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English   75 years Neoplan
16.04.2010 von admin

One step ahead of progress

1981 is proclaimed International Year of Disabled Persons, and media coverage is considerable. In Germany as elsewhere, the special needs of disabled persons are a main focus of attention. In 1980 Berlin's Senate commissions a research project for the development of a bus featuring easy access for the disabled: the Senate's intention is to use this vehicle in the Berlin West district. Neoplan's submission is the Telebus: the concept wins out over the competition and one year later the low-floor Telebus N 906 with all-pneumatic suspension takes to the city's streets. The passenger compartment can be divided up in several different ways and has in-floor latching mechanisms for wheelchairs and seats for accompanying persons. A floor that is level right through, a body that can be lowered to pavement height on the right side or to road level at the rear by means of a ramp make it easy for people in wheelchairs to roll on and off. The Telebus design is an excellent concept, but the bus fails to become a viable commercial success. The International Year of Disabled Persons draws to a close, the ambitious plans for investment are shelved by the public authorities, and the Telebuses are not much liked among the target group of users: the physically challenged do not want separate means of transport and adamantly prefer to travel in the same vehicles as all other members of the public.

The Telebus project gives Neoplan reason to open a fourth plant, located in Berlin-Spandau, in 1980. The new facility initially produces the Telebus in small numbers and utilisation is subsequently improved when production of the Jetliner is allocated to the plant. The Berlin-Spandau plant is also a service center and – after the fall of the Berlin Wall – it is a jumping-off point for penetration into the markets of the former East Germany and eastern Europe.

Neoplan Telebus N 906

As in Ghana, Neoplan is also establishing itself in the USA. As the follow-up to a number of volume orders for coaches and service buses, a production facility is opened in 1981 in Lamar, Colorado. Neoplan has a lead in low-floor and CNG technology, so the company's service buses are soon well established on the North American market. Demand remains high and success overseas continues to grow, so in 1985 another plant is opened in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania. The start-up order for 900 buses fails to materialise, however, so the plant cannot become established. Despite the highly positive initial development – the total tally of Neoplan buses manufactured in the USA exceeds 5,500 – US business starts to decline from the nineteen-nineties onward. There is a reason for this: investments in public transport are slashed. In 2006, finally, Neoplan USA ceases trading.

Neoplan Articulated AN460

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