February 18, 2014

MCI unveils vehicle enhancements at UMA

MCI's J4500

MCI's J4500
Operators will get an in-person look at additional improvements made to Motor Coach Industries’ (MCI) J4500 coach and options on the Setra S 417 at the United Motorcoach (UMA) Expo in Los Angeles from Feb. 16 through Feb. 20.

MCI is also doing more to assure its models offer total low cost of operation to benefit operators.

“We’re committed to building on the superior performance of our models that has earned them workhorse reputations and top sales rankings,” said Brent Maitland, MCI VP of marketing and product planning. “Extending from engineering to aftermarket parts support, our emphasis remains on workhorse reliability and low overall cost of ownership for MCI. For Setra, we are emphasizing its exemplary German engineering, and its ability to offer a custom-tailored approach to luxury and fleet differentiation. We have to continue to build on our strong service support for Setra as well. This is an important expectation for discerning Setra customers.”

“MCI is using the shows to demonstrate how our factory’s quality-at-source initiatives are furthering coach reliability,” said Patrick Scully, MCI executive VP of sales and marketing. “Operators who attend will also have the opportunity to learn about new parts products that will ultimately save them money, and how MCI Service Parts can supply their businesses with greater value.”

Here’s what to expect at the show:

Setra S 417

Setra S 417
Cleaner engine, fuel-efficient powertrain, superior ride quality
Outside, the newest J4500 coach boasts the same stunning looks as the redesigned 2013 model, according to company officials. The biggest news is the arrival of 2013-EPA engines, but operators will notice other changes, including a suspension advance and a newly designed parcel rack, among other improvements.

With MCI's newest generation of EPA-compliant Detroit Diesel and Cummins engines, operators will also see fuel-economy improvements. Cummins estimates a 2% mile-per-gallon gain versus 2010 EPA engines, and MCI’s initial three-mile flat-ground tests showed the J4500 achieving an enviable 10.27 mpg at 50 mph. Fluid handling and regeneration procedures all stay the same. MCI’s enhancements to the J4500, including various torque-curve tweaks, optimizations and a refined suspension control system, also contribute to the model’s significantly better fuel economy.

The J4500 now comes equipped with the MCI Dynamic Suspension System (MDSS), which includes a standard full-coach rise to better deal with obstacles. Handling is improved as well. MDSS features sophisticated load sensors that can keep the coach parallel with the road even when axle loads are uneven.

Redesigned parcel rack adds roominess; media panel makes for better screen time.

In addition to providing a more spacious-looking interior and better views for flat-screen monitors, MCI’s new parcel racks offer more passenger headroom above the seats. In addition, the individual airflow control panel has an illuminated “fasten seat belt” sign.

The J4500’s entertainment system includes a new media port option and USB charger that makes it much easier for trip leaders to hook up their own laptops, tablets or smartphones and share their images, movies, maps or PowerPoint presentations with passengers.

The manufacturer also improved the model’s lavatory, adding more ventilation, improved lighting and a shatterproof mirror. Drivers are getting a new air vent, and seating has been reconfigured to assure more equitable passenger leg room on the right- and left-hand sides of the coach.

MCI offers second-door Setra S 417
MCI is giving North American VIP passengers the ability to see national and natural wonders from Setra S 417 models that sport such touches as an optional second door and club corner lounge seating.

Setra has long had a history in its native European market for being an innovator and leader in the premium category. In the U.S. and Canada, MCI’s goal is to mirror Setra’s European status with an emphasis on German engineering and custom-tailored luxury.  

The model includes safety features such as front collision guard, cornering lights and rain/light sensors. Vehicle monitoring capabilities, with integrated tire monitoring and an onboard diagnostics system, ensure that drivers and maintenance professionals are ideally equipped to increase uptime.

Yet, it is the level of customization that sets Setra apart, according to MCI. In addition to the new second stairwell and club corner lounge, the Setra S 417 can be outfitted with such unique features as the TopSky glass roof, rear window and an array of amenities.

Setra maintains its main design center at its German headquarters in Neu-Ulm, where professional designers work with customers individually, crafting or augmenting operator brand identities. MCI is working with the team in Germany to offer this design capability to U.S. and Canadian customers, while also offering the comprehensive, hands-on aftermarket support for which MCI is known, and that Setra customers expect.

“We know that in addition to the custom luxury and German engineering, parts and service support is critical for Setra customers,” Maitland said. “We’ve made it through the transition, and now we are taking it to the next level.”

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