KARST STAGE SELECTS A HIGH-SPEC MCI® J4500 COACH
DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS, OCTOBER 28, 2016: (TSX:NFI) (TSX:NFI.DB.U) Motor Coach Industries ("MCI"), a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. (the "Company"), the largest bus and motor coach manufacturer in North America says MCI was last part of Bozeman, Montana-based Karst Stage's history with a new coach delivery in 1992 — and now Karst has returned with the addition of a new, high-spec 2016 MCI J4500 to its fleet. Karst's newest MCI coach features a luxuriously appointed interior and the new optional severe duty package, which protects the coach from harsh road environments.
Karst began operations in 1898 as an actual stagecoach company by Pete Karst, who began driving freight, hauling loggers and transporting visitors to Yellowstone through the transition from horse to motor coach. Today, Karst's 71-vehicle fleet includes 20 coaches and serves the Western US and Canada with airport shuttles, charters and tours.
"We operate in a remote area, yet serve an upscale clientele who come to tour Yellowstone in the summer and ski Big Sky in the winter," said Dan Martin, Karst's president who joined Karst in 2005 and became an owner in 2012. "We wanted something different, and this J4500 comes with all the bells and whistles."
Karst's new J4500 was featured at UMA EXPO 2016. The upscale interior highlights Amaya A-2 Ten seating with Bustextil fabric, burl-wood parcel rack doors and panels and wood-like flooring. A rugged ZF IFS (independent front suspension) offers tighter turning, and standard passive rear steering reduces tire wear. MCI's optional severe duty package provides benefits when traveling on gravel roads and dusty environments with features that include supplemental engine air filter, cabin fresh-air filtration system, mud flaps for drive and front axles, pressurized baggage compartments and factory installed tire chains.
At 6'4", Martin, particularly likes "what MCI has done with the interior layout to increase seating comfort." Because he occasionally drives passengers, Martin finds the logical progression of the instrument-wrapped panel easy to gauge and he appreciates the standard adaptive cruise control.
"Our passengers and drivers like our new J4500," said Martin. "We've been tracking MCI for the past two years, and have a lot of confidence in the product and service."
MCI couldn't appreciate Karst's return more.
Since Karst leads tours to Yellowstone, it takes additional steps to protect the ecosystem by assuring all its drivers complete the EcoDriver and IdleFree certification under the Certification for Sustainable Transportation (CST) through the University of Vermont. Martin said the company is working to assure that 100 percent of Karst's vehicles are eRating-certified through the same program.
Karst's new J4500 is powered by Detroit Diesel featuring the newest engine technology to reduce fuel usage and emissions. "Going green has been an important strategy for us and we're seeing about a 10 percent savings in fuel costs on our new J4500," said Martin.
Karst is a member of industry's two largest associations, the American Bus Association (ABA), United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and belongs to the International Motorcoach Group (IMG), an invitation-only organization formed in 1998. IMG's 57 operators share a commitment to excellence in customer service, safety, training and maintenance to meet group travel needs.
Martin exchanges best practices as a member of Spader20, made up of 10 to 20 non-competing businesses in the same industry, which meet regularly. "I really like this business. It draws people who are drawn towards challenges," said Martin, who goes for the progressive touch.
This year, Martin and other managers convinced Google maps to feature "a 360-degree view of our new J4500, rather than our building. Why not," said Martin, who shares his 16-year old daughter's industry outlook. "Out of the blue, I heard her say 'you know, Dad, buses are cool.'"
The Company is the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America with fabrication, manufacturing, distribution and service centers in Canada and the United States and employs approximately 5,000 team members.
Through its Canadian and U.S. subsidiaries, Motor Coach Industries Limited and Motor Coach Industries, Inc., the Company is the leader in motor coaches in Canada and the U.S., offering the MCI® J4500, which is the industry's best-selling intercity coach for 11 consecutive years, and the MCI® D-Series, the industry's best-selling coach line in North American motor coach history. MCI is also the exclusive distributor of Setra® S 417 and S 407 in the United States and Canada. MCI actively supports over 28,000 motor coaches currently in service and offers 24-hour roadside assistance 365 days a year.
Through its Canadian and U.S. subsidiaries, New Flyer Industries Canada ULC and New Flyer of America Inc., the Company is North America's heavy-duty transit bus leader and offers the broadest transit bus product line (Xcelsior® and MiDi® models), incorporating the broadest range of drive systems available, including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, electric-trolley and now battery-electric. New Flyer actively supports over 42,000 heavy-duty transit buses (New Flyer, NABI and Orion) currently in service.
The Company also operates North America's most comprehensive aftermarket parts organization providing support for all types of transit buses and motor coaches. All buses and coaches are supported by an industry-leading comprehensive warranty, service and support network.
For further information, please contact:
Patricia Plodzeen Public Relations,
Jon Koffman, New Flyer Investor Relations
Motor Coach Industries - A New Flyer company: Corporate Address 200 East Oakton Street, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018 | Phone: 866-MCICOACH
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