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

1990: With the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, MCI began producion of a fully accessible coach including a new design wheelchair lift and accessible lavatory.

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 102EL3 Renaissance® Coach, the 102EL3, a completely redesigned coach with a patented spiral entryway created with the assistance of BMW Designworks USA, which set new industry standards for luxury and offered a three-year warranty, the most extensive in the industry.

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.

MCI introduces the very first CNG Commuter Coach, delivering 77 units 1999 and 2000.

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

2000: Large public transportation agencies placed orders for MCI Commuter Coaches, totaling approximately 2,800 units, which included 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. These milestones inspired several other important MCI innovations as well.

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 renames its existing model lineup; the Renaissance became the E4500 and the D-Series 45-foot and 40-foot models became known as the D4500 and D4000, respectively.

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

2002: MCI builds the first hybrid-electric Commuter Coach, featuring a Cummins/ISL engine and an Allison EP 50 electric-drive hybrid propulsion system. Those coaches are still in operation.

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 celebrated for its ease of maintenance, stylish good looks and spiral entryway borrowed from the E4500, took its place as the industry's bestseller 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 and elevating its appeal in the tour and charter market.

2007: MCI launches its Go Green. Go Coach. Go MCI.™ campaign and makes major strides toward industry leadership in providing "greener" transportation solutions to both the public and private sectors. Embracing new EPA requirements, MCI unveiled models with the first generation of EPA-mandated clean-diesel engine technology that virtually eliminated particulate matter for a smoke-free exhaust. 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 a major customer service initiative, boosting 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, independent testing would confirm that the MCI Commuter Coach proved itself to be 10 times more reliable than the closest competitor.

2013: Reliability Driven™: Marking its 80th birthday, MCI has rededicated itself to building the most reliable coaches in North America. MCI's 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.

By year end, NJ TRANSIT awards MCI a contract for 84 natural-gas-fueled MCI Commuter Coaches with wheelchair lifts to replace coaches that have each logged more than 500,000 miles.

2015: A year of milestones. In July, MCI announces another landmark contract from NJ TRANSIT for 772 MCI Commuter Coaches that includes options for orders to build up to 1,200 units within a six-year delivery schedule. Then comes the biggest announcement of all. On December 18, New Flyer Industries Inc. completes its acquisition of MCI. The combination creates the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America.

2016: New Flyer immediately begins sizable investments in MCI's plants and facilities. Management and staff respond with unprecedented dedication and speed in the delivery of an estimated combined 3,500 units by yearend up 7 percent overall year-to-year.

2017: MCI accelerates its work in parts, maintenance and training, expanding its service network. In the fall, the San Francisco Bay Area MCI Sales and Service facility opens in Hayward, CA as the largest OEM facility in Northern California one of the nation's busiest motor coach markets. As MCI's seventh center nationwide, Hayward represents the future of MCI's service model throughout North America with modern parts and service facilities representing a $3 million investment in the community.

Another first: MCI Academy, the company's live and online training operation, becomes the first motor coach repair training operation to win accreditation by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). It is an important step in MCI's role to provide the industry standard in technical training tailored to the specific needs of the motor coach industry.

2018: MCI turns 85. From the company that helped build the North American motor coach industry from the ground up, the innovation keeps on coming:

More legroom and capacity: For 2018, the MCI J4500 introduces a more spacious cabin with best-in-class legroom and the capacity to seat 60 comfortably. The new design enables a larger lavatory and optional rear window with beautiful lighting throughout, including an optional programmable RGB lighting package for customizable interior color choices — important for operators who carry major teams and brands. A quieter, more efficient air intake system and new driver dash with a high-definition instrument panel are positioned as major operator-friendly advances.

35-foot luxury: A new MCI 35-foot J coach prototype is presently in testing with demo units set for delivery in early 2018 and production start scheduled for January 2019. The new MCI J3500 coach will sport the same attractive design and common components of its larger sibling while offering best in class payload and a basic 40-seat configuration with an option for 44 – more than any other 35-foot coach currently on the market.

Workhorse reliability: MCI offers its D4505 and D4000 in 45-foot and 40-foot configurations, including the MCI Commuter Coach model available in clean-diesel, hybrid and CNG options. The high floor coach features the best MDBF (mean distance between failure) rate in its class and nimble performance and safety at highway speeds. Above all, there's comfort, appreciated by commuters throughout America with options including wheelchair lifts, cameras, 110-volt outlets, USB plugs, Wi-Fi and bike racks. All in a day's work for the best-selling coach in industry history.

Unprecedented accessibility: The groundbreaking, next generation, high-capacity MCI D45 CRT LE commuter coach unveiled at APTA Expo in October, is designed to make boarding easier and faster for all passengers, especially those using mobility devices. The CRT LE low-level entry vestibule design, accessible by a second door at the midpoint of the coach, includes seating for five passengers including up to two with secured mobility devices and an attendant. Overall, the new model seats 52 passengers including those with mobility devices and 54 without.

All-electric and lightning fast: MCI is underway with an all-electric platform for the J4500 coach and the groundbreaking new MCI D45 CRT LE with the start of production in 2020. New Flyer has been a decades-long leader in electric propulsion; witnessed by the battery-electric Xcelsior® CHARGE's role in public transit's zero emissions marketplace. MCI all-electric models will utilize a high-torque Electric Drive System for operation at highway speeds with a planned range to meet long-distance applications and plug-in battery EV charging to 100 percent in under three hours.

A technology center for the entire industry: The destination is Anniston in the growing manufacturing corridor along Alabama's Interstate 20. New Flyer of America in partnership with MCI has established the Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC), North America's first innovation lab, that welcomes customers to see the latest in zero-emission and autonomous driving vehicle technologies under development. Located on a 36-acre, five-building campus, the VIC is an exhibit, meeting and demonstration center for the innovations that will shape our future.