ABC Companies and Van Hool are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their partnership.
Since the two families joined forces in 1987, their shared vision has centered on developing and maintaining extraordinary relationships with their customers. With a unique premium European product offering, supported by ABC’s established distribution, sales, parts and service network, the partners continue to distinguish the brand and demand for the Van Hool product in the American marketplace.
From the very beginning both families understood that listening to the customer and responding to their needs and demands would be crucial to success. Over three decades Van Hool has modified equipment models and subsequently introduced ongoing series of fully-Americanized versions that have steadily gained popularity, grown market and mindshare, and increased customer loyalty year in and out.
“There are a number of key turning points in our history together,” said Roman Cornell, ABC chief commercial officer. “And, it’s exciting to see where the breakthroughs occurred.”
Most notably was the breakaway success of the Van Hool C2000 series introduced in 2000. Built exclusively from the top down for the North American market, within a year it not only became the most popular imported coach in the U.S., it also outsold all the other imported coach models combined.
“Customers loved this product because it was the direct result of listening to their input,” said Cornell. “While they know to expect premium quality and support from Van Hool and ABC, I believe what they really appreciate is the hands-on aspect of working with both of our companies.”
Accessibility and access within both organizations often results in product modifications directly forged by customer needs and preferences. A few prime examples of customer collaboration include the introduction of the Van Hool TD925 double deck coach. This double-deck coach delivered a high-capacity solution to Coach USA for the launch of its Megabus market expansion and is the go-to solution for a number of Silicon Valley employee shuttle programs. There are now over 600 Van Hool double-deck coaches currently in the U.S.
Similarly, the CX35 Van Hool model was introduced to answer operator calls for a smaller version of the popular CX45 foot coach with a reduced passenger capacity that would not sacrifice the “big coach” look, style, and feel. The new CX35 model has been another success with orders exceeding expectations and thanks to standardized design and manufacturing and numerous interchangeable parts with the 45-foot version, operators can realize significant parts, as well as driver training savings when running both models in their fleets.
The partners are committed to future-looking innovation and investments that contribute to greater control and efficiencies for their customers and their own business strategies. Plans to expand and strengthen their parts business supply chain will afford faster access to needed components for customers according to Cornell.
“We envision growing our supply chain and distribution network to tightly sync with operator requirements when and where support is needed all over North America,” he said.
Cornell also references the innumerable technologies emerging each year that can truly impact operational efficiency. “ABC and Van Hool are focused on rapid technology adoption, and whenever possible being first to market with tech-driven solutions for our operators.”