Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.
Issue link: http://lctmag.epubxp.com/i/719661
26 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR SEPTEMBER 2016 WWW.LCTMAG.COM BUS/ VAN MANUFACTURING Irizar Loads Up Black Bullet For U.S. Motorcoach Market The looks of the sleek, aerodynamic i6 motorcoach built in Spain would complement a high-end luxury chauffeured transportation fleet. By Martin Romjue, LCT editor L AS VEGAS, Nev. — What was once a narrow vehicle slice in the limou- sine market keeps grabbing more of the overall fleet pie. That wedge just notched a little wider, as Iriziar, a Spanish motorcoach manu- facturer, delivered its first round of buses to the U.S. market in July and August. The sales follow Irizar's of- ficial debut of its 56-passen- ger, 45-foot i6 motorcoach to the industry Feb. 29 at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. The OEM joined all other major motorcoach man- ufacturers in displaying a total of 11 motorcoaches on the trade show floor, the highest number of big buses ever at an ILCT Show. Irizar's entry shows how much the chauffeured trans- portation sector has embraced high-end group service since the first motorcoaches emerged in the industry in 2008 and 2009. "I know Irizar thinks a lot of the U.S.," says Marty Bar- rett , executive vice president of INA Bus Sales, the exclu- sive U.S. distributor for Irizar. "One of the business factors is they had developed a coach performing extremely well in Europe, which is the one we are distributing in the U.S." The North American mar- ket's focus on advanced tech- nology and improved safety equipment also proved a right fit for Irizar, says Chad Dixon, chief operator officer of INA Bus Sales. "Entering the U.S./Canadian market with a commitment to be a long term player was not only a move to diversify the manufacturing platform for Irizar, but also an excellent opportunity to showcase the company's cutting edge leading safety advancements, quality of craftsmanship and exquisite design." Trusted Contact To explore the U.S. market, Irizar executives in Spain reached out to a known bus dealer, Mike Haggerty, who founded CH Bus Sales in 2011. The former Los Angeles and Las Vegas limousine and motorcoach operator, who once owned and ran Ryan's Express, said Irizar was im- pressed with his bus sales and operations track record in the industry. "They reached out to me as chairman of the board to gauge my interest in selling the Irizar product," Haggerty says, who formed INA Bus Sales as a standalone distri- bution company in late 2015. "As an entrepreneur, I want to take something from nothing and watch it grow." Axier Etxezarreta, direc- tor of Irizar USA, said the company wanted to build on its commercial presence in more than 90 developed countries. "Obviously, this market is one of the most im- portant ones, not just due to the volume but mainly due to the importance the U.S. as the first economy in the