County Coach Inc. has changed its plans and will remain in the Prevost bus conversion business because it has signed a dealer agreement with Buddy Gregg Motorhomes and because it recruited an associate of its founder, Bob Lee, according to National RV Holdings Inc., parent of Country Coach.
Country Coach, based in Junction City, Ore., had planned to leave the bus conversion segment after depleting it inventory of Prevost bus shells, which it expected would occur in August.
However, the company changed its plans after reaching an accord with Buddy Gregg “to become the exclusive dealer of our bus conversions and to purchase all current inventory and future production through December 2003,” said Terry Muir, vice president of sales and marketing for Country Coach and National RV.
Other bus converters departing the highline motorcoach market also played a role in Country Coach’s decision, according to the company.
Buddy Gregg Motorhomes locations are in Knoxville, Tenn., and Lewisville, Tex., a suburb of Dallas.
Meanwhile, National RV, based in Perris, Calif., also hired industry veteran Tom Nestell effective Monday (July 1). “Tom has a long and well-respected history in the (bus) conversion market, beginning with his involvement with Bob Lee, founder and chairman emeritus of Country Coach, in the genesis of the original Country Coach bus conversions 20 years ago,” said Mike Jacque, executive vice president of operations for National RV. “Tom’s contributions to the industry give us confidence that he can provide both immediate and long-term benefits to our conversion efforts.”
In the past, Country Coach bus conversions included “sophisticated technology that wasn’t necessarily driven by consumer demand,” said Brad Albrechtsen, National RV’s chairman, president and CEO. “With some simplification, we expect to yield greater margins and efficiencies in field service.
“We are pleased to be able to maintain a foothold in this highline segment by finding a solution that not only eliminates the cost to exit the business, but provides us with an established and set outlet for our production,” Albrechtsen added.
Prevost bus shells are built by Canada’s Prevost Car Inc., which is co-owned by Swedish truck maker Volvo of British bus builder Henlys Group.