Volvo B6 series
|Volvo B6 series|
|Body and chassis|
|Floor type||Step deck
The Volvo B6 series was a series of bus chassis manufactured by Volvo between 1976 and 1982, and 1992 and 2005. The series was largely aimed at the midibus market in direct competition with the Dennis Dart; however, a midicoach version was also produced.
The Volvo B6F was the first member of the B6 family to be launched, in 1976. The B6F was the only front-engined member of the B6 series, being intended as a coach or intercity bus. Production ceased in 1982.
Volvo B6R / B6-45
The B6 series saw a return after a 10-year hiatus with the Volvo B6R, a midicoach launched in mid-1992; in 1993, it was renamed to the Volvo B6-45. Unlike other members of the series, the B6R/B6-45 suffered from disappointingly low sales - by 1995, when the chassis was withdrawn from sale, only thirteen had been built.
A fourteenth B6-45, for export to Russia, was built as a one-off in 1998. No further B6-45s were ever built.
The Volvo B6 was introduced in 1993 to compete with Dennis' successful Dennis Dart midibus chassis. It was initially offered in two lengths - the B6-50 and the short-wheelbase B6-36, the latter of which was soon replaced by the B6-41. The B6 was replaced by the B6LE in 1997.
Between 1993 and 1997 a total of 627 B6s were produced.
Volvo launched the Volvo B6LE in 1995, initially as a low-floor variation of the B6 to compete with the Dennis Dart SLF. However, after sales proved promising, the B6LE completely replaced the B6 in 1997 before it was itself replaced by the B6BLE in 1999.
In total, 398 B6LEs were produced between 1995 and 1999; this includes two modified vehicles used as the testbed for the then-upcoming B6BLE.
The Volvo B6BLE was launched in 1999 as the replacement for the B6LE; production continued until 2002, when it was withdrawn. As the replacement for the B6LE, it continued to compete with the Dennis Dart SLF.
In total, 352 B6BLEs were produced between 1999 and 2002. A further B6BLE was produced for Plaxton's "Bus 2000" concept in 2004, followed by a second "Bus 2000" B6BLE in 2005. A third chassis was built for the "Bus 2000" project in 2005; however, it was not required, and was instead sold to New Zealand and bodied by Kiwi. The Kiwi B6BLE was the 1394th and final B6 series bus to be produced, twenty-three years after the completion of the first chassis.
The Volvo B6 chassis was built to compete with the Dennis Dart, while the B6LE/B6BLE were built to compete with the Dennis Dart SLF. They could be fitted with Volvo TD63E/TD63ES engines (later Volvo D6A engines). The Volvo B6 prototypes were built in Austria, but the production buses were built in the United Kingdom.
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