Year of the bus: The Chinese brand selling the most buses in Israel

The company now occupies over 25% of the Israeli public transportation market

Public transportation (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Public transportation
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Golden Dragon has become the first non-European best-selling bus brand in Israel based on a summary of sales data for 2021. The Chinese company, whose buses are imported to Israel by the Blilious Group, put 522 buses on the road last year, meaning that it now occupies a little more than 25% of the market.

The company made a series of deals in 2021, mainly in the area of public transport, where the number of Chinese-made buses experienced the most significant increase. This is in contrast to European transportation companies such as MAN, Volvo and Mercedes, which are still commonly used but produce a smaller amount of buses.

Much of Golden Dragon’s success can be attributed to the introduction of new public transportation operators such as Tnufa in Samaria and Extra in Netanya. They join older companies like Nativ Express, Metropolis, Kavim and Superbus, which is itself part of the Blilious Group.

Notable deals include one the company signed with Egged in April 2021 to supply it with articulated electric buses. Golden Dragon will also supply several dozen electric tools to Egged in the near future after winning its equipment contract alongside BYD and HIGER.

The Chinese bus manufacturer was established in 1992 and started exporting in 2003. This year marks one decade since Golden Dragon Israel was established by Blilious Group alongside third-party importer Auto-Chen, which also owns the import franchise of the Chinese electric car brand AIWAYS.

PEOPLE WAIT at a bus stop in Sderot. HopOn is running a pilot with five public transport operators including Kavim in Modi’in, Superbus in Beit Shemesh and the Jerusalem light rail. (credit: REUTERS)PEOPLE WAIT at a bus stop in Sderot. HopOn is running a pilot with five public transport operators including Kavim in Modi’in, Superbus in Beit Shemesh and the Jerusalem light rail. (credit: REUTERS)

In the past year, Golden Dragon has expanded its range of buses, some of which are assembled in Israel with the help of the HaArgaz and Merkavim companies. In addition to the Jerusalem articulated electric bus, new models also include an intercity electric bus, urban and interurban buses powered by natural gas and a luxurious tourist bus called the Navigator.