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Integral surprise from Irizar

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After selling in the UK exclusively on Scania chassis since 1994, Spanish coach builder Irizar will be offering a Paccar-powered integral, the i6, for 2010. A measure of the seriousness of Irizar’s intent in the UK is that it unveiled a right-hand-drive i6 at Euro Bus Expo ahead of the model’s world premiere in Madrid later this month.

    Export sales director Gotzon Gomes has yet to name the dealer who will handle UK integral sales. “We will have a UK partner with a good reputation,” he says, promising top-quality aftersales support, recognising that will be key to maintaining residual values.

    Gomes says that the move to integrals is necessary to protect the company’s future, and suggests that many of his company’s competitors who rely on body-on-chassis sales will not survive the next five to seven years. “The big chassis manufacturers want to sell complete products,” he says. “They are also offering too many bodybuilders.” Rather than criticise his company’s existing UK chassis partner, Gomes quotes Volvo which in the UK sells its complete coach model plus chassis with bodywork by Van Hool, Jonckheere, Plaxton and Sunsundegui.

    The i6 will be available in lengths between 12.2 and 15m, and in heights of 3.5 and 3.7m. Features of the i6 include improved engine compartment sound-proofing, new mirrors, an improved toilet and the option later in 2011 of a front-mounted wheelchair lift.

    The coach at Euro Bus Expo was a 13m model with 12.6-litre Paccar MX300 Euro 5 engine and ZF AS Tronic gearbox. The smaller 9.2-litre PR265 is an option.

www.irizar.com

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