65 years have passed since the introduction of the first self-supporting touring coach, the S 8. Its launch in 1951 marked the start of a success story that continues to this day. In the past 65 years the brand has proven a pioneering force and its six model series have changed the face of European bus and coach manufacturing.
The fact that we are now celebrating 65 years of Setra also demonstrates that, even after six decades, strong roots can continue to develop in new ways. This premium Daimler brand’s recipe for success includes steady and highly motivated ongoing development of the vehicles in terms of vehicle technology, quality, comfort, safety, design and economic efficiency.
The Ulm engineers’ achievement in developing a self-supporting touring coach to production standard can be described as a step that revolutionised bus and coach manufacturing. Setra’s 65 successful years also owe a great deal to strong customer ties and customer loyalty, as evidenced by the brand’s impressive sales figures.
By the end of 2015 over 107 000 units of the comfortable touring coaches and regular-service buses had been sold throughout the world. 65 years of Setra – the anniversary also reflects the number of international awards, prizes and trophies that fill the brand’s display cabinets. The current TopClass and ComfortClass touring coaches, for example, were awarded the coveted “Red Dot Award: Product Design” by a panel of renowned experts.
The Setra TopClass and ComfortClass touring coaches with their elegant contours, space-saving seating variations, numerous comfort features, ergonomic cockpits tailored to the driver and large panoramic roofs make every journey a memorable experience.
Whether they’re used for long-distance coach travel, city breaks or exclusive club outings – with their range of innovative equipment features and solutions for the exterior and interior, Setra-branded vehicles are designed to cater to the diverse needs of bus and coach operators around the world. The operator’s individual preference is a key factor when it comes to selecting on-board equipment and appointments. And the brand has always offered its customers top-level individuality.
Whether touring coach or regular-service vehicle, the developers have always focused on creating disabled-friendly vehicles. In close collaboration with customers, the brand has developed various solutions over the years, including for example different lift systems which enable barrier-free access to the passenger compartment.
From S 8 to Setra TopClass – the six model series at a glance
The Setra brand is proud of its roots. In 1951 the Ulm-based company Kässbohrer Fahrzeugwerke introduced the 10 series S 8, the model which gave the brand its name Setra, an abbreviation of the German “selbsttragend” (self-supporting). The first bus to feature a self-supporting body, rear-mounted engine and direct rear-axle drive was presented at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
The 10 series included touring coach, rural regular-service and urban variants. The letter S still stands today for the Setra brand, while the number indicates the maximum number of seat rows and thus indirectly the length of the bus.
1967 saw the launch of the 100 series, comprising five models. From this point onwards the first digits in the model designation referred to the model series. The transition from the Setra 10 series to the 100 series represented a further step towards industrial-scale bus and coach manufacturing at Kässbohrer. All nine models were built according to the modular system and shared numerous common parts. In visual terms the buses and coaches of the 100 series were characterised by their more angular shape and by enhanced comfort levels as a result of the larger passenger compartment with increased headroom for those standing.
Setra’s 25th anniversary was marked by the introduction of the 200 series with its six different models. This model series introduced further technical milestones. Noteworthy features included the use of disc brakes as standard on the front axle. This model series also introduced the new cross-flow ventilation system as standard.
1991 saw the launch of the 300 series. The most striking features of the new buses included the distinctive curving strake behind the cockpit area and the newly developed integral mirror system. Another key feature of the model series was its ergonomically designed cockpit.
Setra’s TopClass 400, launched in 2001, added a new dimension to touring coach design, guaranteeing passengers and driver top-class travel. In total the 400 series comprised over 20 models, including two versions for the USA and two right-hand-drive ComfortClass models.
The latest generation is the 500 series. Its ComfortClass and TopClass touring coaches set the bar high in terms of cost-effectiveness, safety and economy. Uncompromising and conscious of tradition, the exclusive coaches stand for the dynamic evolution of form and function. With their powerful stature and crisp lines the vehicles are the indisputable new flagships of the Setra product family, which also includes the economically attractive rural-service buses of the newly conceived MultiClass.