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ABC AND VAN HOOL EVOLVE PRODUCT OFFERING WITH INTRODUCTION OF NEW ADVANCED COACH MODELS.

November 21, 2013

Customer's Preview New Van Hool TX and CX Models at ABC's Florida Location.

ABC and Van Hool introduced their next generation coach models, the Van Hool TX and CX during a customer unveiling event in Florida. ABC senior management, sales and technical staff, Van Hool representatives, as well as key vendor partners were on-hand to offer in-depth product knowledge, facilitate inspections and offer operators test rides on both new models.

"North American operators face a myriad of business challenges -- from complying with changing safety mandates and maximizing equipment performance to optimizing total cost of ownership and reducing maintenance and downtime," states Dane Cornell, Chairman and CEO, ABC Companies.  "The revamp of our flagship T and C coach models reflects a committed strategic shift in Van Hool product development, designed to more closely align our equipment offering with our customers' priorities."

The new product introductions offer retooled designs that integrate a host of new safety, performance, and passenger features (many as standard offerings) with an evolved body styling and quality fit and finish details.

New Van Hool TX 40' & 45' Coach Standard Feature Highlights

For high-end tour operators, the new TX 40' & 45' coach models integrate global leader Van Hool's most advanced European technology and design, now offering many new standard features including these highlights:

  • Taller overall height (12' 2-1/4") expands underfloor baggage capacity to 464.39 cu. ft.
  • Baggage door seals mounted on luggage doors for less maintenance
  • Detroit Diesel DD13 (450 HP) EPA 2013 Engine
  • Goodyear Marathon LHS II 315/80 R22.5 + HL tires
  • Power driver's toll-window, heated, with tinted tempered glass
  • New passenger courtesy shelves in restroom back wall
  • Exterior lighting upgraded to include integrated light clusters and  daytime running lights and static aiming lights integrated in front bumper
  • Interior LED lightstrips cover full length of ceiling left and right
  • Standard back-up camera with in-dash display
  • 56 Van Hool Bodyline reclining passenger seats offer straighter back cushions and headrests, plus 2 up-folding armrests (fixed on wall  side) and 3-point seat belts FMVSS 210 compliant

NEWLY OFFERED STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES -  

  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Static Aiming Lights
  • Kidde Fire Suppression System
  • Back-up Camera
  • 3-point Seat Belts FMVSS 210
  • Van Hool CX 45' Coach Highlights

The new CX45 offers a significant style upgrade and includes a wide range of expanded passenger and driver-friendly features for tours, charters and commuter operators including:

  • Updated front and rear bumpers featuring integrated light clusters at headlight and taillight positions, and added  daytime running lights
  • LED luggage compartment lighting
  • Detroit Diesel DD13 (EPA2013) engine
  • Goodyear Marathon LHS II 315/80 R22.5 + HL tires
  • Eberspacher Hydronic L30 Auxiliary heater
  • Upgraded Driver  Seat - ISRI 6800/348 (US, self-leveling/adjustable air suspension, plus adjustable arm and headrest, 3-point automatic seat belt)
  • 56 seats/Van Hool Bodyline reclining passenger seats w/straighter back cushion and headrest, spring-loaded footrests, 2  up-folding armrests (fixed at wall side) and 3-point seat belts FMVSS 210 compliant

NEWLY OFFERED STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES u2013

  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Static Aiming Lights
  • Kidde Fire Suppression
  • Back-up Camera
  • 3-Point Seat Belts FMVSS 210

With plans to make demo models available for inspection in late Q4 2013, operators can preview equipment specs, safety features and more at abc-companies.com or VHsneakpeek.com.

Contact your nearby ABC location for details on demos, inspections and test drive availability. 

ARROW STAGE LINES ADDS 2 2014 T2145's TO FLEET

October 13, 2013

Luke Busskohl, newly appointed COO of Omaha, Nebraska, based Arrow Stage Lines recently said, "These highly-spec'd Van Hool T2145's are just what our Tour Clients want. We choose ABC Companies and Van Hool because they can offer us more amenities than other manufacturers which provides our customers with a great Tour Coach."

Now 85 years old, and led by the 4th generation of the Busskohl family, Arrow Stage Lines (www.arrowstagelines.com) has evolved into one of the nation's largest, most diverse and greenest privately owned motorcoach operations. Based in Norfolk NE, with 11 locations stretching from the Midwest through the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest, Arrow operates 168 coaches in services including extensive scheduled routes, charters, tours, military movements and convention support.

Busskohl also points out, "Weu2019ve had a long, successful relationship with ABC Companies and our Account Manager, Don Jensen, and are very satisfied with the support they provide throughout our operation."

Jensen says, "We love working with Arrow. They're focused on all the important aspects of the motorcoach business. You can see from the way they equip their coaches that they commit heavily to the latest in technology. We're proud to work with such an outstanding operator."

