Optare has announced the end of production of its original Solo design after some 14 years. The original model is being retired in favour of the new look Solo SR for both UK and exports markets.
Since its introduction in 1997, more than 4,000 of the original Solo design have entered service in the UK, including exports to the USA, Western Europe and beyond.
The first vehicles which were delivered to Wilts and Dorset, now part of Go-Ahead group, continue to operate in daily passenger-carrying service and in total, Optare Solos in the UK alone are estimated to have clocked up over a billion miles.
The Solo SR was launched in 2007 as a premium model with an entirely new exterior appearance and has grown significantly in popularity. The new 2012 Solo SR range will consist of 7.1m, 7.8m, 8.9m and 9.6m variants, all available in the Slimline (2350mm wide) version. The 8.9m and 9.6m models will also be available in the wider 2500mm body width. All will feature curved side glazing and high specification interiors allowing up to 37 seats in the longest derivative.
The opportunity has been taken to redesign some of the bodywork components to take advantage of the benefits achieved on the recently released Tempo SR design which reduce both weight and cost and further improve fuel economy.
Glenn Saint, Optare’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Moving to the single body exterior and interior design will give all operators the benefit of the enhanced features of the Solo SR but the increased volume this creates will allow pricing to remain competitive with other products on the market”.
Building upon the existing mechanical design ensures continuing proven reliability and with no surprises from untested new designs. All Solo SR models will be available with either Mercedes-Benz or Cummins drivelines allied to Allison transmissions.
The move to the standardised Solo SR range will take place during the summer of 2012 following delivery of current order commitments.