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From Xiamen to Hanover

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From Xiamen to Hanover

Jun 28 , 2022

There are no traces of the rigors of the 14,200 km journey: perfectly clean and polished to a high gloss finish, the Kinglong XMQ 6127 coach stands in the foyer of Hall 11 on the trade fair grounds as befits a player on the stage of the 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicles. The Kinglong bus has been through a lot. It traveled from the southeastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen to Hanover in nine days, taking in the steppes of Mongolia and dirt roads in Kazakhstan – not an easy job. “People said we were crazy,” admits Emmi Poguntke, the 69-year-old bus entrepreneur from Kassel and chairwoman of the regional bus and coach operators’ association Omnibusverkehr Hessen. She was on the team of six drivers that brought the bus to Hanover, providing some unusual advertising for the IAA.

The largest commercial vehicle show in the world is more international than ever before. Kinglong (meaning Lucky Dragon) is one of 133 exhibitors just from the People’s Republic of China. There are companies from Ukraine, India, Brazil, Lithuania and Egypt, and joint stands from Finland and from Turkey. Foreign companies account for 57 per cent of the record number of 2,084 exhibitors.

Kinglong decided quite late to take part in the IAA, explains Markus Fritzky, sales manager for Germany. The registration procedure is not exactly straightforward for Chinese manufacturers.

Once all the formalities were complete, there was the question of how the model chosen to be an exhibit and future demonstration vehicle should best be brought to the IAA. When the idea of the delivery “adventure” was born and Emmi Poguntke heard about it, she was all for it. She is the first customer of the Chinese manufacturer in Germany, and has been driving one of its buses since May. Furthermore, the committed entrepreneur has not only been in the bus business for 40 years, but also already has experience with special transports, such as deliveries of aid supplies.

Six drivers (three women and three men) shared the journey. Always two of them were on driving duty, while the other four slept on the specially converted seats. They only took breaks to sleep in basic hotels once every 48 hours. The route led through areas less well developed for tourists. From Xiamen they drove to Urumqi on the Mongolian border, Korgos (border to Kazakhstan), Kurgan (Russia), and then via the Ural Mountains to Ufa/Samara, where they crossed the Volga. Subsequent stages took them to Brest (Belarus) and Frankfurt/Oder. The drivers have many beautiful memories, but also stark impressions of the countries and the living conditions.

Afterwards, when the coach was being cleaned of a think layer of dirt, two tiny scratches from stone chippings were discovered. But only attentive IAA visitors will see them – when they are pointed out with a certain amount of pride.

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