The two 2014 T2145's are equipped with Allison Transmissions, Saucon GPS and WiFi technology, Rudd Autochains, DriveCam and woodgrain flooring.  In addition, the 57 passenger coaches feature Grand Luxe Leather seats with 3 point seat belts, Kidde Fire Suppression systems, Lane Departure Warning Devices, Tire Monitoring Systems, and High Definition Elite Entertainment Systems, with 110 volt outlets, as well as Laptop Display - an innovative new option that allows Tour Guides or Group Leaders to display computer presentations on the coaches monitors. 

AFC TRANSPORTATION ADDS 5 NEW C2045's TO FLEET

July 2, 2013

"My family owned a 5 Star restaurant, and working there as a kid I learned a lot about service. As we've built AFC Transportation, I've put that knowledge to work. A critical part of great service is personal attention - treating each customer as an individual. We try to offer transportation services at the same level of quality as that first rate restaurant," says President John Ferrari.

Ferrari wanted to start with a single limousine in 1992 in an effort to make his customers' restaurant experience seamless, but business took off. He ended up with 10 after the first year, with 18 more added in 1993. In 1994 he ventured into mini-buses and by 1999 was also operating school buses and motorcoaches.

Houston, TX, based AFC (www.afchouston.com) has grown to more than 185 units operating in 3 divisions - Limousine, Charter and Transit.  While offering charters to 48 states, their specialty is offering chauffeured luxury service in the Houston area. In addition AFC serves a number of local corporations with both transportation and shuttles. Every motorcoach operator is a trained, uniformed chauffeur.

"We continuously evaluate our fleet, adjusting the number and specifications of vehicles in each division to reflect what our customers want," Ferrari points out.  "The five new 2013 Van Hool C2045's we just purchased reflect growth in our motorcoach operation. We're up to 18 late model luxury coaches because our clientele is asking for them. We decided to add excitement by painting them all different colors, sort of a rainbow effect. It's a visual statement that we provide our customers with the latest in coach luxury amenities and safety technology."

The 57 passenger coaches are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500G4 transmissions and are equipped with ITERIS Lane Departure Warning Systems, Electronic Stability Control and 3 point seatbelts. Passenger amenities include 110 volt outlets, sunshades, WiFi, PC Laptop Interface Display, Van Hool's unique rear passenger window, leather seating inserts, Alcoa Dura Bright Wheels, and REI Elite Entertainment Systems. 

Greg Gates, Senior Account Manager for ABC, Van Hool's exclusive North American distributor, said, "Although a large part of AFC's business are corporate clients, the Ferrari's still operate with the 'family owned' mentality where customer service is first. They've done a great job of placing key personnel in their organization to handle the steady growth. With their diverse fleet, from sedans to motorcoaches, they cover the whole range of passenger transportation. All of us at ABC are proud to be part of their success."  Ferrari says that when he decided to enter the motorcoach business Gates was the first person he spoke to. "Every time we've needed help or advice Greg was quick to respond. He started out as a valuable resource and has evolved into a friend. Greg and ABC have always been there when we needed them." 

ABC COMPANIES APPOINTS DIRECT OF CUSTOMERCARE

July 2, 2013

ABC's CustomerCare group, which functions as the main access point for all new coach equipment and related issues, is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Anstead as the Director of CustomerCare. 

As Director, Mr. Anstead will be responsible for the day to day activities and overall management of the warranty programs and both the internal and external technical field support teams in CustomerCare.

Ashley Cornell, Vice President of CustomerCare, will continue to direct the CustomerCare Group and manage all vendor alliances, engineering, technical and product development services.

Michael brings over 30 years of customer care experience in field support service, call center environments, warranty, training, and publication fields within the coach industry to ABC Companies.  "Our CustomerCare after sale support team plays a critical part in retaining customer loyalty.  With his experience and expertise in this field, Michael will definitely be a key component in our relationships with our customers," remarked Ashley Cornell. 



TORNADO BUS COMPANIES TAKES DELIVERY OF FIVE VAN HOOL TD925 DOUBLE DECK COACHES

June 13, 2013

"The key to our growth has always been quality customer service," says Juan Vazquez, President of Dallas, Texas, based Tornado Bus Company. "Our customers work hard for their money and it is a sign of our respect for them that we try to offer the best possible value in transportation."

Founded by Vicente and Juan Vazquez in 1986 (www.tornadobus.com) with a single van, Tornado has grown to 70 coaches. Operating out of terminals in 9 states they now offer scheduled service throughout the central and southern US. They provide international connections with other transportation companies such as Zima Real, Estrella Blanca, and Autobuses de Oriente.

"Tornado Bus Company started with van transportation in Houston, TX, back in 1986.  My brother, Vicente, and I began by providing two trips a week and as it continued to grow, our plans and ideas began to change. In 1993 we bought our first coach."

