1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s2000s2010s
Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches
The MCI® J4500 Coach 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1933: Harry Zoltok turns his Winnipeg repair shop into the laboratory for the future of coach travel. He sketches his first vehicle design, an 11-passenger body on a Packard chassis, on the factory floor. His small manufacturing company, Fort Garry Motor Body and Paint Works, finds itself on the cusp of a new mass transit industry.

1936: The Public Works administration provides the first large-scale federal government public transportation assistance in the United States, promoting public transport on both rail and road. This Depression-era move starts putting local transit operations in the hands of taxpayers.

1937: The company designs and builds its first proprietary chassis and manufactures its first line of coaches for Grey Goose Bus Lines in Winnipeg. Today, Grey Goose is a subsidiary of Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp. operating in Manitoba.

1939: Fort Garry designs and manufactures the Model 150, a new transit-type coach with the windshield over the radiator, the first use of exterior stainless steel panels and a pancake engine mounted midship under the floor.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1933: Harry Zoltok turns his Winnipeg repair shop into the laboratory for the future of coach travel. He sketches his first vehicle design, an 11-passenger body on a Packard chassis, on the factory floor. His small manufacturing company, Fort Garry Motor Body and Paint Works, finds itself on the cusp of a new mass transit industry.

1936: The Public Works administration provides the first large-scale federal government public transportation assistance in the United States, promoting public transport on both rail and road. This Depression-era move starts putting local transit operations in the hands of taxpayers.

1937: The company designs and builds its first proprietary chassis and manufactures its first line of coaches for Grey Goose Bus Lines in Winnipeg. Today, Grey Goose is a subsidiary of Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp. operating in Manitoba.

1939: Fort Garry designs and manufactures the Model 150, a new transit-type coach with the windshield over the radiator, the first use of exterior stainless steel panels and a pancake engine mounted midship under the floor.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1941: On January 7, the company changes its name to Motor Coach Industries Limited, but coach production quickly gives way to the manufacturing needs of World War II. The company's new Winnipeg facility at Erin Street and St. Matthews Avenue is converted to manufacture Jeep trailers, boat trailers for rescue craft, army truck bodies and pontoon bridge sections plus the reconditioning of aircraft pontoons.

1942: MCI builds and designs the first electric trolley bus manufactured in Canada, known as Number 1532. It has its own route for 25 years, but never becomes a regular production item.

1945: With the war's end, MCI reverts to regular coach production and introduced its first rear engine coach, the Model 100, in 1946. Over the rest of the decade the company adds its National Products subsidiary, which manufactures and sells pole line hardware for the prairie provinces' rural electrification program and, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, National Porcelain is formed to manufacture porcelain insulators for that market.

1948: Greyhound Lines of Canada acquires a majority interest in MCI, with Harry Zoltok continuing as company president.

1949: MCI's Model 50, a 33-passenger coach, is introduced as a successor to the Model 100, the first coach synonymous with the Canadian Greyhound operation.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1950s: Like so many major users of steel at the time, MCI continues to diversify past its bedrock coach business. It uses its excess capacity to expand National Products Co. into ornamental street lighting poles, and creates the Alsco Windows and Doors Co. to serve the growing postwar housing market. MCI also expands to offer custom metal fabrication services for truck bodies.

During this decade, the coach division continues to innovate; the company adds the 85, 90, 95, 96 and launches the new MC series of coaches. The MC-1 proves to be a revolutionary new design incorporating a heating system linked to the engine cooling system and a translucent roof.

1958: Greyhound Lines of Canada acquires the remaining shares in MCI with Zoltok keeping his role as president.

1959: The MC-1 cements the company's popularity; 26 coaches are produced during the year, with the company additionally developing its MCX2 prototype. At the same time, MCI sells National Porcelain. During the Greyhound years, MCI is the first manufacturer to build a 40-foot coach.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1962: MCI heads south of the border and establishes its Pembina, North Dakota plant, 68 miles south of Winnipeg, which officially opens in 1963.

1963: MCI officially enters the U.S. coach market, developing the MC-2, MC-3, MC-4, MC-5 and the MC-5A over the rest of the decade.

1967: MCI delivers the first prototype of the landmark MC-6 "Super Cruiser" coach to Greyhound; designed and developed for Greyhound, it features a 102-inch wheelbase, an all-stainless-steel frame, and a V-12 engine.

1968: The 40-foot-long MC-7 is developed and put into production just before the MC-6, representing the first time MCI has multiple coach lines in parallel production. The company is now producing 500 coaches a year, compared to only 50 in the early 1960s.

An official after-market parts division is established at Motor Coach Industries' plant at Pembina, North Dakota.

1969: MCI builds a total of 100 coaches between 1969 and 1970; a fraction of its current production. MCI will reintroduce the all-stainless-steel frame in 1997 when it builds the 102EL3 Renaissance® coach (now the E4500).

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1970s: MCI begins international distribution with its first sales to Mexico, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

1971: Harry Zoltok retires, while the company opens a new parts distribution center in Northlake, Illinois. Greyhound moves its corporate headquarters from Chicago to Phoenix. The company builds its first MC-5B coach (production runs through 1977).

