Tokyo, Japan – The Hakone area outside Tokyo, Japan has long has been known as a dangerous area for road travel due to steep mountain roads and sharp curves that are the most precipitous in the country. Drivers encounter these treacherous roads and curves at short intervals over long stretches, making driving a difficult task. Even the roads that pass through the historical section of town are narrow, and for buses that must travel these roads, steering is a challenge. To make driving in areas such as these a little easier, operator Hakone Tozan Bus is acquiring Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star buses equipped with the T310 model fully automatic from Allison Transmission.
Since its introduction in April 2011, the automatic transmission equipped Aero Star has demonstrated its unique performance on various road surfaces. The driving routes serviced by Hakone Tozan Bus cover approximately 25 kilometres of roadway between Odawara Station, Sengoku and Togendai, which include a mixture of urban areas, hills and approximately 60 bus stops. Many of the accidents that occur inside buses happen when passengers fall as a result of the force generated when a manual transmission bus takes off. The new Aero Stars operated by Hakone Tozan Bus are able to stop safely at the many bus stops located on hilly roads and also minimize the sudden jolting that usually occurs when manual vehicles begin accelerating from a stop.
Another benefit of the automatic transmission is that the driver can focus all his attention on driving without having to worry about complex gear shifting operations. This is especially helpful on Hakone’s hairpin curves and roads so narrow that there is little room to maneuver when passing oncoming vehicles. Safe, stable driving is a must in Hakone, and Hakone Tozan Bus’ new T310-equipped Aero Stars are the perfect solution.
In addition to safety and stability, Allison automatic transmissions can reward Hakone Tozan Bus with cost-efficient fuel consumption comparable with a manual, especially when reduced maintenance costs are added to the equation.
According to Hakone Tozan Bus officials, the manual transmission buses operated by their company had fuel consumption of between 2.75 km and 2.87 km per litres of fuel; based on results to date, the new buses equipped with Allison automatic transmissions can travel 2.79 km on a litre of fuel. From a maintenance perspective, the costs to overhaul and replace parts on a manual transmission bus are expected to exceed the same costs for an automatic transmission bus.
Katsumi Minagi, Chief Mechanic at Hakone Tozan Bus, said, “With the manual transmission buses, the clutches had to be overhauled – replacing discs and bearings, etc. – about once every five years, and sometimes the transmission would fail and have to be replaced. In contrast, the only maintenance that has to be done on the automatic transmission buses is to periodically change the gear oil and filters and to conduct a single overhaul in the transmission’s 12-year life cycle. Also making the automatic transmission attractive is that we no longer need to spend time adjusting the clutch. We periodically replaced the gear oil of the manual transmission buses, but the buses equipped with Allison automatic transmissions feature a prognostic device that displays in advance when the transmission oil needs to be changed, so we are able to replace the oil at the proper time.”
Teruhisa Nagata, Training Director and a driver at Hakone Tozan Bus, said of the new buses, “In recent years, many new drivers from a variety of backgrounds have joined the company, and we’ve seen a greater influx of new employees who aren’t familiar with the Large Vehicle Class 2 Driver’s License. The new automatic transmission buses are the ideal vehicle for these drivers because the buses provide excellent stability and a smooth drive even on bad roads. These new buses have even gained a good reputation among our veteran drivers because they are easier to drive and reduce driver fatigue.”
Recognising that public transportation plays an active role in various aspects of society, Allison Transmission Japan continues to provide transmissions that make vehicles safer and easier to drive.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this press release are forward-looking statements, including all statements regarding future financial results. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expect," "plans," "project," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "intend," "forecast," "could," "potential," "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar terms or phrases. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks. Factors which may cause the actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made include, but are not limited to: risks related to our substantial indebtedness; uncertainty in the global regulatory and business environments in which we operate; our participation in markets that are competitive; the highly cyclical industries in which certain of our end users operate; the failure of markets outside North America to increase adoption of fully-automatic transmissions; the concentration of our net sales in our top five customers and the loss of any one of these; future reductions or changes in government subsidies for hybrid vehicles and other external factors impacting demand; U.S. defense spending; general economic and industry conditions; the discovery of defects in our products, resulting in delays in new model launches, recall campaigns and/or increased warranty costs and reduction in future sales or damage to our brand and reputation; our ability to prepare for, respond to and successfully achieve our objectives relating to technological and market developments and changing customer needs; risks associated with our international operations; labor strikes, work stoppages or similar labor disputes, which could significantly disrupt our operations or those of our principal customers; our intention to pay dividends and repurchase shares of our common stock; and other risks and uncertainties associated with our business described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that the expectations will be attained or that any deviation will not be material. All information is as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in expectations.
SOURCE Allison Transmission Holdings Inc.