They recently opened an 8.5 acre facility, minutes from downtown Dallas. The new headquarters includes more than 3800 square feet dedicated to the convenience and comfort of passengers. "The waiting area is set up with five 55" TV's for our customers' entertainment and four 55" monitors showing arrival and departure times. We provide over 400 parking spaces and 5 handicap parking zones. Attached to the terminal we have another facility which is occupied by our Maintenance and Operations Departments," Juan points out. "We're proud of the fact that our entire fleet meets modern EPA standards and every coach is ADA equipped. We accomplished those things before they were required."

Tornado recently took delivery of 5 Van Hool TD925 81 passenger double deck coaches. The coaches are powered by Cummins ISX engines coupled to Allison B500R transmissions. The coaches are all ADA compliant and have luxury entertainment systems.  Alfredo Ramos, CFO, says that the TD925 fits Tornado's corporate philosophy perfectly. "These beautiful coaches offer passengers a great travel experience, and the fact that they transport 81 passengers comfortably in a single bus, allows us to offer our customers real value."

On April 25, Tornado hosted an Open House for their employees to introduce the new coaches. ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive US Distributor had a number of people in attendance.  ABC's Senior Account Manager Bob Holloway said, "All of us at ABC are proud to be part of Tornado's growth. Juan Vazquez is really creative, and brings an exciting vision to the bus industry. He is devoted to his employees and his customers, and it shows in the way the business has grown. It is both fun and exciting for ABC to serve Tornado." 

ABC COMPANIES ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS

June 12, 2013

ABC Companies is pleased to announce the promotion of Tim Wayland to President and Chief Commercial Officer of ABC Companies. 

In his new position, Mr. Wayland will work closely with the ABC Board of Directors and ABC Senior Executive Team to insure business objectives for growth, profitability and organizational development are met.  As President, Mr. Wayland will be responsible for the day to day operations of the company and will continue to direct the development of corporate-wide sales plans, policies, and forecasts to meet targeted objectives in all facets of ABC sales activities.

Mr. Wayland joined the company in 1994 as President of ABC Financial Services and was named Chief Financial Officer in 2008.  He was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer in October 2011 and will continue to hold a seat on ABC Companies' Board of Directors.

Dane Cornell will continue as CEO and has been appointed as Chairman of the Board.  ABC Companies founder, Clarence "Clancy" Cornell has been appointed as Chairman Emeritus and will remain as an advisor on ABC's Board of Directors.

"Tim Wayland has become an icon in our industry and his broad financial background and knowledge of our markets have been an important part of ABC's success story.  We are continuing to grow our company and Tim will play a strategic role in our long term direction for ABC Companies," stated Dane Cornell. 

SWEETOURS ADDS VAN HOOLS TO FLEET

May 29, 2013

"Customer service is the most important thing in my life," says Nan Yuan, President of Las Vegas based Sweetours (www.sweetours.com).  "It may sound clichu00e9d, but at the end of the day, when a customer looks me in the eye, and thanks me, thatu2019s what makes business worthwhile. I am very grateful that a growing business has come along with that satisfaction."

An outdoor enthusiast and avid photographer, he was serving a Frito-Lay delivery route full time in 2000, when he bought a used 15 passenger van. Yuan figured that he enjoyed traveling to the Grand Canyon and others might too.  Apparently, he was right, because Sweetours has grown to 21 vehicles, including 12 full sized motorcoaches. In addition to providing tours to the Grand Canyon, they now offer trips to Hoover Dam, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, as well as extensive charter service.

The latest additions to the fleet are two 2013 57-passenger Van Hool C2045L's - one equipped with a wheelchair lift and the other "lift ready" if there is additional demand. Both coaches are powered by Detroit DD13 engines driving through Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions. Sweetours invested in safety technology, including backup cameras, Electronic Stability Control, Iteris Lane Departure Warning System and 3 point seat belts. Each coach has an REI luxury entertainment system and Alcoa Dura Bright wheels.

Jeff Backer, Senior Account Manager for ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive US distributor, pointed out, "It is amazing what Mr. Yuan has accomplished in 12 years. Ht's only been operating full sized motorcoaches since 2007, and yet he serves customers from Europe, Asia and Australia - literally all over the world.  ABC is proud to be part of his success."  For his part, Yuan says, "Sweetours tries to treat each of our customers as valued individuals. We look for suppliers to treat us the same way. ABC has been great at this, every time I call, or visit, their entire staff treats me like a friend. We've had good luck with other types of coaches too, but what makes the ABC experience special, and the reason we keep buying Van Hool's, is the personal touch."

ROBERT WILSON JOINS ABC PARTS SALES FORCE

May 8, 2013

ABC Companies has announced the appointment of Robert "Robbie" Wilson to Parts Territory Manager for Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

Robert comes to ABC Companies with more than 30 years of experience in the motorcoach industry. He started his career as the owner and operator of Family Motorcoach Tours & Charters in Knoxville, TN. In 1993, he began working at MCI as a Field Service Representative for the eastern territories and was later promoted to Southeast Pre-Owned Sales Manager working out of Dallas, Texas. Most recently, Robert managed MCI's Southeast Regional Territory as the Technical Solutions Manager.

