New MCI J4500, smart-sized fleet, keeps Thielen Coaches going strong

Posted on June 27, 2014

With a business strategy to stay small, run a newer fleet and concentrate on customer service, Thielen Coaches of Redwood Falls, Minn., has stayed the course, providing exceptional service to charter clients for 42 years.  Its newest MCI J4500 coach, delivered in February, builds on a company trend to provide newer equipment with plenty of extras.  

Richard Thielen started the coach side of the company in 1976, following in the footsteps of his father, who purchased a school bus company in the 1960s in Little Falls, Minn. To get the charter business going, Thielen mostly relied on a fleet of MCI pre-owned coaches.

The purchase of the company’s first new coach, a 2003 MCI J4500, paved the way for many more newer J4500s to follow, including the MCI’s 75th-anniversary edition, a loaded 2009 show coach.

Thielen’s new J4500 features Amaya seats with standard three-point passenger seatbelts; arm and footrests, cup-holders and magazine nets.  Other added amenities include window shades, six LCD widescreen video monitors and an enhanced sound system. The new coach is also equipped with Alcoa Dura-bright Aluminum wheels, back-up camera and dash cam.  

Equipped with a Cummins clean-diesel engine that delivers near-zero emissions, and an Allison B-500 Transmission, the coach has a number of standard safety systems, including Electronic Stability Control; Smart Wave tire-pressure monitoring; and an Amerex fire detection & suppression system. The new coach is also equipped with MCI’s wide ride suspension.

"Our goal is to provide an upscale level of service by offering higher quality, newer coaches,” said Joe Thielen, VP, who runs the family business with his father Rick.

To Thielen, the interior comforts on its coaches are just as important.  Four of Thielen’s J4500s, including its newest coach, have what the company calls “stretch-seating,” a 52-seat passenger configuration rather than the standard 56-seat layout.

Thielen added: “We transport a lot of tour groups that appreciate the extra leg room. All our coaches are equipped with 110-volt plug-ins and Wi-Fi. These are popular with our younger and more professional groups as well as with the larger tour companies we serve.”

All together, Thielen operates a matched fleet of seven MCI J4500 coaches, model-year 2006 to 2014, plus a new 33-passenger mini-coach and 20 school buses. Thielen’s coaches operate out of its 31,000 square foot, heated facility that houses its maintenance facility, corporate offices, and fleet storage in Redwood Falls. Thielen employs 35 full and part-time employees.

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