The Irish Coach of the Year for 2020 award, presented by leading Irish publication Fleet Bus & Coach, was received by Volvo at a special Gala Dinner at the Johnstown Estate Hotel, Enfield, County Meath. It was judged against a range of criteria by a panel of experts including experienced coach drivers. Three coach manufacturers were shortlisted for the award category which saw Volvo win through to take the top prize.
Volvo launched the 9900 as the successor to its previous flagship coach, the 9700, which also enjoyed success in the category having won in 2014 and 2016.
Described by the judges as “spectacular”, they said Volvo had taken the best from the 9700 and used that as a foundation to “build a coach for the discerning operator.” They were particularly impressed with a number of features of the 9900, including the steering which uses Volvo Dynamic steering technology, improved vision, the geo-fencing capability, the focus on passenger comfort and the aerodynamic design. Praise was also given on the improved driver’s area and passenger entrance aspects of the coach.
Commenting on receiving the award, Diarmaid Thompson, Volvo Retail Bus & Coach Sales Manager for Ireland, said: “We are honoured to have received this award for the 9900. We see this as a true demonstration of how we continue to develop and improve all of the features and benefits of our coaches to provide the safest, most comfortable ride for passengers and operational excellence for operators. Since its launch into the UK and Ireland market in late 2018, the 9900 has been received very well with operators, drivers and passengers alike and this accolade highlights the success the vehicle has enjoyed so far. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our development and manufacturing teams. The Irish market is very important for Volvo Buses historically with the 9700 widely used by operators throughout the country, particularly with the Irish tourism sector. With its strong aesthetics and fuel economy, the 9900 is already enjoying excellent sales and is poised to pick up where the 9700 left off to become the premium coach of choice for operators in Ireland.”
The category criteria were all trialled over a two day period with the vehicle being taken out on the road and all the features tried and tested.