"Robertu2019s extensive experience in our industry and focus on customer service will serve him well in his new role within the ABC Parts Sales team," stated Hugh McElvaney, Director of Parts Sales for ABC Companies. "We are excited to have him on board and believe he will be a tremendous asset to our customers."



WINDSTAR LINES ADDS 2013 VAN HOOL T2145 TO FLEET OF LUXURY COACHES 4/8/13

April 8, 2013

"One of the great things about Windstar is the family aspect. I get to work with my family in running the business and we try to treat our customers like family," says Jeff Greteman, President of Carroll, Iowa, based Windstar Lines. "In 1995 my parents, Mike and Cathy Greteman, were running a little tour company and decided to buy their own coach in an effort to ensure the quality of transportation they offered clients."

"My younger brothers, Scott and Pat, both started working at Windstar when they were 21. We love working together and we're even closer than when we were growing up." Since 1995, with seemingly the whole family involved, the company has grown dramatically. With additional locations in Cedar Rapids; Dubuque; Des Moines; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Rochelle, Illinois; Windstar (www.gowindstar.com) has now grown to 57 coaches, offering luxury tours, convention planning and charter service in Iowa and Illinois as well as Omaha and portions of Nebraska.

Windstar recently took delivery of a 2013 Van Hool T2145 powered by a Cummins ISX engine and B500 Allison. The coach features Alcoa Durabright wheels, chrome mirrors, and an ASA back up camera. Like the rest of Windstar's fleet of luxury coaches, it has a multi-monitor DVD system, Hi-Fi Audio and CD Player, and a full fabric interior.

Pete Bachrach, Senior Account Manager for ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive US distributor, points out, "Maybe it's the Midwestern culture, but the Greteman's treat everyone as if they were part of the family including customers, suppliers and employees. We've had a friendly partnership for 17 years now, and all of us at ABC are delighted to have been allowed to contribute to their success. Windstar has the special ability to grow without sacrificing quality and to integrate technology without losing the personal touch."

According to Jeff Greteman, "Windstar buys Van Hool's for many reasons - reliability, durability, total cost of ownership, and service before and after the sale. We've been working with Pete Bachrach in Minnesota for over 10 years and have grown to depend on him. We really couldn't ask for a better partner than Pete and the entire staff at ABC."

INDIAN TRAILS TAKES DELIVERY OF FOUR M1235's

April 2, 2013

Indian Trails of Owosso, MI, began as an innovative company and has continued that tradition for more than 100 years. Cora and Wayne Taylor started the company in 1910 to move passengers and freight from the train depot to points in Shiawassee County. While Wayne was serving in combat in WWI Europe, a combination of foresight and necessity caused Cora to become one of the nation's first women to drive commercial vehicles, as she managed the venture. In the early years, the Taylor's designed and built some of their own coach bodies. Now a member of Michigan Department of Transportation's Hall of Honor, Cora was a student of Michigan's history. She honored local Native American tradition by naming the buses after Ottawa, Potawatomie or Chippewa chiefs, a practice that continues to this day.

President Gordon Mackay represents the third generation of continuous family ownership, and Indian Trails now operates 68 coaches from three facilities in Owosso, Kalamazoo, and Detroit. Over 800,000 passengers annually ride their charters and daily service between Bay City and Chicago, as well the routes between Grand Rapids and St. Ignace, Bay City-St. Ignace, Lansing-St. Ignace and all of the Upper Peninsula. In 2006, in partnership with Okemos Skybird Travel, Michigan Flyer airport service serving the East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metropolitan Airports was started and has experienced steady growth.

Indian Trails' management evaluated their passenger's needs and came to the conclusion that smaller capacity vehicles were ideal for segments of their business, and they recently took delivery of 4 new M1235's u2013 exclusively manufactured for ABC Companies by General Coach America. "We have purchased the M series mid-size coaches since 2003 (12 in total counting this recent purchase). We've come to rely on their quality and dependability. We believe they represent the best value of all mid-size coaches on the market," says Indian Trails Vice President-Business Chad Cushman. "The personnel at ABC Companies including Pete Bachrach, Louis Hotard and Brenda Borwege provide us the technical expertise and high service levels we expect from our equipment suppliers."

The 30-passenger 2013 M1235's are equipped with the Cummins ISB engine and Allison 2100 PTS transmission, and have rear luggage compartments. They have 110 volt outlets at each seat, Saucon GPS tracking units, and aluminum wheels. Indian Trails specified a uniquely colorful and luxurious interior.

ABC's Senior Account Manager, Pete Bachrach indicated, "We (the ABC team) have established a very healthy relationship with Indian Trails' management. Gordon Mackay, Ken Henry, Chad Cushman and Bob Erickson have been excellent to work with over the past years. They run a highly reputable company and demand quality service from their suppliers. All of us at ABC are proud to work with them."

