Irizar UK lands its biggest-ever order
Irizar UK has landed the biggest order in its two-year history, with a further six coaches sold to high-profile operator Clarkes of London.
Clarkes’ 2013 fleet intake was entirely based on integral Irizar coaches, the Sydenham company ordering three i6 12.9-metre 57-seaters in 2012, following it with a further order for three. Now, Clarkes says it is has been so impressed by their performance, it has ordered a further six – the only coaches it will buy for the 2014 season.
Clarkes’ marketplace includes corporate travel, City commuters and high-end tour work, for which it says the DAF-powered, two-axle i6s are ideal, offering plenty of legroom without Clarkes having to buy tri-axle, chassis-based coaches. But it was the performance which landed Irizar UK another order.
“The six i6 integrals we bought for 2013 went far beyond our expectations,” said Clarkes MD, Debbie Newman. “Choosing a DAF engine with an integral was a new concept for us and it has proved advantageous; the vehicles have also been very well received by our high profile customers and driving force.
“We always make buying decisions based on the profitability of the company,” said Debbie. “We meticulously monitor market trends and clients’ needs before making our decision as well as cost effectiveness. It is not a process that is taken lightly and the feedback from clients has been extremely positive.”
The coaches have DAF Paccar’s 365bhp PR265 engines, ZF Ecolife fully-automatic gearboxes, Alcoa alloy wheels and the Irizar i6 standard WABCO ECAS EBS ABS-ASR handling package.
Inside, there is a two-screen DVD media system, CCTV, half leather seats and headrests and seatback tables. A Hispacold climate control system, dash-mounted fridge, hot drinks console and toilet are all installed.
“Importantly, Irizar UK has been exceptionally supportive since we took the first i6s in March this year. It does reassure us that a former high-profile coach operator is behind the product. Irizar UK’s Commercial Director Steve O’Neill understands that, when a new batch of vehicles such as these are ordered, there are almost always teething problems. We accept that extremely complex coaches may have some niggling issues, but thanks to Steve’s prompt action, we have had very little downtime.”
“Prior to making the order, we visited the factory in Northern Spain and witnessed first-hand the developments they have made in providing their customers with quality products, which will ultimately shape the future for the UK’s coach industry,” said Debbie. “Irizar has developed into a modern, quality-driven manufacturer, particularly with regard to UK customers. The attitude of everyone we have met is ‘What can we do for you?’ which is so refreshing.”
Steve O’Neill said the order reaffirms his faith in the i6 integral range and its sister i4 coaches: “When Ian Hall and I set up Irizar UK, one of the primary motivations was our belief in the product. UK operators set themselves very high standards, and those standards are met by Irizar coaches.
“We also knew from the start that our customers would demand uncompromising aftersales back-up, and in that area, we have worked very hard, and continue to focus a great deal of our attention. This latest order from Clarkes is affirmation that we are meeting high expectations.”
Irizar UK Sales Director Ian Hall added: “This year, we completed the sale of the 50th Irizar integral coach in the UK, and this additional order kicks off our 2014 order book in fine style. It’s especially pleasing that it is a repeat order with such a high-profile operator, and we hope puts us on track to supply between 40 and 50 new Irizar integrals to the UK market in the next 12 months.”