVAR conversions are slowing down. “We’re selling conversions by the week,” he adds. “In the last week and a half, we went from being fully booked in late August to October.”
The workshop continues to work closely with Passenger Lift Services for the fitment of wheelchair lifts. Each lift follows the same pattern, being side-mounted and boxed off to maximise luggage space. Each conversion comes with a 12-month bodywork warranty.
On top of the second and third generation Tourismo, the workshop now covers the Plaxton Leopard and Panther bodies, Sunsundegui SB3, SC5 and SC7 bodies, the Jonckheere JHV, and MCV EvoTor-bodied vehicles.