FARIBAULT, Minn. — A steady economy, healthy operators and successful model launches produced another year of progress for Temsa motorcoaches in North America.
“We continue to expand and grow and our business climate has been steady,”said Robert F. Foley, president and chief executive officer of CH Bus Sales LLC, distributor of the Turkish-built vehicles.
“When interest rates stay where they are and the economy is steady, I don’t think we need a robust economy for our segment to grow,” Foley said.
“Operators, in general, have done very well in the last few years. We introduced our TS 35E earlier this year, an enhanced version of the TS 35, and customers really love that coach,” he said. “That has picked up business for us.”
The Temsa 30 and 35 models have filled a void between full-size motorcoaches and body-on-truck-frame cutaway buses, Foley said.
“That market is growing. People call it a niche market but it is a great market segment for us.”
The Temsa 45 model, launched in 2015, also has had design enhancements, and acceptance and sales of the coaches continue to increase, Foley added.
By the end of December CH Bus will have sold more than 300 new and used coaches for the year.
“That’s a significant improvement over last year,” Foley said.
Temsa began selling coaches in the U.S. market in 2010 and has since captured approximately a 10 percent market share.
Temsa and CH Bus Sales present the widest product range to the market, with three fully-integral coaches ranging from 30 to 56 seats (TS 30, TS 35 and TS 45). There are 800 Temsa models on the road in the U.S. run by about 200 operators.
The TS 35 that introduced Temsa to the North American market can seat 40 passengers while equipped with a restroom. With a restroom and wheel chair lift seating capacity drops to 36. More than 500 have been sold in North America.
The enhanced TS 35E was introduced last winter at the UMA Motorcoach Expo in Atlanta. “We kept the structure and powertrain but upgraded the look,” Foley said. “The enhanced model gets a facelift and a strategic focus on serviceability and access.
We also upgraded some of the options.”
The TS 35E has improved service accessibility with three-piece front and rear bumpers, improved driver ergonomics and enhanced curb appeal. Its features include an updated and modern look to the front face and rear door; new styling in the entryway with added LED tread lighting on the steps; new overhead reading lights; and enclosed parcel racks.
The TS 35 is powered by a 345-horsepower Cummins ISL 8.9 directed through an Allison B500 transmission. Within the model plan for 2017-2018 is an upgraded version of the 34-passenger, 30-foot model.
“We are looking to enhance the TS 30 as we did the TS 35,” Foley said.
The downsized motorcoach, which includes a restroom, is expected to be a prime source of growth for Temsa, he said.
“There has been pent-up demand for years in that segment, whether it is for employee shuttles or the tour side of the industry. In the past, when operators were considering monocoque-design vehicles versus cutaways, I think they were looking for a more robust vehicle.
“That demand has been growing for 10 or 15 years. For the last several years some have been available. That segment will continue to grow as more marketing and awareness get out there.”
The TS 30 carries a 250-horsepower Cummins ISB 6.7 engine and Allison B300 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.
“One of our strengths is our manufacturer,” Foley said. “Temsa has a diverse portfolio of products. Turkey is one of the world’s top five countries for commercial vehicle production and they have a number of quality suppliers that are very versatile. Temsa is owned by the Sabanci Group, which is a solid and very diversified holding company.
“Temsa has a fabulous research and development department. When it comes to leading-edge technology, they are on the forefront.”
Among Temsa’s research and development projects are electric motorcoaches. The MD9 electriCITY was unveiled in June and has been operating on the streets of Adana, Turkey, the company’s home.
This model will not be coming to North America in 2017 but is on the agenda for coming years, Foley said. “They are testing them now.”
The electriCITY is 9.5 meters (31 feet) long and can seat 26 along with a wheelchair passenger. Its batteries can provide a driving range of 230 kilometers (143 miles) as well as heat and air conditioning.
Temsa’s marketing materials state that the electriCITY’s direct traction system “virtually eliminates the need to use a transmission between the axle and the motor, thus increasing productivity.”The motor is rated for 100 kilowatts, the equivalent of 134 horsepower.
As for refueling, Temsa said, “The battery system can be charged within two hours with a 130kWh (kilowatt-hour) DC charger. It can be charged for six hours with a 50kWh DC charger at night to make use of cheap electricity.”
“We believe there is a need in the U.S. for electric vehicles, especially for campus and employee shuttles,” Foley said. “There is a demand and we plan to be able to supply products for that niche.”
CH Bus Sales opened sales and service facilities in San Francisco and in Pine Brook, N.J., this year, joining its shops in Orlando, Fla., and Fort Worth, Texas. Service is one of the company’s strengths, Foley said.
“Our organization has great integrity and great customer service follow-up. Our operators understand that. We also have added the availability of online parts ordering for out customers.”
CH Bus expects the economy to continue chugging along next year as the Trump administration moves into the White House.
“We think the economy will be steady with the transition,” Foley said. “In some cases the climate on regulations certainly might take a different tone going forward, which I think will help business.”
As Temsa enters its seventh year in the market, “Our business will continue to grow,” he said. “We will continue to expand our parts and service footprint across the country. As every model we have gets more exposure, we gain more interest. That is what we are looking for.”