MCI posts sales gains in Canada

MCI's new-coach private-sector sales to Canadian customers shot up 52 percent in 2008 and pre-owned coach sales rose a whopping 79 percent compared to 2007 figures, which marketing executives attribute to the variety of MCI offerings, competitive pricing and the continuing emphasis on after-sales service, along with a comparably strong Canadian dollar that kept provincial customers investing in new equipment.

MCI was especially strong on powertrains in 2008. "With three engines and multiple models to choose from in 2008, we had more variety in our competitive offering," says Patricia Ziska, vice president and chief customer officer. "That, combined with the coaches' comfort features, and MCI's reputation for durability, swayed a lot of customers."

Other boons included the growth of Canada's oil industry, especially in Edmonton and the Fort McMurray Oil Sands area, where MCI has supplied a large number of new and pre-owned coaches to companies with work-transportation contracts. Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) is chief among them. "There's been a lot more demand for that domestic oil," says Larry Killingsworth, vice president of sales and marketing. "MCI coaches are attractive both for their comfort and their exceptional ruggedness. PWT really likes our workhorse D-Series."

MCI was also happy to welcome back several customers that had been buying from competitors in recent years. Killingsworth and Ziska give much of the credit to the Canadian sales and service team headed by Guy Tessier. Fleet Support Managers Doug DePape, John Leone and Simon Cloutier do a lot for their customers, with the assistance of Product Support Specialist Chad Sadowy. MCI's Montreal sales and service center, headed up by Robert LeDuc, is an important part of the picture as well. Yves Vermette is a longtime sales veteran there. "It's a tight-knit group, and they're very well-coordinated," says Killingsworth.

The team has high hopes for 2009 as well — in part because of the arrival of Joe Simard, who will be serving as a sales manager and working on business development after 15 years with a major competitor. Simard, in turn, says he is excited to be joining the number-one manufacturer in the industry.

Plans for 2009 include additional training opportunities for Canadian customers, many of them in conjunction with Canada's associations. As part of its Customer First program, MCI will be in Quebec City with APAQ, a Quebec bus owners association, March 27 and March 28. From March 29 through March 31, MCI will be on the other side of the country in Pentictin, British Columbia, to speak at the MCC Western Transportation Expo and offer training opportunities to members.

Says Ziska, "Our coaches have more to offer than ever, and our sales and service network has never been stronger. We look forward to serving the Canadian market even more fully in 2009."

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