TREMBLAY'S INVESTS IN 6 VAN HOOL C2045S AS IT MARKS 45 YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY

February 8, 2013

This purchase of six new Van Hool VIP coaches is one way of giving back to our customers," Leo Tremblay, President of New Bedford, MA, based Tremblay's Bus Company (tbcbus.com) pointed out. "It's a perfect way to cap off our 45th year in business and our way of letting our passengers know how much we value them."

Founded in 1967 by Leo and the late Claire Tremblay with a single station wagon, Tremblay's began as an effort to serve factory workers in Southeastern Massachusetts. They now operate a modern fleet of 250 school buses, 100 vans and 16 motorcoaches. The Motorcoach Division transports passengers to destinations throughout the US and Canada.

"Giving back" has been a Tremblay hallmark for 45 years and not just to their customers. Throughout the region, they're noted for generosity to veterans, police, fire, and youth groups and for donating services to a wide variety of worthy causes.

"This is about making sure our passengers have the ultimate travel experience. We want to establish the 'gold standard' for coach transportation," said Tremblay's Vice President Luke Tetreault. "Our 'roadmap to the future' involves superior service and a modern fleet of the finest coaches we can buy. We feel that these new Van Hool's are just what we need and we've had a long, happy, experience with ABC's after-sale service."

The six C2045 VIP coaches are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions and feature custom-tufted passenger seats, enclosed Microleather covered parcel racks, woodgrain flooring, Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels, 110 volt outlets, and REI's deluxe entertainment system. The 57-passenger seats are equipped with 3 point seat belts and the coaches have backup cameras and Van Hool's unique rear passenger window.

Janos Bokor, ABC Account Manager pointed out, "At a time when coach companies may be holding back, the Tremblay's are investing to ensure that they offer safe and luxurious transportation in the region. They've been loyal to ABC and Van Hool for more than 20 years, and we take great pride in being part of their success. They're not just great customers; they are a great family, and a tremendous asset to their community."

HARRISON GLOBAL EXPANDS FLEET WITH 2 VAN HOOL C2045s AND 2 GCA M1235s

February 8, 2013

Harrison Global, a Waltham, MA, based corporate travel specialist (www.smartertransportation.com) has recently acquired four motorcoaches for their Cary, North Carolina, location. Brett Tyson, their Director of Organizational Development, points out that the company, started by brothers David and Derek Marcou in 1986, has been experiencing growth at all of their locations. Currently they operate out of five facilities centered around Boston, Washington, DC, and North Carolina's Research Triangle. "We specialize in providing upscale chauffeured transportation to corporate, hotel and college clientele. That business has been steadily growing. Our owners, David and Derek Marcou, have always envisioned adding motorcoaches to Harrison Global's offerings," said Tyson.

"Brad Jackson, who manages our Cary, North Carolina, division, has substantial charter experience, and when we added coaches to his fleet in 2010, business accelerated. We're buying four additional coaches for the Cary fleet and expect to be operating motorcoaches out of our other locations in the near future."

The recent acquisition consisted of two Van Hool C2045's and 2 of ABC's M1235 mid-sized coaches. The 57-seat 2013 Van Hool's are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions. They have Van Hool Grand Luxe leather covered seats with 3 point seatbelts, perimeter lighting and a luxury REI Elite entertainment system with 15.4"  video monitors. In addition they're equipped with Alcoa Dura Bright wheels, ASA Wi-Fi, 110 volt outlets, satellite TV, woodgrain flooring, and Van Hool's unique rear passenger window. The M1235's carry 27 passengers and are configured with a rear luggage compartment and lavatory. They, too, have an REI deluxe entertainment system, and 3 point seat belts.

ABC Account Manager, Ryhan Cornell, said, "It's great working with a company like this who is growing during tough economic times. They manage to provide consistently superior service, and yet each division maintains the unique flavor of the market it is serving. We're excited to be part of their growth."

Brad Jackson, the person managing the growth of the North Carolina branch commented, "We like dealing with ABC, and Ryhan in particular, because she and ABC have a history of taking care of customer's needs. We like the coaches, but more importantly, the relationship we've built makes us certain the service will be there when we need it. That's critical in today's uncertain world."

ABC CUSTOMERCARE INTRODUCES NEW FACETIME/SKYPE SERVICE

January 22, 2013

Operators now have the option to connect with ABC CustomerCare during business hours using video conferencing services Skype and/or FaceTime. The new service will enable operators to share a real-time video connection to CustomerCare technical support team members at ABC's Winter Garden, Florida location.

This new service enhances communication between operators and ABC support technicians by offering a convenient and easy visual connection to aid in diagnosing potential issues, troubleshooting, resolving maintenance concerns and more.

"ABC is committed to leveraging the latest tools and technologies to help operators reduce overall operational costs," states Dane Cornell, President and CEO, ABC Companies. "These applications are simply the next logical step in providing on-demand support to our customers."

Video calls to ABC CustomerCare can be placed using FaceTime or Skype during business hours (Monday u2013 Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern). To make a call using FaceTime, individuals will need one of the following Apple products and internet or WiFi access:

  • iPhone 4 or later
  • iPad 2 or later
  • iPod touch (4th generation) or later
  • Mac with Mac OS X v10.6.6 or later

To place a call using Skype, one simply needs a device with internet or WiFi access. If you have not previously used Skype, you will need to sign up for a Skype account.

