Forest River’s bus division is taking a big leap forward with the launch of a separate luxury shuttle bus division, Berkshire Coach, according to a report by the Elkhart Truth.
Featuring the luxury shuttle bus Berkshire Ultra, the line will be completely manufactured at the former Ameritrans Bus facility in Elkhart, Ind. The units will come packed with standard features like luxury seating, USB ports, wood-look composite flooring and touch-screen TV’s, that also include back-up cameras and GPS capabilities. The buses are designed to fill a void that Forest River dealers say existed in the current lineup of shuttle bus offerings from the company, including the Elkhart Coach and Starcraft brands.
David Wright, president of Berkshire Coach and Forest River’s bus division, said that Forest River was already the largest shuttle bus manufacturer in the country and that stepping into the luxury bus arena made real sense. They started producing the buses in November after nearly a year of collecting feedback from dealers.
“We had been hearing from dealers that customers had been asking about luxury shuttle buses,” he said. “We began to collect feedback from dealers around the country and we designed our luxury line from that feedback. So far everyone, dealers and the few customers who have seen the buses, have all been very pleased.”
The company made a substantial investment in the former Ameritrans Bus plant to prep it for manufacturing the Berkshire Ultra line, although Wright would not give a dollar amount. Right now the factory employees 35, but Wright said by the end of the year if everything goes well they hope to have 70-75 individuals employed at the facility.
Wright noted the unique thing about the Berkshire Ultra line is that all luxury items come standard – there is no need to pick-and-choose features. He also said the buses come with a five year, 100,000-mile warranty, a warranty that is “two times longer then Forest River’s nearest competitor.”
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