Luxury Coach & Transportation

February 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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COVER STORY: BUS MANUFACTURERS Prevost Grows With Luxury Bus Customers The motorcoach builder surpasses one-third of market share and has installed new upgrades since entering the industry in 2015. By Martin Romjue, LCT editor T he last four years have brought a pivot to big buses as the once-sedan- and-SUV chauffeured transportation market has given way to a growing fleet layer of minibuses and motorcoaches. One manufacturer that has ridden this wave is Prevost, the Quebec-based maker of high-end luxury passenger motorcoaches and shell provider for elaborate custom corporate and enter- tainer tourist coaches. Since 2015, Prevost has sold a grow- ing number of operators on the value of luxury coaches and their potential high profit margins as the demand for quality group transportation grows throughout the U.S. "We've seen a big change in the limousine industry," says Francois Tremblay, vice president and general manager for Prevost. "It went from being sticker shock for a new bus to having a taste of the returns and profit they can make, and that has gotten their attention. Now they can really make good money with daily rates and cater to larger corporate accounts." Coaches also bring a higher resale value than other luxury fleet vehicles, and such liquidity is an added incen- tive to move into the segment, he adds. Rising Sales And Production Coach sales to the chauffeured trans- portation industry have increased year over year since Prevost entered the market in 2015, when it sold 15 buses. In 2018, it targeted 50 buses, and has sold about 110 to date. Prevost has hit 34.5% market share of the overall North American private motorcoach sector, Tremblay says. "It's a basically a big tree and the competition is between us, MCI, and Van Hool. We're all in the same market share range, so it's a very tight race." e sector num- bers about 2,000 coaches per year. Prevost also serves the public transit bus market as well as providing shells for high-end luxury motor home and enter- tainment upfitted by coach converters. Model Preferences e most popular Prevost model in the industry so far has been the Volvo 9700 in the new coach segment, and the H3- 45 in the pre-owned one, Tremblay says (Prevost is part of the Volvo Group). e 9700, which costs less than a new H3-45, provides a good value package with the same powertrain and support service network. is model year, Pre- vost is introducing new unbolted seat tracks so operators can change interior configurations, such as removing a few rows for added legroom. "ey can make them to their own space specs and create more room for customers," Tremblay says. "Before, they had to pull seats. Now, it's easy to do." e 9700 comes in a limo spec version that includes features geared toward the chauffeured transportation market, such as black exterior/interior combination, woodgrain flooring, and double-stitch two-tone leatherette seating. "e 9700 limo spec edition has been quite successful since 2017, 1 6 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION FEBRUARY 2019 FAST FACTS PREVOST HEADQUARTERS: Sainte-Claire, Quebec, Canada PRODUCTION LOCATIONS: Sainte-Claire, Quebec and Plattsburgh, N.Y. FOUNDED: 1924 GROUP: Prevost is part of the Volvo Group BUS MODELS: X3-45, H3-45, Volvo 9700 EMPLOYEES: 2000 KEY EXECUTIVES: Francois Tremblay, Prevost VP/ general manager; Jack Forbes, VP of North Ameri- can Sales; and Guy French, services VP and general manager WEBSITE: CONTACT: Katlin Voigt, marketing coordinator The 2+1 seat picture shows a new option on the H3-45 that debuted at the UMA Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 7.

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