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May 27, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Large Bus Showcase 2010

Here, we spotlight three exemplary school bus dealerships. Read about their interesting histories, their commitment to the customer and their insights on the 2010 engine technology. Look for details on the latest Type C and D models in the June print issue.

by Thomas McMahon - Also by this author

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MVI Group won IC Bus’ Dealer of Year Award for 2009. Pictured here is the dealership’s Pataskala location team.

MVI Group won IC Bus’ Dealer of Year Award for 2009. Pictured here is the dealership’s Pataskala location team.

IC Bus

Dealer Spotlight: MVI Group

Columbus, Ohio

It’s not hard to see how MVI Group earned IC Bus’ 2009 North American Tom Cellitti Dealer of the Year Award. The dealership demonstrates its commitment to the customer in many ways.

Last year, MVI Group applied for stimulus funds for more than 112 buses for Ohio school districts that weren’t planning to apply. Some other districts took it upon themselves to apply, and the result was that the districts acquired 116 traditional diesel and seven hybrid IC Bus brand buses.

MVI Group has also strived to bolster tech education. Through the Ohio School Bus Mechanics Association, the dealership provides regional evening training sessions. Another opportunity, through IC Bus, is the IC Bus University program, a full week of training at the OEM’s Tulsa, Okla., plant.

Then there’s MVI University, which was introduced to Ohio bus techs this year with the same Web-based training provided to MVI’s own techs. And Bus ISIS from IC Bus, a free Web-based program, gives techs information on warranties, recall notices, chassis and suggested fixes based on field experiences across the country.

“We are not the first to provide training for the techs, but we have achieved a greater understanding in what to present and how to present the training,” says Dick Epp, MVI Group’s general manager of bus.
After realizing that it hadn’t demonstrated the value of Bus ISIS, the dealership began holding evening training sessions in high school computer classrooms.

“The attendance has been outstanding,” Epp says. “The techs that attend these training sessions are there because they care and not for the wages. They are up again at 4 a.m. to get the buses out safe and efficient for the kids.”

Going with EGR

IC Bus brand buses are using Advanced EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to meet the EPA’s 2010 emissions standards, while other school bus manufacturers are using SCR (selective catalytic reduction).

Epp says he sees clear advantages in IC Bus’ choice of engine technology.

“I know EGR meets the standards at zero degrees during a winter start,” Epp says. “I know the responsibility to meet that standard is the engine manufacturer’s responsibility, not the operators’ due to their responsibility to add an SCR fluid and service another system.”

Statewide coverage

MVI Group comprises three IC Bus dealerships across Ohio that are under the common ownership of Dealer Principal Tim Reilly. Miami Valley International is based in Cincinnati and Dayton. Center City International has two locations, in Columbus and Pataskala. Power City International has two locations, in Akron and Cleveland.

Epp’s responsibility is to integrate the six IC Bus locations, providing a common parts, service and sales experience.

“Our parts and service personnel are dedicated and trained to provide a relationship that goes beyond just selling parts or service,” Epp says. “They have a common purpose: having a safer bus.”

Another interesting facet of MVI Group is that it has never had an inside person to prepare bids. Each salesperson is responsible for preparing and delivering the bid.

“I was confident that if each salesman had a hand in the specification writing and solving the district’s problems with solutions, they would support the bid and take ownership in the process,” Epp says. “The wrong spec or a missing option makes the 10- to 20-plus year bus life seem even longer and more expensive.”

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