400th NEOPLAN - a luxurious team bus for football club 1. FC Köln

The now complete premium coach range is a great success – 400 coaches sold since 2006

  • NEOPLAN Cityliner C with full safety equipment
  • Prime example of the NEOPLAN "Individual" equipment concept
  • Coach operated by Schilling Omnibusverkehr for 1. FC Köln

Having achieved promotion to the German premier football league, 1. FC Köln (FC Cologne) will be driving to its games in a 12.99 m long NEOPLAN Cityliner C. The two directors of Schilling Omnibusverkehr, Karl Kläs and Karl Schroeteler, and their partner Werner Böllinger, spokesman of the Executive Board of KVB AG, handed over the bus on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne to 1.FC Köln's club manager, Michael Meier. Before this Karl and Marcel Kläs had picked up the vehicle themselves in the NEOPLAN plant in Pilsting, Germany, where the six-wheeler with the prestige production number 400 had rolled off the production line. The first tour with the new bus, which will be used more or less exclusively for the club, took the under-19s to Freiburg for a semi-final match with regular driver Michael Liebetrut at the wheel.

Schilling Omnibusverkehr (SOV), which has belonged to KVB Cologne since 2005, has been a NEOPLAN and MAN customer since 1995 and mainly operates buses on scheduled routes. The company employs 290 people, and the vehicles are maintained by the workshop subsidiary M.K. Fahrzeug-service.The present fleet numbers around 130 vehicles, including three Cityliner four-wheelers from the new generation and other NEOPLAN and MAN models. The new coaches were bought above all because of the full safety equipment with cornering light, ESP, ACC and LGS, emphasised Marcel Kläs, who is in charge of marketing and controlling at SOV. The new VIP coach also contains the active running gear CDS (Comfort Drive Suspension), which leads to a further major improvement in the vehicle's stability on bends. Other features include electronic monitoring of the pressure in all tyres and a fire-alarm system in the engine compartment. The vehicle also has the new LED daytime driving lights – this will draw even more attention to the striking NEOPLAN clear-glass headlights during the day.

Beside the standard equipment such as the 440 hp Euro 4 Common Rail engine, which achieves the required exhaust-gas emission values with MAN PURE DIESEL technology, and a six-speed manual gearbox, the coach offers all equipment details available from the NEOPLAN "Individual" line. These have to a large extent been realised with the system provider Frenzel and include not only the 30 comfortable Kiel Avance Esprit 1020 seats and the lavish kitchen in the centre aisle with microwave and two extra refrigerators but also three club tables that can be lowered into the floor and six seats with electrically adjustable legrests. All the seats have high-quality leather covers, and the headrests sport the club's distinctive logo, a goat.

No modern team coach can do without multimedia. Even NEOPLAN's basic equipment includes an extensive media-pack with USB interface, hands-free system and iPod connection. In the FC coach this already sound basis is more than surpassed with a fully-fledged media centre, eight-channel audio system with connections at every seat, various TFT colour monitors, digital DVB-T television reception and WLAN link to the internet – the players won't miss any of their goals in the review after the match. Team manager Christoph Daum too can relax in his VIP seat in the front row: beside having the best view towards the front he has at his fingertips a fold-away monitor with video/DVD and laptop connections and TV card, a microphone for giving his team the last tips for the match and various storage facilities.

With this unusual vehicle NEOPLAN is once again underlining its leading position in the field of individualised premium coaches. In future too such vehicles will be built either entirely at the Plauen plant or with certified body manufacturers with whom NEOPLAN has collaborated for many years.