Stop by ABC Booth #471 at the UMA Expo 2013 for more information on this new service including step-by-step instructions for user access. Step-by-step instructions are also available by contacting your ABC account representative or ABC CustomerCare. 

ABC COMMEMORATES 8000TH US VAN HOOL DELIVERY TO VANDALIA BUS LINES

January 22, 2013

ABC Companies will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their partnership with Van Hool, one of Europe's premier coach manufacturers, at a special event at UMA Expo 2013. At the same time, they will commemorate the sale of the 8000th Van Hool coach built for North America to Vandalia Bus Lines of Caseyville, Illinois, a 2013 Van Hool C2045.

ABC Account Manager, Aaron Babcock, pointed out, "Itu2019s really fitting that Vandalia is getting this coach. The Streif family has been providing their neighbors with quality transportation for 80 years. Both ABC and Van Hool are also family-owned and each has a tradition of offering quality products and service that stretches back more than 60 years."

"Vandalia purchased one of the first 45' Van Hools in the US market and are now going to operate the 8000th Van Hool unit to come to North America. We appreciate their loyalty and are proud to be part of their success," shared Dane Cornell, ABC Companies President & CEO.

Vandalia Bus Lines, Inc. began its service in 1932 and was purchased by Leon and Judy Streif in 1975. Since then, the company has remained in the Streif family as they have grown it to a fleet of more than sixty vehicles.

The 8000th Van Hool the Streif's recently purchased is a 2013 C2045 equipped with a Detroit DD13 engine, Allison B500G4 transmission, a luxury entertainment system with 15" flat screen TV's, 3-point seatbelts, Iteris Lane Departure Warning System, and Electronic Stability Control.

In regards to the purchase decision, Dale commented, "We like the fact that the Van Hool C2045 and the T2145 are so similar beneath the skin. The C model charter coach shares many parts and operating systems with the high-end luxury T model touring coach. This simplifies driver training and maintenance."

Vandalia Bus Lines is now the hub of a group of transportation operations in the St. Louis area owned by the Streif's. Second generation Dale, Dennis, Melissa, Roger and Lori handle day-to-day operations, while mother Judy remains involved in other duties. Active in IMG and NTA, they are Founding Members of the Motorcoach Council. Vandalia operates 67 vehicles, of which 52 are motorcoaches. Every 3 axle bus in their fleet is a Van Hool.

Dennis Streif said, "It means a lot to us that both ABC and Van Hool are family owned like our company. We take a lot of personal pride in how we serve our clientele, and ABC and Van Hool run their businesses in the same way. They provide top quality coaches and service. This helps us do a first rate job for our customers. It's been a partnership in every sense of the word, and all three family businesses have prospered as a result." 

ABC REFURBISHMENT PROGRAM GAINS MAJOR MOMENTUM GOING INTO 2013

January 22, 2013

ABC's popular Coach Refurbishment Program is riding a wave of success going into the New Year. Guided by the economy and market demands for affordable fleet solutions, ABC continues to build more flexibility and options into the successful program. What began as a Greyhound revitalization project (ABC delivered the 500th refurbished coach in December 2012), has morphed into a market-wide initiative available to operators seeking affordable alternatives to OEM equipment purchases. Program offerings can accommodate a wide variety of operator needs and requirements including full or partial equipment overalls, individual one-off upgrade services, or selections from ABC's exclusive pre-owned R-certified and revitalized equipment inventory. Following is an overview of program options.

OPTION 1

Van Hool R-Certified and Revitalized Pre-Owned Inventory Featuring an exclusive inventory of R-designated units to meet customer needs nationwide, the completed Van Hool C2045R units integrate an expansive list of upgrades and work procedures that ensure ABC's exclusive R-designation. Only a select number of 2001 and newer C2045 coaches are chosen for R certification. Additionally, a select inventory of revitalized Van Hool T2140 models are offered with a wide variety of interior and exterior upgrades. Demo units of both models will available at UMA Expo 2013 for inspection.

OPTION 2

Partial and Total Refresh Option

Offering a comprehensive array of options, operators can choose to undergo a major refurbishment covering virtually all components including engine and drive train, or simply modernize with selected components like WiFi, 110 volt power outlets, or upgraded exteriors to refresh fleet equipment.

OPTION 3

Repower Programs & Individualized Upgrade Services including:

CAT ENGINE Repower Program:

Available for engine replacement on the Van Hool C2045 models, the repower program replaces CAT engines with a factory remanufactured Reliabilt DDA S60 EGR engine.

NEW:   Engine repowers now available for Van Hool C2045 '07 models and MCI J-coach '04 models. Repowers for MCI J-coach '07 models coming soon.

ZF AS-Tonic conversions to Allison B500 transmissions are also available.

