Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., announced that the unveiling of the MCI D45 CRT LE, a breakthrough in accessibility design, has captured a Grand Award in APTA’s 2018 AdWheel award competition.
MCI’s next-generation Commuter Coach debut won top honors in the category, “Best Marketing and Communications to Increase Sales Special Event.” MCI accepted the Grand Award during the 2018 APTA Annual Meeting in Nashville.
MCI unveiled its coach to the industry last October at APTA EXPO 2017. The 2017 event, which included a video screening and a public countdown with a blue-curtain reveal, showcased the coach’s innovative vestibule design that provides unprecedented accessibility for all passengers, including those with mobility devices.
The D45 CRT LE is the newest entry in MCI’s D-Series, the all-time industry best-selling coach lineup, and the company's first model redesign in more than two decades. In a four-year undertaking, MCI engineers worked with long time partner Designworks, a BMW Group Company, and volunteer members from the disability community to develop the groundbreaking coach, which has several patents pending.
With a battery-electric version available in 2020, and other variations underway, the model’s industry introduction included a coordinated multimedia launch strategy featuring teaser ads, e-blast invitations, a live Facebook feed and intriguing social media posts as well as the blue-curtain reveal, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd.
Event speakers included Ian Smart, MCI president, as well as Kelly Buckland, executive director of the National Council of Independent Living, who has a mobility disability and participated in the design.
Once MCI lifted the blue-drape off the all-new, glittering D45 CRT LE, the crowd — on foot and in wheelchairs — queued up to board. Within moments, the vestibule, seating areas, and driver cockpit were full of eager testers.
MCI discussed the winning strategy at the APTA AdWheel presentation that included a video recap of the D45 CRT LE unveiling.
“We’re passionate about accessibility and this new model’s ability to reduce dwell time, said Patrick Scully, MCI executive VP, sales and marketing. “It is gratifying to experience our industry’s support, interest, and approval of a revolutionary model created for a new demographic of ridership working with more mobility issues and traveling longer distances for jobs and leisure opportunities.”
Alberta’s Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission has already placed the first order for the MCI D45 CRT LE and will take delivery in April 2019. MCI’s breakthrough accessibility coach is currently touring the country in demo service, and scoring high approval ratings from operators and passengers.
The AdWheel awards recognize APTA member public transportation systems and business members for outstanding marketing and communications efforts that contribute to strategic organizational goals. Judges reviewed 300 entries this year before narrowing the field to 55 First Place winners and eight Grand Award winners.