Inside the African factory that makes London’s famed double-decker bus

Abu Mubarik June 16, 2021
London simply wouldn't be London without its crop of double-deckers [Getty]

Egypt is famous for its pyramids, military might, and football. However, not much is known about the country’s automotive industry. On the quiet, Cairo, the capital of Egypt, has been building one of the world’s iconic buses famously found in London.

Any frequent traveler to London may have noticed the city’s iconic (red) double-decker buses. In 2016, it was announced that the buses are now being produced in Africa by Egyptian multinational firm, Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles, (MCV).

Originally built in 1947, the double-decker buses came to replace the World War Two trolleybuses and have since become historic transportation in the city of London.

In 2016, MCV secured a contract to produce 60 of the buses. The move made the Cairo manufactured buses to be the first to be produced outside Europe. What makes Egypt’s double-decker buses unique is the fact that it is hybrid. It uses a combination of fuel and electricity in a bid to meet Europe’s low-carbon and low-nitrogen dioxide emission standards. It also makes the buses to be the first to use such technology outside of Europe.

“This bus is a hybrid system, which means it runs on both diesel and electricity,” the Quality Assurance Manager at MCV, Rafik Nabil, said in an interview. “This bus is a Euro-6 model, it has the highest emission technology in the world right now, which needs a special kind of gas. It runs on either diesel or electricity depending on the journey and road condition. This is the first time for a hybrid bus to be manufactured and assembled outside of Europe.”

Manufacturing double-decker buses for the British capital will not be the first time MCV has worked in UK’s transport space. In 2011, the company signed a deal to manufacture buses with a capacity of 63 seats.

MCV was founded in 1994 as a general agent for German automobile giant Daimler AG. The automobile company produces around 8,000 to 10,000 buses in a year. Of the quantum produced, 5,000 to 8,000 are exported to foreign markets, particularly to the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

MCV has international branches in 24 countries around the world, making it one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturing companies in the world.

“Our manufacturing process begins from when we first purchase the materials, from the first bolt and screw, until the end when we see the bus moving. We work on all stages of production, from machining, to brackets, inserts, all the way until the bus is assembled at the highest global standards,” said Wael Wanis, General Manager, Production and Maintenance.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 16, 2021


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