Tourists traveling to the UK for the 2012 Olympic Games expect to do some sightseeing while in the British capital, and there's no better way to see the sights of London than from the open top of a red double-decker bus.
Won't they be surprised to find the “national symbol” they're riding on is one of 34 new open-top double-decker buses made in and exported from China.
The landmark deal signed on September 29th between Britain's Big Bus Tours sightseeing company and China's Anhui Ankai Automobile Co., Ltd. is notable in that it's the first time Chinese-made double-decker buses have been approved for entry and operation in the UK.
Though Anhui Ankai has had success exporting a wide range of buses to nations around the globe, they've been shut out of Britain due to the country's more stringent certification regulations.
Big Bus Tours was able to gain approval from the UK's Vehicle Certification Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency based on a single sample bus, which passed every requirement with flying colors.
With the regulatory path cleared, Big Bus Tours was able to contract with Anhui Ankai to provide 34 open-top double-decker buses to be used for sightseeing tours of London this coming summer during the Olympic Games.
The contract to provide updated versions of what has become a national symbol of Britain is more than just a feather in the cap for Anhui Ankai.
“This cooperation shows that the technical level of our products has totally complied with EU (and UK) requirements,” stated Wang Xianfeng, vice president of Anhui Ankai. “Meanwhile, this is the first time that Chinese electromechanical products have gained access to the core market in the EU.”
Members of the “if it ain't British, it's crap” crowd may decry the fact that a national icon like the red double-decker bus is made in a foreign nation but consider this: a red “London Bus” made under any other name, still looks much the same. Sure ideas can be copied – icons, on the other hand, are timeless. (via Global Times and Ankai.com)