OPTION 4

Repower Programs & Individualized Upgrade Services including:

Popular Upgrade Services

Front/rear cap upgrades

Available for Van Hool C and T coach models

Recently added upgrade service for Prevost H3-45 units (unit on display at UMA)

Wheelchair lift retrofits

3-point seatbelt retrofits

For more information about all ABC Refurbishment Programs, options and customizable services, contact ABC Companies, or visit us at Booth #471 at UMA Expo 2013. 

ABC COMPANIES RENEWS COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER @ UMA EXPO 2013 WITH MISSION 2013 CAMPAIGN 

January 22, 2013

ABC puts a stake in the ground for 2013, kicking off their new Mission 2013 initiative at UMA Expo 2013.

MISSION 2013 is built around a commitment and business strategy that will guide ABC product and service offerings in the upcoming year. The two key objectives driving the initiative are:

Supporting operators' total coach lifecycle investments through programs that help reduce the cost of ownership.

Increasing customer satisfaction by creating greater value and elevating the total customer experience.

Recently-completed research findings, which ABC will unveil at UMA Expo 2013, were directly prompted by operator claims relative to tracking expenses for parts and labor on Van Hool coaches in their fleets.

The third-party independent research, conducted by Fleet Technologies Inc., revealed a significant difference in the average maintenance cost per mile between Van Hool and comparable coach models. Overall, the average maintenance cost for Van Hool, was 10 cents less per mile versus comparable coach models.

ABC fleet maintenance specialists will be on-hand at ABC Booth #471 to discuss the research findings and demonstrate how operators might take advantage of similar savings opportunities in their own fleets.

Additionally, upcoming support programs that will be unveiled around ABC's MISSION 2013 include:

  • NEW Video Call Support: FaceTime and Skype support for operators during business hours.

Scheduled 2013 Education and Training Resources including:

  • Training Workshops, Grab 'n Go webinar series, Tech Tips, Driver's Guides, Online Van Hool Manuals

NEW Mobile Resources for Drivers: QR code window clings installed in all new vehicles providing link to driver resources including:

  • Interactive Driver's Guides for Van Hool C, T, & TD models
  • Wheelchair lift instruction videos
  • Engine regeneration instruction video

Detroit Virtual Technician:  This feature is now standard in all 2013 Van Hool models with Detroit engines. When a check engine light is displayed on the dash, the system sends alerts to designated operations personnel and the Detroit Customer Support Center for added on- the-road support. A Grab 'n Go Webcast with additional information regarding this service is now available at www.abc-companies.com.

For demos, information and more, please stop by the ABC Booth #471 at UMA Expo 2013. 

ABC COMPANIES AND VAN HOOL CELEBRATE 24 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP 

January 22, 2013

The year 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the longstanding ABC Companies and Van Hool partnership. Having signed their very first distributorship agreement in the late '80s, ABC Companies took delivery of the Van Hool T815 motorcoach and started a new revolution in European technology designed for American operators.

Since then, both companies have worked at a relationship that has endured through several generations for both families and a number of important milestones for the coach industry. Following is a brief history highlighting some major accomplishments that the successful partnership has earned together over the past 25 years.



  • 1987 A new partnership is formed between ABC and Van Hool of Belgium. ABC takes delivery of first Van Hool motorcoach - the T815
  • 1989 The first Americanized coach T840 is introduced in the U.S. market
  • 1996 The Van Hool T2140 and T2145 are unveiled by ABC and Van Hool at the Orlando Convention Hall
  • 2000 C2000 motorcoach is unveiled in the U.S. featuring centralized systems, advanced engineering and safety components, and unparalleled features to boost performance and reliability while reducing motorcoach maintenance and downtime
  • 2002 Van Hool A330 - Shape of the Future transit buses are unveiled at APTA Expo in partnership with Van Hool and AC Transit
  • 2002  Van Hool A330 is named International Bus of the Year at FIAA Trade Exhibition in Madrid
  • 2003 Van Hool models A330 and AG300 are placed into service with AC Transit garnering rave reviews from passengers
  • 2004 The next generation versions of the T2100 and C2000 are released featuring key improvements designed to integrate the latest in motorcoach technology.
  • 2004 Van Hool and ABC add the ZF AS Tronic 12 speed transmission and integrated driveline ZF intarder as a standard feature on the C2045 and T2145 models for the U.S. market
  • 2005 Van Hool, AC Transit, and ABC Companies introduce the industry standard setting 30' Van Hool A300K to 16,000 transit industry professionals in Dallas, TX
  • 2005 The hybrid-electric hydrogen fuel cell bus is unveiled at APTA Expo
  • 2006 Enhanced 2007 model C2045E is unveiled at ABC locations
  • 2007 - 2008 Van Hool TD925 double deck intercity touring coach makes its U.S. debut offering a high-capacity commuting product to American operators.
  • 2008 ABC Companies and Van Hool introduce the restyled, revamped Van Hool T2145 luxury touring coach
  • 2009 ABC opens expanded state of the art location in Costa Mesa, CA. - Van Hool awarded the 2009 Bus Builder of the Year Award at the Kortrijk Busworld Show.
  • 2010 ABC celebrates 60th Anniversary and commemorates the 7000th Van Hool delivery in North America
  • 2011 New-look Van Hool C2045 featured by ABC Companies at UMA Expo 2011
  • 2012 Van Hool announces plans to expand production capacity to better serve American market
  • In 2013, ABC and Van Hool reached another milestone with the delivery of the 8,000th Van Hool in North America. The 8,000th Van Hool was a 2013 Van Hool C2045 purchased by Vandalia Bus Lines of Caseyville, Illinois.

