From Yutong’s evolving portfolio of e-coaches to the challenges and strategies associated with promoting electric coaches in Europe. From the sales model employed by Yutong in the European market the the group’s strategic approach to market expansion, with a primary focus on the Nordic regions, passing through a focus on the local content of Yutong buses and the potential localization of production in Europe.

These and more topics were on the table of our interview with Jack Li, CEO Europe at Yutong, shedding light on Yutong’s vision and strategies in the rapidly evolving zero emission bus market of the old continent.

Our goal is to expand our market share, and we have devised a strategy focused on enhancing the local content of our buses. We are incorporating various European components, such as the Actia cockpit, ZF axles, Michelin tires, to name a few examples.

CATL is in the process of establishing a plant in Hungary with the objective of commencing production by the end of 2024. As a result, we are planning to procure battery modules from Europe in the future. To achieve this, we must secure robust sales to support our investment in localizing production. Timing of this strategy will depend on sales.

Jack Li, CEO Europe at Yutong
jack li ceo yutong europe

At Busworld, held in early October in Brussels, Yutong displayed four models, including some interesting innovations. In particular, Yutong has unveiled the articulated version of the U18. Secondly, time has come for the U11 double-decker, headed to the British market.

Closing the circle, an extra short (the seven-metre E7) and the three-axle battery-powered coach T15E, ready to preside over a segment, that of the zero-emission coach, which is still embryonic.

Jack Li, CEO Europe at Yutong, on the business case for e-coaches in Europe

Your range of e-coaches for Europe is today made of ICE12 and T15. Should we expect changes and/or addition?

I know our competitors haven’t launched electric coaches so far in the market. We have already launched the ICE12 a few years ago, headed to commuter services and coach applications. We have sold around 200 units in Europe.

The new model displayed at Busworld Europe 2023 belongs to the T series. The T15 can carry up to 61 passengers with a battery up to 630 kWh. It is addressed mainly at the Nordic region, where such length is widely adopted. 

jack li ceo yutong europe

Demand for electric coaches hasn’t already kicked off in Europe…

Electric coaches, being very honest, are expensive in terms of upfront cost. Subsidies are required. In Norway there are fundings that cover 40% of the gap between a diesel and an electric coach. This is a stimulus for us to develop and bring to the European market electric coaches. We see this market to grow in the next few years.

Which tools are you offering to make the purchase more affordable?

Coach operators are mainly small and medium companies, therefore we offer leasing options

The focus of Yutong on Europe

Which is the sales model you are using in Europe? Directly present or through dealers?

We use a multiple sales model. We prefer to establish close relations with end users. Having a dealer is one of the main ways to increase presence on a market, as local companies are more familiar with customers and local regulations, but we found that this model has its own drawbacks. Therefore we opt for a diversified sales mode: if the customer is an international bus operator, we prefer to establish direct relations instead of using dealers. If the customer is a medium-sized company, we don’t have enough resources to reach and look after the customer, therefore we collaborate with partners. 

In some markets we are not present due to barriers and protectionism, and also in those markets distributors can offer a precious help. 

jack li ceo yutong europe

Therefore you have established a network of partners?

In some markets we haven’t entered so far. The precondition for us to enter a market is to be sure that the business we can realize is a sustainable business. We are not interested in entering markets in a rush. We have to evaluate competitions and resources in any market before entering these.

How’s Yutong currently structured for the European market, then? Which are the countries you are targeting most?

At the moment we are focused on developing in the Nordic regions. Then we’ll go west, and finally towards the South region.

jack li ceo yutong europe

Any plans for localization of production in Europe?

Our goal is to expand our market share, and we have devised a strategy focused on enhancing the local content of our buses. We are incorporating various European components, such as the Actia cockpit, ZF axles, Michelin tires, to name a few examples.

CATL is in the process of establishing a plant in Hungary with the objective of commencing production by the end of 2024. As a result, we are planning to procure battery modules from Europe in the future. To achieve this, we must secure robust sales to support our investment in localizing production. Timing of this strategy will depend on sales.

Our aim is to ensure the satisfaction of all stakeholders, which includes not only Public Transport Operators (PTOs) but also Public Transport Authorities (PTAs), municipalities, and institutions. Therefore, we are actively working to enhance the local content of our products.

What about the Yutong U 12 bus model, introduced in 2019? Is it still on the rise?

jack li ceo yutong europe

E12 is our typical city bus model, we have already realized over 1,000 sales in Europe. It’s widely proven. But technology continues to develop: the U series adopt more intelligent functions as long as a lightweight construction that reduces weight significantly, benefitting energy consumption. 

The U series is already on the market and allows us to provide a wider offer to our customers. Yutong E12 and U12 will be offered in parallel for some time. They are both in series production as of now.

Highlights

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