by Hal Mattern
Prevost ended 2019 with a bang when it landed its largest order ever, in terms of value, with the win of two New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) contracts.
The company then entered 2020 with plans to introduce new business tools for customers, including a coach rental-on-demand program and motorcoach features such as driver-assist technology, electronic mirrors and luxury seating.
Said Michael Power, director of marketing for Prevost, “2019 was a really important year for us. We had several major milestones, like the introduction of the newly redesigned X3-45 motorcoach, our good performance regarding market share and the opening of a 67,000-square-foot service center in Hayward, California.”
However, the high point of 2019 for Prevost was when it was awarded two contracts to supply 330 buses to MTA—a firm order of 307 buses to be delivered between 2020 and 2022, and options for 23 additional buses.
“This is great news for Prevost to obtain these new contracts from North America’s largest transportation network, which will continue to reinforce Prevost’s leadership position in the North American coach market,” said François Tremblay, vice president and general manager at Prevost.
“We initially opened our assembly line in Plattsburgh, New York, in 2014 after we received our first commuter bus contract from MTA,” Tremblay said. “We are very proud, as the buses for MTA will be built just a few hours’ drive from New York City. Our presence in this state is very important for Prevost, and our talented employees in Plattsburgh are eager to demonstrate their skills once again to MTA.”
Prevost began 2019 with the introduction of its redesigned X3-45 motorcoach at United Motorcoach Association’s EXPO. The standout changes started with reshaping the entire front fascia to improve airflow and visibility. Added slant to the two-piece windshield and a flush windshield gasket are aerodynamic tweaks that enabled the dramatic improvement in fuel consumption of up to 10 percent.
“The introduction has been very successful,” Power said. “Customer feedback on the changes and improvements have been very good, with the most comments around the positive impact on their bottom line.”
While 2019 was a challenge for some, Power said, Prevost had a “very positive first half of the year” in terms of sales, and although final figures are not available, the company had a “good year on market share. We expect to finish strong and hope 2020 will continue to show promise, despite some market concerns.”
Another milestone that occurred in 2019 was the grand opening of the Hayward, California, service center, which is the company’s 19th parts and service location. “With this new service center, we now have more than our top two competitors combined,” Power said.
The new Bay Area service center is designed to support the growing employee shuttle market among high-tech companies. “It’s an important market,” he said, estimating that California accounts on average for about 20 percent of motorcoach sales in the U.S., with more and more vehicles being purchased for use as employee shuttles.
Power said Prevost plans to focus on moving forward with its service expansion in 2020. “We will be opening new facilities this year, and we’re looking at being able to offer more on service contracts, training and new tools for operators to better manage their systems,” he said. “Prevost has a very distinct culture of service, and we want to provide the ultimate customer experience, focusing on uptime, reliability and responsiveness.”
Prevost will be unveiling several new options in 2020, such as a driver-assist technology called Prevost Driver Assist to help mitigate potential incidents on the road and improve operating costs.
The company showcased electric mirrors during the 2020 UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Nashville. The system includes cameras on the sides of buses and monitors on the interior that improve driver visibility and increase fuel efficiency.
Prevost also displayed its new FAIC luxury seating system at EXPO. The seats recline and feature amenities on the seatbacks.
“It’s the next level of seating,” Power said. “Since market conditions evolve quickly and operators need options to better adapt to these changes and optimize their business, Prevost is rolling out two new programs to equip customers with the right coach, at the right time and at the right price,” he said. “Now customers will be able to benefit from our new Streamline and Streamline Plus coaches that are generously equipped with the most demanded options, and which will be available in inventory within a very short time frame.”
Another innovative program Prevost plans to offer in 2020 is motorcoach rent-on-demand, which allows operators to rent pre-owned coaches for short terms in times of peak demand. “During ups in business, when operators need to right size, this will allow them to better manage those peak periods,” Power said. “In addition, 80 percent of the payment made during a short-term rental period/contract can be applied as a down payment at the end should the customer decide to purchase the unit.
“With our strong line up of coaches, X3-45, H3-45 and Volvo 9700, and our commitment to our customers through the largest and strongest service and support network in the industry, we believe that 2020 will be a good year for all.”