UMA Expo attendees are welcome to stop by ABC Booth #471 as we celebrate our shared milestone. ABC and Van Hool management and staff will be on hand to answer questions, provide information and share insights and memories about the industry and both firms over the decades. 

FILIP VAN HOOL APPOINTED CEO AT VAN HOOL

January 7, 2013

Koningshooikt  The Board of Directors of Van Hool nv, an independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, has appointed Filip Van Hool as the companyu2019s Chief Executive Officer. As such he will bear operational responsibility for the overall activities of Van Hool. Filip Van Hool will remain a member of the Board of Directors.

"I would like to thank the Board of Directors and the family for the confidence they have placed in me," says Filip Van Hool. "These are exceptionally exciting times for our company currently operating in market conditions that are not always easy. But I can see opportunities for Van Hool in both areas in which we are active: on the one hand, on the bus and coach market and, on the other hand, for industrial vehicles. Together with the management-team, I shall continue to ensure that the company's and the brandu2019s values are upheld and reinforced: the high quality of our products, the customer focus and the further extension of the service provided to our customers remain our main objectives."

Filip Van Hool (1964) is the grandson of founder Bernard Van Hool and joined the company in 1989. He obtained degrees in Applied Economic Sciences and Business Engineering at Antwerp University and EHSAL Management School respectively. He is a member of the Executive-team since 1999 and was until now in charge of the overall operations of the Bus&Car division. Since 2007, Filip Van Hool is a member of the Board of Directors of Van Hool nv and ABC Companies USA, Van Hool's exclusive distributor in the United States of America.

Van Hool is a Belgian independent bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer. The company, established in 1947, is based in Koningshooikt (Belgium). The vast majority of the vehicles produced are destined for Europe and America.

Van Hool employs more than 4,000 people worldwide, most of whom work at the manufacturing plants in Koningshooikt and Bree. 

ABC COMPANIES NAMES NEW VICE PRESIDENT OF SERVICE OPERATIONS

January 4, 2013

Industry veteran, David Beagle, has been named the Vice President of Service Operations for ABC Companies.

David Beagle began his career in the transportation industry in 1978 with Holland America Line of Seattle, WA. During his tenure with Holland America, Beagle held several positions including Director of Operations and General Manager - Gray Line of Seattle. From 2000 to 2009, David served as the Vice President - Transportation Division, responsible for Holland Americau2019s diversified service of motorcoaches, rail cars, US Coast Guard certified vessels, and ground service operations from Florida to Alaska.

In 2009, Beagle founded Beagle Consulting, offering consulting services to motorcoach operators, motorcoach manufacturers, and passenger rail tour operators. Within his consulting role, David was instrumental in the planning and development of ABC Companies' state of the art service facility in Redwood City, CA.

As Vice President of Service Operations for ABC Companies, Beagle will set the overall direction for ABC's nationwide network of service facilities to ensure customers' needs are met. Beagle is also responsible for expanding ABC's service offerings for operators. "I am excited for the opportunity to leverage my experience from the operator side of the industry to continue to grow and strengthen ABC's service operations, and Iu2019m enthused by the entrepreneurial, can do spirit which is evident throughout ABC," stated Beagle.

"As a company we are committed to providing the highest possible level of service excellence to our customers. David's extensive experience in our industry and knowledge of our customers' operations will help provide solutions that meet or exceed their needs," stated Dane Cornell, President and CEO of ABC Companies.

Mr. Beagle obtained a B.A. degree from Seattle Pacific University and received his MBA from the University of Washington. 

About ABC-Companies

ABC is the exclusive North American distributor of prestigious Van Hool motorcoaches. ABC also offers the largest selection of pre-owned bus and motorcoach inventory in the country.

With convenient service locations throughout the United States and Canada, ABC is there when and where you need us to keep your coach or bus working properly. We have parts for all makes and model motorcoaches and transit buses including Van Hool, Prevost, MCI, Temsa, Gillig, New Flyer, Novabus, Nabi, Goshen, Ameritrans, Blubird, etc. We offer fleet assist programs to keep your fleet running optimally while providing you with the convenience of a managed maintenance system. Our solution uses a proven fleet management software program to help you organize preventative maintenance activities based on your fleet composition, requirements and duty cycles.

We are at your service with 24-hour, 7 day per week customer care technical support.

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