Turkish vehicle manufacturer Temsa Global, along with Faribault, Minn.-based CH Bus Sales, are bringing vehicles to the U.S. motorcoach market that accommodate the trend of smaller charter and tour groups, while offering the added benefit of a smoother and quieter ride.
The exclusive distributor of Temsa motorcoaches and after-sales service and parts, CH Bus currently distributes two Temsa vehicles in the U.S. — the TS 30 and the TS 35 — and is introducing a third model — the TS 45 — in the spring of 2014. CH Bus introduced the TS35 four years ago and the TS30 last December. After the introduction of the newest model, it plans to debut other Temsa vehicles in the U.S. market.
Temsa, a subsidiary of Sabanci Holding and one of the largest bus builders in Turkey, was founded in 1968. It manufactures buses, minibuses, and light trucks for international and domestic markets at its Adana facilities and employs about 1,500 workers. The manufacturer began bus production in 1987 under license of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. of Japan and has been exporting its self-developed products to the European Union markets since 2001. Using high-quality standards and production systems adopted from Japan, Temsa has integrated the use of systems such as 5S and Six Sigma for continuous improvement. The production capacity of the Adana plant is 3,250 buses and coaches per year and 7,500 light trucks; about 10,750 vehicles in total every year. Temsa also represents many well-known international brands such as Mitsubishi and Komatsu as their distributor in Turkey and certain assigned territories.
Sabanci Holding has business units in financial services, retail, cement, energy, tires and tire reinforcement materials, and automotive and does $15 billion in U.S. revenue.
In 1987, Temsa introduced its first coach, the Maraton, to the market. The manufacturer introduced the Safari, the first Temsa-designed coach to the market, in 2001. Temsa entered the U.S. market in 2008.
The manufacturer-distributor relationship, Bob Foley, president/CEO, CH Bus Sales, says, benefits CH Bus because Temsa is “a world-class manufacturer and engineer.”
Additionally, because Temsa manufactures vehicles for so many countries, it has a greater diversity of products. “That obviously interested us as well,” he adds.
Another advantage in partnering with Temsa is that it gives CH Bus a unique edge, enabling it to offer the only 35-foot and 30-foot integral monocoque-constructed motorcoaches to the U.S. market, according to CH Bus.[PAGEBREAK]
Better fit for small groups
Offering these models is particularly advantageous right now because over approximately the last 15 years, travel groups have been getting smaller but haven’t had many options for smaller coaches, so there is a market niche for the vehicles, Foley says. CH Bus has a number of customers who are using 45-foot vehicles but could easily use smaller ones, which is why its introduction of the TS 30 and TS 35 have been so successful.
One of the biggest benefits the TS 30 and TS 35 models offer is that even though they are shorter, they still have a stainless integral monocoque construction, which provides longevity and allows for baggage to be stored underneath the vehicle as is typical with some of the larger motorcoach models.
“When you compare it to a cutaway design, which is the truck in the front with the body on the back, it doesn’t leave [room] for the baggage space underneath,” Foley explains. “You’re generally putting the baggage in the vehicle or in the back of the vehicle.”
The TS 30 and TS 35 feature an integral structure for a smooth and stable ride, stainless steel construction and offer more baggage capacity than standard at 215 cubic feet. Both are equipped with a Cummins ISL HP Engine (250 HP and 345 HP, respectively) and an Allison transmission (B300 and B500, respectively).
While the TS 30 may be compact, it offers several comfort features, including an ergonomic driver's cockpit, a high quality heating and air conditioning system, and reclining seats. The TS 30 has a tough, integral stainless steel chassis for extra durability and safety and a turning radius of 27.8 feet.
Like the TS 30 and TS 35, the Temsa TS 45 will also offer U.S. motorcoach operators integral monocoque stainless steel construction, Cummins ISX12, EPA13 425HP engines; Allison transmissions (B500 Gen 4) and ample baggage capacity. Additionally, the model will include ABS, ATC, ESC; a lane departure warning system; and energy absorption bumpers.
According to CH Bus, it is introducing another 45-foot motorcoach because it will be a quality coach at a cost-effective price. Foley points out that another benefit CH Bus offers its customers with the Temsa line of vehicle is interchangeable parts between the models.
“From the powertrain and the HVAC, you have to have commonality of parts that are common in the U.S,” he adds. “The powertrains in all three vehicles are Cummins/Allison, a very reliable powertrain in the U.S.”[PAGEBREAK]
Quieter, smoother ride
Not only does the monocoque construction of the chassis on the vehicles make them safer, more durable and allow for more baggage space, it also helps create the quiet and smooth ride expected from a motorcoach.
Once customers demo the vehicle, Foley says, they’re not concerned with putting a number of miles on it or using it for cross-country service, because it handles well and is quiet. He points to the TS 30, adding that operators who are accustomed to using cutaways or body-on-chassis, when test-driving the vehicle, can tell the difference, and so can their customers once the vehicle is in service.
“It’s a product that they haven’t been able to show their customers before. With the [27.8-foot] turning radius, it turns shorter than a Suburban,” Foley says.[PAGEBREAK]
TS 35 handling a hit with Indiana carrier’s drivers
Whether running in its charter fleet or Windy City traffic for commuter service, Jeffersonville, Ind.-based The Free Enterprise System’s Director of Maintenance Steve Blaschke, says its six new Temsa TS 35 passenger coaches are making the grade with customers and drivers. In particular, the drivers like the turning radius, which they say makes the vehicles handle more easily.
“We are very pleased with the performance of the Temsa coaches,” Blaschke says. “They are stable in the wind and turn easily.”
The coaches have run for about five months on a contracted route that Free Enterprise handles for an International Business Machines (IBM) commuter shuttle service as well as its charter service.
“The charter [drivers] take them into New York City and love them for getting around,” Blaschke says. “They’re easier to park and move around in the heavy traffic there.”
Free Enterprise’s TS 35s include six 15-inch REI flat screen monitors throughout the coaches; electrical outlets and an REI media player at every seat location; Wi-Fi and seat back trays. As part of a major refurbishing project, the operator further enhanced the coaches with a custom-made fabric called Kristin, named after the owner’s wife, from Lantel Textiles, and Antic wood flooring.
“We have tried several different mid-size coaches in the past but nothing to this point is comparable to the Temsa,” Blaschke says. “It’s a beautiful, well-made coach. I am positive we will purchase more in the years to come.”
The coach operation, which offers numerous services including airport transfers, corporate charter and shuttles, convention shuttles and commuter services, boasts a 98% customer retention rate and won the International Motor Coach Group Carrier of the Year award for 2013.