Not long now: Higer targets UK and Ireland

All-new Higer Super 9 midicoach to arrive with Irish distributor in June; more models will follow, it has been confirmed, and an electric coach is also in the works among other developments

The first of a substantial stock order of  rear-engined, 9.33m Higer midicoaches will arrive in Europe in early June, and UK and Irish importer Harris Group has confirmed that the model is a “completely different vehicle” to the one exhibited at Euro Bus Expo and Dublin’s Coach and Bus Show in 2014.

A variety of new models are in the pipeline from Higer for UK buyers

Chris Haughton, Group Marketing Manager, tells routeONE that market feedback has seen Harris Group and Higer – based in Suzhou, China – return to the drawing board and develop a new model for the UK and Irish market.

Christened the Super 9, it is better suited to multi-day touring than the original midicoach, which Mr Haughton says was aimed at single-day trips and shorter-distance private hire.

“It is a new take on this segment of the market, and is a very high-specification coach with a lot of advances over the one we exhibited previously. It is wider and longer, with 37 seats plus the crew.

“We have also moved the rear door to behind the axle, giving over double the under-floor luggage space at more than 6m3.”

Mr Haughton says that Harris Group insisted that sound-deadening material was incorporated into the floor of the new vehicle to mitigate the driveline noise intrusion that goes with a door behind the rear axle.

All Super 9s will be supplied with USB charging ports at every seat and 240v points at alternate rows, he adds. The Super 9 comes with independent front suspension with ECAS and air suspension on both axles.

Power for the new model is from a Euro 6 Cummins ISB6.7 engine rated at 300bhp coupled to a more advanced Allison automatic gearbox than used previously. The coach will have 22.5in wheels fitted with Michelin tyres, and a Higer onboard telematics system – G-Boss – fitted as standard.

Mr Haughton also confirms that Harris Group will be bringing three other Higer models into both the Irish and UK markets: A smaller coach seating up to 27, a two-axle 12m example and a 13.7m tri-axle. The latter two will be powered by Iveco Cursor engines coupled to ZF automated gearboxes.

Also on Higer’s radar is the electric vehicle (EV) explosion hitting Europe. Mr Haughton says two sample EV units will be available for Q4 this year and will include a city bus and a full EV coach.

An announcement concerning supply arrangements for UK buyers will be made in due course, he adds, with appointment of a UK-based dealer network the most likely and practical course of action.