In the face of a falling rand and strengthening competition in a demanding sector, luxury coach brand, Irizar Southern Africa, are enjoying a purple patch, having achieved a stronger than expected order intake in the first half of 2015. And looking decidedly positive for the third quarter, they remain quietly optimistic.
Key to Irizar successes of the year so far has been what they call the Personal Touch.
Key to their successes of the year so far has been what they call the Personal Touch. With an emphasis on people and personal relationships, Irizar says they acknowledge that while all coaches fit into two or three broad categories, it is the fine details which set one coach service apart from another and make the passengers’ journey memorable.
“It is in providing these unique details that Irizar set their product and service offering apart from the norm,” says Sales Manager, Ryan Levendale. “A commitment to providing the right coach for an operation, target market or geographical region has resulted in an extensive product range – from a lavish and distinctive 36-seat offering to a colossal 81-seat mass mover. And this extends not just to the body variety.
Importance of branding is recognised in Irizar ’s ability to replicate even the most complicated fleet livery
Irizar has partnered with four major chassis brands allowing our clients unprecedented freedom of choice when selecting the running gear with which they choose to operate.” The importance of branding is recognised in Irizar ’s ability to replicate even the most complicated fleet livery, adapt it to the design aesthetics of the Irizar coach and even freshly develop unique and eye-catching designs in conjunction with new clients’ brand identities.
The final designs are executed on site using Irizar SA’s in-house painting facilities. With a little advance planning, clients can choose from an elegant interior colour palette encompassing the seats in a choice of fabric or leather, and wide choices for the curtains, interior trim and flooring.
Staff of Irizar are frequently in touch with clients
The feeling of personal attention extends far beyond the delivery. With a staff complement of just 29, the sales and service staff of Irizar are frequently in touch with clients. So much so that theirs are instantly recognisable voices with most clients, and to such an extent that with long-standing customers, the familiarity veers past the humorous to the mildly inappropriate.
Customised solutions is attracting an ever-growing clientele to the Irizar brand
It is an approach bearing fruit, for despite standardisation and uniformity being the watchwords of the industry at large, the ability to provide cutting-edge, customised solutions is attracting an ever-growing clientele to the Irizar brand.
“Irizar as a brand has been in the business of safety, luxury and technology for over 125 years,” says Levendale. “The challenge is to continually introduce and integrate new features to the product, which add to the passenger appeal in terms of both aesthetics and comfort, while maintaining a balance with the purchase and operational costs of the coach and the reliability and profitability for which our marque is renowned.’’
“The challenge is to continually introduce and integrate new features to the product, which add to the passenger appeal in terms of both aesthetics and comfort…”
This philosophy is encapsulated in the latest product offering, the Irizar i6, launched in SA in 2013 – a versatile coach body which can be configured in a multitude of layouts, from a workhorse to a flagship, from an exhaustive list of features.
Having won 2012 European Coach of the Year accolade in its debut year, the introduction of the i6 to South Africa brought a raft of safety and technological firsts to the SA coach market, including the demanding ECE66.02 rollover standard, complete multiplexing of the coach body and the pioneering use of LED and energy saving features throughout the design.
Coupled with an imposing and dynamic appearance, the i6 has been an instant success. An ongoing programme of continuous upgrades keeps the i6 on the leading edge of technology, with air purifiers and on-board WiFi connection having recently joined the list of available features.
So, with innovative design, unprecedented choice and that all important Personal Touch it is no wonder that Irizar is ‘quietly optimistic’!