1972: Hausman Bus Sales, founded in 1954 by Jerry Hausman, with sales and service centers in Chicago, New Jersey and California, joins forces with MCI and begins selling its new coaches exclusively.

1973: The MC-8 hits the roads, replacing the MC-7.

1975: MCI Service Parts division becomes Universal Coach Parts Inc., supplying motor coach, transit and school bus operators with parts.

1978: The company develops the MC-9 Crusader II, destined to become the North American intercity coach industry's all-time best-seller.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1980: MCI continues to expand its parts and manufacturing operations in Canada and the United States. The company expands its production lines in Fort Garry and Pembina to double the production capacity of the popular MC-9. The Canadian distribution center opens in Newcastle, Ontario, under the MCI Service Parts name.

1983: UCP pioneers its "C.O.A.C.H." program — Customer Order Assisted Computerized Handling — the first electronic parts ordering system and accessed by more than 300 customers.

1984: A full six years before the Americans with Disabilities Act is passed, MCI is the first coach manufacturer to offer wheelchair lifts on its vehicles. The first model is contracted out as retrofit for Terra Transport and built for the Canadian Government in June 1984; it buys another in October.

1985: MCI builds its very own first six MC-9 units with wheelchair lifts by the end of February 1986 for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1987: MCI acquires General Motor's bus parts business, virtually doubling the size of the company overnight. That same year, a larger parts distribution facility is purchased in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, becoming it's new headquarters location.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

1993: MCI launches COACH GUARD®, a private brand of aftermarket parts, which grows to include a full line of filters, remanufactured transmissions, bearings, seals, electrical items and hundreds of other parts, all engineered and manufactured to strict tolerances for long-lasting performance.

1994: The MC-9 becomes the nation's all-time best-selling coach with 6,406 vehicles sold between 1978 and 1994.

1995: The MC-9 gives way to what will be a new leader, the MCI D-Series. The first D-Series model, the 102DL3, accommodates 55 passengers and its expanded 45-foot length makes it an even more popular model than the "9" (Today, there are more than 7,700 D models on the road in the United States and Canada).

MCI purchases the assets of Billingsley Parts & Equipment, a distributor of school bus parts and manufacturer of specialty parts.

1996: MCI unveils its Renaissance Coach, the 102EL3, a new-look designed with a patented spiral entryway created with the assistance of BMW Designworks USA.

The company acquires the parts assets of the Flxible Corporation, one of the nation's largest transit bus manufacturers.

1998: The company announces plans to open a new facility in Louisville on a 31-acre site near a UPS hub and to consolidate the operations of its existing warehouse facilities. The company also announces plans for an Internet-based online ordering system, named The Parts Store, replacing its C.O.A.C.H. — Customer Order-Assisted Computerized Handling system.

1999: MCI moves into a new 40,000-square-foot Dallas sales and service center. The location also serves as the home of MCI Financial Services.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

2000: MCI wins a historic order from New Jersey Transit — $500 million for 1,400 commuter "cruiser" coaches. At the time, it is the largest coach transaction ever recorded for a transit agency.

The company commemorates its move to Louisville and announces its name change to MCI Service Parts Inc., in keeping with MCI's corporate strategy of unifying its network of related services under the MCI name.

2001: MCI introduces its J4500 model, which will quickly go on to become the best-selling coach in the industry. Its award-winning styling follows that of the E4500 (formerly called the Renaissance), and its mechanical systems are simplified for an easy ownership experience. By 2007, the J4500 surpasses 2,103 units.

MCI opens its Orlando, Florida-area sales and service center.

2003: MCI invests $40 million in the expansion of its Winnipeg plant and moves the production of the G4500 from its former Mexico plant to Winnipeg, integrating the model into the E4500/J4500 mixed-platform line.

2004: The MCI J4500 ranks as the #1 industry best seller in the trend report published by National Bus Trader magazine.

MCI offers Emergency Roadside Assistance 24 hours a day, every day, managed in-house by MCI professionals through its technical support call center at the Louisville parts distribution center.

2005: MCI gives the D-Series a major makeover, endowing what will now be called the D4005 and D4505 with the curvier, more modern exterior styling that have made the J and E models so attractive to operators.

2007: MCI launches its Go Green. Go Coach. Go MCI.™ slogan and makes major strides toward industry leadership in providing "greener" transportation solutions to both the public and private sectors. Embracing new EPA requirements, MCI rolls out its model line with the industry's largest selection of clean-diesel engines and transmission options. The company also accelerates its plans for a second generation of hybrid diesel coaches. In summer, it puts its J4500 coach equipped with a 2007 EPA-compliant Caterpillar engine on the road to raise awareness of Green coach transportation during the 54-day Udall Legacy Bus Tour.

