25-29 seater Altas Viator mini-coach for UK and Irish markets
Altas Auto is a Lithuanian minibus and midi bus manufacturer, established in 2002. During the years, the company became the market leader in Scandinavia and one of the leaders in Europe. Minibuses were always the company’s strategic priority, but since 2016 the company started to develop the idea of entering the mini-coach market. The manufacturer developed Altas Viator offering optimal layouts of 25 to 29 seats + guide.
Altas Auto philosophy of engineering began to form in 90’s when the companies main activity was automotive video and audio systems installation and upgrading. Companies’ main values are precision, attention to details and strictness to create the perfect product. The Altas quality is clearly visible just by a glance. For more than 18 years Altas Auto is working with passenger vehicle conversions and the current manufacturers mini and midi bus lineup consists of 13 different models. A wide selection of buses ensures that our product line will fullfill all the client‘s needs. Every year, the company produces about 800 units of passenger vehicles and the result is reached working on 3 production lines. The company develops and produces its vehicles in 8000 sq. m facilities based on environmental management standard ISO 14000, quality control standard ISO 9001, and Body/Equipment mounting directives using LEAN methodology. Altas Auto operates in 18 European markets, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.
From idea to concept
Developing Altas Viator, the company made very deep competitors’ analysis in different markets, they researched competitors’ analogic products and refined the best qualities. Customer research and sales representatives from various countries were also included in the research, to get to know their opinion about the key features and parameters of the vehicle they need. In that way, Altas Auto included the most important functions to meet the maximum amount of client expectations and would have the best features. The philosophy behind the idea of Viator is simple as that: the sum of all good mini-coach qualities is the balance everyone needs.
„Being the leaders in minibus manufacturing, we always seeked to create exactly what the client needs with our individual solutions – we had a goal to enter the midibus production. Manufacturing minibuses is what we were doing for a whole time, but the midibus development requires a lot more of manufacturer know-how.“ – E. Radzevičius (CEO) said. The first idea about midibus came at the end of 2016 after the company moved to a new factory. Additional resources, an increase in product capacity, and bigger human resource possibilities accelerated Altas Auto to start intense new product research and development stage. The basic idea was to develop a tourist version midibus because at that time the tourist buses were flagship models of the Altas Auto. The vehicle building process began almost from scratch, only chassis and engine was borrowed from Iveco Daily, but everything else had to be developed only according to the best and most important features we had in our mind. After more than one year of engineering and designing, the concept vehicle, named Altas Viator (Traveler in the Latin language) was made and presented in the 2018 IAA exhibition in Hanover. Since 2019 Altas was fully prepared to start serial production for Europe and currently the company has finished the right-hand drive model for the UK and Ireland. Manufacturing, full processing, and preperation for series production had cost the company about 500 000 euros.
Strategy and development
Entering the midi coach segment, the company’s aimed to compete in the market while offering clients higher added value quality products. Viator developing process was not oriented to create a competitor in the lowest price range segment, the aim was to create an emotion, driving pleasure for driver and comfort for passengers so the perfect first impression lasts all the time of exploitation of the bus. The emotion is the Viator’s design itself and the comfort is the vehicle’s quality and aesthetics. Altas designers were seeking that both exterior and interior would be expressive, memorable, but also ergonomic and optimal for every user. Applying knowledge of Altas Auto customer’s industry daily routine, keeping the bus in good condition we know how it is important for it to be easily cleaned and practical from all aspects, so even the small details in the Viator are designed to be long-lasting.
At the beginning of product development, engineers had a lot of discussions, thinking about how to create the mini-coach exterior design, even the company was one of the leaders in the minibus industry and had an understanding in product designing. In the beginning, Altas Auto contacted a few European design companies, but later engineers have decided to work with one Italian design company. After a few months, the first design offers were presented, but the Altas was not so happy about them. The design professionals did not try to fit the required technical parameters and wanted to bring their distinctive design, which would not be much appealing to the client which Altas focuses on. After that Altas Auto has decided to look for solutions in Lithuania among young Lithuanian designers and they offered this task to a young designer who has studied in the Lithuanian arts academy. Engineers specified all the requirements for him which he can not ignore and everything else was left for the designer‘s creativity and improvisation. That is how the design was born, which later was nominated for A‘Design Awards 2019 and took a winning place. This cooperation showed Altas Auto that they can develop vehicles only with Lithuanian resources.
