Luxury Coach & Transportation

July 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JULY 2018 19 operators don't lose money carrying 44 or fewer passengers in a 57-passenger motorcoach. e J3500 also is easier to maneuver and offers fuel efficiency. Pro- totype models are hitting the road this summer for tests and customer demos. Production will start in the first quarter of 2019. MCI is also developing electric J- and D-series motocoaches scheduled for production in 2020. Long-Range Fleet Investment One advantage of motorcoaches is their long lifecycles, typically 10-20 years, Maitland says. "e semi-monocoque unibody structure provides a better ride quality, a higher passenger deck for better viewing, and larger baggage bays for storage. e structure itself provides support for the vehicle. It's designed for a longer vehicle life." Catering To Luxury Operators As a result of pursuing the luxury trans- portation market, MCI has gained valu- able feedback from limo operators who prioritize branding, fit and finish, and a helpful service network, Maitland says. "When you have people used to run- ning SUVs and cars going into motor- coaches, you better have good training and service available nearby," Maitland says. "We have a term 'ReliaCare' service and support to make sure operators are as effective as they can be. We do all or most of the service for them. We train them to stock the right parts. It's not the same as running a car. We try to make it easy to do business with us." Information: luxury-coaches/luxury-coaches.htm — coach that seats 40-44 passengers, and this year launched its next-generation ADA accessible D45 CRT LE, featuring a patent-pending second door low entry vestibule with seating for passengers using wheelchairs and mobility devices. e popular J series mostly appeals to a long-haul over-the-road private charter transportation market, as well as corpo- rate trips. e J series contains luxury amenities such as styling by Design- works (a BMW Group company), options in RGB programmable lighting, and seat- ing and trims, along with technology equipment such as 110-volt plugs, Wi-Fi, and video systems. e D series is its leading model for commuter and line hauls, selling in the private and public sectors. It's common- ly bought by public transit agencies that offer scheduled fixed routes. "e J has the ability to differentiate the look and branding of a coach," Maitland says. More Technology, Safety, & Comfort e J4500 can be configured with 52 to 60 seats, depending on a buyer's prefer- ence, with lower seat counts freeing up even more legroom. e MCI models, which now use thinner seats as part of a reformat and redesign, offer about a half-inch per seat extra legroom than competitors, he says. "A passenger has two inches more legroom than a few years ago because of the changes we've made that add more space to the interior and seating suppliers who have made the seating more comfortable." Even at the maximum 60 passenger design on the J4500, MCI can maintain a comfortable seat pitch. "We're the only ones who can do that in a 45-foot motorcoach. It provides opportunity for extra revenue." Among tech features, the J-series offers adaptive cruise control, collision mitiga- tion, and a radar-based detection system that can trigger accident warnings and apply brakes. 2019 models will include an advanced, next generation Wingman Fusion system that offers more computer processing and added cameras to detect stationary vehicles and objects, and pro- vide automatic braking as an option. New Models For Different Markets MCI has also tapped into a more flexible motorcoach market with its J3500 model as the company saw the trend toward transporting smaller groups. at way portation sectors in 2017, compared to 2,357 in 2016. Most of those sales are made to private motorcoach, charter, and tour operations, with the public sector buying 400+ motorocoaches in 2016 and 2017, he says. Maitland estimates MCI captures about 43% of the motorcoach market overall. e U.S. market has hit its high- est peaks since 1999 when OEMs sold 2,800 buses. e market dipped in 2010 with 1,184 unit sales. "We've seen growth in our business with companies that run black cars and are moving into coaches," he says. Maitland characterizes the expand- ing motorcoach market, which now has at least six key players, as a competitive one. "MCI has always been known as the workhorse of the industry with its vehicle reliability, engineering, testing, quality parts, and design," he says. MCI focuses heavily on the U.S. and Canadian motorcoach markets. "It's al- lowed us to build a product designed for it," he says. "You have a lot of desert and mountains that create a tough environ- ment for coaches. Not everything com- ing into the market is at the same build level as MCI. at's one way we differen- tiate ourselves." Investing In Equipment And Support MCI invests in an extensive OE parts and service network, with 15 parts distribu- tion centers and seven sales and service centers throughout North America. "Investing in keeping customers suc- cessful in running their businesses is equally important to the vehicle itself," Maitland says. MCI's top sellers are the J4500 and D4505 motorcoaches. It also plans to start offering a 35-foot J3500 mid-sized The MCI flagship model, the J4500, comes in multiple design and seat configurations, ranging from 52 to 60 passengers. MCI's pre-owned motorcoach regeneration program has helped North Carolina operators Jeff and Laura Canady develop a service for corporate and leisure clients.

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