The safety of lightweight minibuses has been the subject of unjustified and inaccurate criticism to which our CEO has penned this response which we hope will offer peace of mind.
To Whom This May Concern,
GM Coachwork Ltd, designer and manufacturer of the Minibus Lite, have been made aware of safety questions raised by customers considering the purchase of lightweight minibuses. I would like to address these concerns of behalf of GM Coachwork and, in particular, the Peugeot Boxer Minibus Lite.
I would like to start by saying that there has been some criticism of our design from people with a misunderstanding of the technical, safety and engineering requirements for minibuses. This is an area in which we have 30 years experience. GM Coachwork is an award-winning and ISO9001 and ISO14001 accredited business. We are also accredited by five major car manufacturers.
It is nothing short of scaremongering to suggest that our design has less crash protection features than any other European Type Approved minibus. Minibus Lite complies with ALL the requirements and has a European Type Approval to prove this. (EU Approval Number e11*2007/46*3950*01). The design of the Minibus Lite is approved by Peugeot Homologation and is promoted by Peugeot as such.
The design of the Minibus Lite starts with a factory-built Peugeot Boxer N2 base window van. This is designed by Peugeot specifically to be completed as a minibus. I can categorically state that nothing is removed from the structure as part of our conversion. In fact, to the contrary, additional strengthening is added to support wheelchair accessible equipment and wheelchair occupant restraints. The objective of building a lightweight, fully compliant product is to provide safety, fuel efficiency and carrying capacity for our customers.
Does any reasonable person believe that the current generation of motor cars and buses which are lighter than their predecessors are less safe? This is every manufacturer’s aim - to reduce weight . As part of a continuous improvement program we continue to refine, strengthen and lighten our product.
I would suggest that some commercial organisations seek to undermine the concept of a lightweight minibuses in order that they may profit from selling D1 driver licence training and their heavier minibuses. Section 7, subsection 6 of statutory instrument SI2864, provides the framework allowing drivers with a B licence to drive such a minibus, subject to conditions, and those of a section 19 permit.
GM Coachwork actively support and, indeed encourage, all minibus drivers to take MIDAS training (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) regardless of which licence they hold.
I personally offer an open invitation to visit our factory, along with any potential drivers and technical experts, to inspect our products and manufacturing process. I openly welcome any such opportunity to prove the safety, quality and value of our product and service to our customers.
David Vooght Chief Executive Officer GM Coachwork Ltd