MCI establishes the first National Training Center at its Louisville location, dedicated to enhancing and advancing the skills of all motor coach technicians. At the same time, it introduces its Coach Driving Simulator, the industry's first maker-specific high-tech simulator, offering a virtual-reality driving experience and a variety of safety scenarios to enhance drivers' skills.

2008: MCI celebrates the 75th anniversary of its first coach with a special edition of the best selling J4500 coach.

Motor Coach Industries - A history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches 1933 to 2014
Celebrating a history of manufacturing and servicing Motor Coaches

2010: By the end of the first decade of the new millennium, MCI's J4500 model continued to be the industry's best-selling coach, and its D4500 commuter coach and D4505 took the second and third top-selling spots in the industry's annual trend survey. Now, the next generation of EPA-compliant 2010 clean-diesel engines has arrived, promising near-zero emissions and fuel savings. As technology improvements to the coach models continue, MCI is also implementing technology on the customer service side, taking full advantage of online parts ordering, customer training webinars and more.

2011: MCI marks the 6,000th unit off its E/J assembly line and a first-ever order from the City of Los Angeles for 95 compressed natural gas (CNG) Commuter Coach models. MCI has a long history serving public transit and the data confirms how well the MCI Commuter Coach performs in both reliability and total cost of ownership. It offers 42 percent greater seating capacity than a comparable transit bus at a cost that's 15 percent lower per seat. Additionally, in recent independent testing, the MCI Commuter Coach proved itself to be 10 times more reliable than the closest competitor.

2012: Growing Strategically, Growing Smart: MCI announces the completion of its acquisition of Setra's U.S. and Canadian operations and establishes a strategic partnership with Daimler Buses (Daimler). These important moves gave MCI responsibility for sales and service support of Setra S 417 and Setra S 407 motor coach models and its pre-owned coach inventory, the distribution of Setra and related genuine Daimler Buses parts and operation of Setra's Orlando-based service center. Daimler also acquires a minority ownership position in MCI, forming an engineering, technology and manufacturing alliance as part of the transaction. The bottom line? Of the 55,000 coaches on the road today, the majority are made by MCI.

2013: Reliability Driven™: Marking its 80th birthday, MCI has rededicated itself to building the most reliable coaches in North America. Our MCI-Reliability Driven™ philosophy reflects the company's promise to design, build and deliver expertly engineered coaches with top-quality components, the latest safety and security features and unsurpassed parts availability and service. Reliability Driven™ goes beyond the slogan in our factories and offices, too. There's a new corporate culture at MCI where our multi-facility ISO 9001:2008 registration assures that all plants share best practices to consistently turn out world-class products and marketplace innovations. We are working every day to make this company better.

And They Love Our Looks: At MCI, being Reliability Driven™ also means knowing how to refine a good thing. Customers have made the MCI J4500 a bestseller for nine years running and now MCI is giving operators new reasons to add the 2013 J4500 to fleets — including some eye-catching style changes. Working with BMW Group Designworks USA — the team that gave the market-leading J4500 its unprecedented curb appeal — MCI is refining and improving the look and feel of our luxury coaches inside and out in 2013 and beyond.

Reliable Coaches: New Standards of Accessibility, Convenience and Comfort — The economy and environment are redefining the way people travel. That's good for MCI. Today's municipal and private transportation systems are looking to coach transport as the most flexible, affordable and greenest option for passengers who want to make the most of their money and time. That's why MCI is investing in the latest onboard amenities that turn riders into lifetime customers: Wi-Fi, power outlets and wide flat-screen monitors to keep riders engaged, entertained and working. To keep all customers rolling, state-of-the art wheelchair lifts make accessibility and alternate transportation options possible for all.

Reliable Safety: Safety First, Safety Always — MCI continues to lead the market in important safety and performance features. MCI coaches feature Electronic Stability Control, SmartWave Tire Pressure monitoring system and a fire suppression system. Popular safety options include three-point passenger seatbelts and reverse sensing.

Reliable Parts and Service: Aftermarket Support That's Second to None — MCI is there around-the-clock, whether it's an emergency on the road or a question in the garage. While our presence is widespread, our services are focused. MCI provides one of the best networks of aftermarket support in the industry with expert technical help, onsite training and the largest inventory of OEM parts for all makes of motor coach makes and transit buses. And they're all backed by our commitment to quality and reliability.

Coaches that are Cleaner and Greener: One fully occupied motor coach can displace as many as 56 passenger cars from crowded highways and when it comes to carbon dioxide (Co2) per passenger mile, coaches pollute far less than trains, planes or cars. But that's only where the good news starts. MCI's new coach models are powered by the next generation of clean-diesel engine technology that promises near-zero emissions and increased fuel savings. MCI is the only manufacturer to offer an intercity model, the MCI Commuter Coach, in diesel-electric hybrid and CNG configurations. MCI is proud that these low-emissions coaches are helping to reduce highway congestion and protect our air quality.

Coaches that Serve Virtually Every Customer and Purpose: No matter what your need, MCI has the coach. We serve the following markets:

  • Tour and charter
  • Scheduled and curb-side service
  • Public Transit
  • Pre-owned