Cline Tours and MCI are marking major milestones in their partnership
John McCommon, President of Mississippi-based Cline Tours, says his loyalty to Motor Coach Industries (MCI) began in 2004, when sales rep Robert Lessor made a cold call visit to his business.
“We hit it off. I bought a bus or two from him almost immediately,” McCommon said. That one bus has led to the purchase of 300 buses. That 300th bus was also special for MCI. It marked the sale of the company’s production of the 10,000th J-4500 motorcoach.
“Rob has, over the years, has just done an amazing, amazing job of taking care of our interests,” said McCommon, in a video produced by Terrapin Blue at the recent International Motorcoach Group (IMG) Annual Meeting to celebrate both companies’ major milestones.
Quality products, people
The relationship flourished because of MCI’s commitment to being “responsive to any and all of our needs. We’ve bought a bunch of buses from them over the years. They were able to come to the table at the right time at the right price and, all along the way, their service has been great. The product has been great. It contributes to much of our success, to the quality of the product and the people behind it at MCI.”
Cline received its first J4500 bus in 2005. Its purchases of J4500s over the years account for roughly 3% of the 10,000 sold, says MCI Vice President Brent Maitland.
When McCommon acquired the Ridgeland, Mississippi-based tour and charter company in 1996, the fleet had one MCI coach. Over the decades, he has grown Cline into one of the top operators with the largest fleet of newer J-Series coaches in North America.
“It just shows that the product has really evolved itself in a nice way,” said Maitland, adding that partnerships in the industry can’t be taken for granted. “It doesn’t happen automatically. You have to work at it because (there are) challenges. (There are) technical issues, at times, and our support team has to step up, or our parts team. And so, I think it’s being able to do that over the long haul that gets us to this point.”
‘Perfect for us’
“And MCI has done that consistently, over and over and over. The consistency of everything throughout the company is just as great; the consistency of Rob Lessor and what he has done is just perfect for us. Consistency of the product is always, in my opinion, the best. And we look forward to getting more and more of them in the future and expect the consistency will continue,” he said.
McCommon initially figured buying the 300th MCI coach would coincide with his retirement. If anything, however, this milestone has inspired him to keep going.
“I’m not retiring. The next goal is 400,” he said.