Factory, electric buses in Temsa’s future U.S. plans

FARIBAULT, Minn. — Growing market acceptance and healthy transportation demand delivered another record year for Temsa motorcoaches in North America.

Continued growth is anticipated for 2018 while the years further ahead may bring a Temsa factory and electric motorcoach to the U.S.

“We will probably sell 15- to 20-percent more new units than we did in 2016,” said Duane Geiger, president and chief executive officer of CH Bus Sales LLC, distributor of the Turkish-built Temsa vehicles.

“It is the third year of our 45-foot bus. Introducing a new product takes some time and there has been market acceptance,” Geiger said. “We are at a price point that is very attractive and that has gotten the attention of a lot of operators.”

The Temsa TS 45 accounted for more than half of the 200 new Temsa coaches sold by CH Bus in 2017, he said.

“There has been a strong economy that has created a lot of demand for transportation needs. Everyone is prospering.”

A broad product range — 30-, 35- and 45-foot motorcoaches — positions Temsa for further success in 2018, Geiger said.

“I think we will continue to increase our sales volume with the Temsa products. We are looking forward to a strong year and I am not aware of anything that would make us hesitant to increase our product sales.”

Temsa’s growth in the U.S. also will benefit from the expanding presence of CH Bus.

“We opened two maintenance facilities this year. One is in Burlingame, Calif., near the San Francisco airport,” Geiger said. “We also opened a full-service facility in Pine Brook, N.J.”

Along with shops in Fort Worth, Texas, and Orlando, Fla., “We have physical presence in strategic markets. We are able to do service and warranty work for our customers and parts are readily available. The market looks favorably on distributors having maintenance facilities in their region,” he said.

The often-cited “barriers to entry” facing potential motorcoach startups are a factor in the industry’s development, Geiger said.

“The barriers are large for someone interested in coming in and opening a new transportation company. It is difficult to compete with established companies,” he said.

New operators used to be significant consumers of the pre-owned motorcoaches turned in by established carriers that could afford to upgrade, he added.

“That is part of the reason the secondary market is soft right now.”

Temsa began selling coaches in the U.S. market in 2010 and said it exported its 1,000th vehicle here shortly after UMA Motorcoach Expo 2017 in St. Louis last February. The three models sold in North America range from 30 to 56 seats.

The smaller TS 30 includes a restroom and offers an alternative to cutaway buses. It carries a 250-horsepower Cummins ISB 6.7 engine and Allison B300 transmission.

The 40-passenger TS 35E was the best-selling Temsa in the U.S. before the introduction of the TS 45. The enhanced TS 35E, introduced at Motorcoach Expo 2016 in Atlanta, is powered by a 345-horsepower Cummins ISL 8.9 directed through an Allison B500 transmission.

The full-size TS 45 is configured for 56 passengers and a restroom. The power train consists of the 425-horsepower Cummins ISX12 and Gen 5 Allison B500.

Temsa’s electric motorcoach, the MD9 electriCITY, was revealed in 2016 and has been operating on city routes in Europe. There is not yet a timetable for bringing it to this market, Geiger said.

“Temsa is working on electric vehicles for the U.S. market. They know there is a demand for a certain percentage of vehicles to be electric in the U.S.,” he said.

The electriCITY is 31 feet long and can seat 26 along with a wheelchair passenger. Its batteries can provide a driving range of 143 miles along with heat and air conditioning.

Also, Geiger said, “Temsa has stated their intention to manufacture vehicles in the U.S. in the near future. They have made some press announcements regarding that matter in Istanbul.”

A Turkish press release issued in January regarding Temsa’s U.S. exposition plans for the year noted that the company sends its buses around the world.

“The U.S. market is one of the most challenging markets within these 66 countries,” said sales and market director Kadri Ozgunes. “We believe that meeting the demand, adapting to the regulations of a country and selling a product in that market is a very important indicator of success.”

Reaching Temsa’s goal of placing 1,000 motorcoaches in the U.S., he said, “also is an important indicator of customer satisfaction.”

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