Technology and features
To produce the main frame of the Viator‘s body, Altas use Stainless steel, which is special for the automotive industry. All the exterior components are made from the fiberglass, so the vehicle is corrosion resistant. More than 40 forms from which unique parts are made are used to manufacture a single unit of Altas Viator.
The vehicle body was designed giving attention to noise insulation and weight reduction. A lot of composite plastic materials were used, which are lighter than plywood used by others. The roof has two wings on each side of the vehicle for a subtle cover of the conditioner and connects to the rear spoiler which has integrated reverse camera and lights. The side elements of the vehicle are made from fiberglass, except side trunk lids, they are produced from aluminium which is also lightweight, and rustproof metal. A lot of focus was given for rear and side trunk lids to open easily and the reach of different luggage sections would be handy. For example, the rear luggage compartment can be reached from the back and the sides so the luggage reach over the compartment would not be complicated. Luggage compartment at rear is 2.2m ³ while on each side there is up to 0.5m³ luggage space, this is enough space without even mentioning the roof luggage racks inside the vehicle. Viator has an optimal length of 8,5 meters. Depending on the regulations for this class of vehicles, the length could hardly be much longer, because longer vehicle means more weight so the designers put a lot of effort to provide the car as much spaciousness as possible while keeping the weight up to safe and legal limits. Viator mini coach gross weight is 7200kg. The engineers and designers paid close attention to strictly meet the road-legal passenger vehicles regulations. Altas Auto admits that some competitors work unfairly and offer vehicles whose gross weight strongly exceeding the limits so the client takes a high risk by using that kind of vehicle which is potentially dangerous for himself, passengers, and all surrounding road users.
Altas engineers put a lot of effort to make the driver’s position comfortable, and ergonomic. The control units are designed to be easily reachable and would have a convenient layout of the buttons and other control modules. The driver’s seat has an air suspension which reduces the vibrations during the journey. The Combustion control unit (CAN open interface) is the most important electrical control unit in the vehicle. The driver can see the most important information on the screen of the control unit. Even the lock status of separate luggage compartments is visible there. Also, the windshield of the vehicle is as big as possible to increase the visibility of the driver and the rear parking sensors are available for maximum driving comfort. The convenient layout of electric installations allows the driver the opportunity to have all the controls in one place so the operations with appliances would be easy to master.
In the passenger’s compartment, all the details and forms do not have any sharp edges and questionable design solutions. Roof rack and interior design is developed having in mind the light distribution inside the vehicle. The roof is produced from white plastic to reflect the light from the light modules. This solution was designed to diffuse the light in the interior to prevent passengers from dazzling lighting. Altas engineers designed the rear door to be wide enough so it could fit individuals with wheelchairs using the special lift. It operates via the rear emergency door. For both drivers and passengers comfort the refrigerator is available with a volume of 80 liters which is installed in front of the vehicle. To meet the nowadays passenger needs the wifi and 220v both USB sockets are available inside the saloon. As the Altas Viator is high-end flagship mini-coach it usually goes with a monitor tv and natural leather seats with various colouring and material options to choose from, so the customer can fulfill the perfect interior vision.
Summing up all the technologies and features used in the Viator the Altas idea is to offer exceptional class and design products together with quality, using only high-end components and materials. The functionality and comfort go hand to hand in Viator.
Altas Auto is happy to present the facelifted Altas Viator version. The more powerful engine, improved driver’s cabin, and exterior design are the key improvements for the company’s flagship model. The new 3l diesel engine has a total of 210HP, so the mini coach is more dynamic than ever and powerful enough to be comfortable even in uphill roads. Every model has an air suspension, Telma retarder, and highly efficient conditioning with the power of 18kW and heating system with 12kW of power.
Some important details are improved in Viator’s exterior: the new front full LED headlights and LED fog lights make the vehicle look more futuristic than ever. Rear lights are also updated so the bus has new touches from all sides. The interior improved too, the new redesigned steering wheel gives the driver a quality feel of the brand and some other improvements made for comfort and better user experience.
The first-right hand drive Altas Viator models are already on the way to the UK and Ireland so do not miss the opportunity to experience it personally. Altas Auto representative in UK and Ireland – EVM Direct is ready to answer all your questions about this exclusive mini-coach.