It was love at first sight, says Stewarts
Andy Cotton, Managing Director of Reading-based Stewarts Coaches, admits that his relationship with Irizar UK’s integral coaches was love at first sight.
“I can honestly say I bought the first one on its looks alone. We’re a forward-thinking transport group and our view of the world is slightly different to many coach operators’,” he says. The most important thing in our world is our brand, and that means have aesthetically-pleasing coaches which truly ‘wow’ the passengers and make our drivers feel even more special about working for our business.”
Andy spotted the new Irizar i6 at a show in 2011 and, even though he’d already contracted to buy two other products, he put his money down on the show vehicle straight away: “It was the first time I’d seen i6, and I loved it.”
Andy rated the entire buying experience highly, from visiting the factory in Spain through to signing the paperwork: “It gave me great confidence,” he says. “Everybody buys from people, and those I met in the UK and Spain were first class.
“What really impressed me was that, although the manufacturing at Irizar is on a huge scale, the product is still highly configurable and the factory is very flexible – and turned our coaches around a lot quicker than other manufacturers could have done.”
Andy says the aftersales support has developed rapidly: “From day one, nothing was too much trouble and Irizar UK dealt with everything. Since Jim Edwards has arrived, its’ been revolutionised, with even more impressive back-up,” he says. “All new coaches have niggling faults but our Irizars have been more complete, straight out of the box, as it were. We’ve had minimal downtime and all our warranty issues have been speedily resolved.”
Irizar UK’s Aftersales Manager, Jim Edwards, is currently involved in a training programme with DAF truck dealerships, which support the engine and driveline, and Andy Cotton agrees there’s still some room for improvement at the DAF end: “But they’re going through a learning curve at our local dealership and I’m sure they’ll soon be up to speed.”
- Stewarts Coaches now has eight i6 integrals bought from Irizar UK, with which it runs a range of private hire and corporate work, including all the team coaches for Premiership football club Reading FC. The first team travels on a 14.4 metre tri-axle i6, with 37 full leather seats, a powered Physio Table, extra tint applied to all passenger windows, LED mood lighting, Sky TV, Bose sound system, Playstation3 , rear lounge, a fully fitted galley with drinks machine, three ovens and fridges/ice maker. All tables have a 240V power socket, independent selectable monitors to the front four tables, computer connections, WiFi and iPod dock.