Clarkes order six Irizar integrals for next season

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More DAF-powered i6s for 2014 season for well-known London coach operator

Irizar UK has landed the biggest order in its two-year history, with a further six coaches sold to highprofile operator Clarkes of London.

Clarkes’ 2013 fleet intake was entirely based on integral Irizar coaches, the Sydenham firm 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 an additional six – the only coaches it will buy for the 2014 season.

Clarkes’ work includes corporate travel, City commuters and highend tour work, for which it says the DAF-powered, two-axle i6s are ideal, offering plenty of legroom without having to buy tri-axle, chassis-based coaches.

“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 drivers.

“We always make buying decisions based on the profitability of the firm,” continued 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 ABSASR handling package.

Inside, there is a two-screen DVD system, CCTV, half leather seats and headrests and seatback tables. A Hispacold climate control system, dash-mounted fridge, hot drinks console and toilet are also 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,” she added. “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 back-up. 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 sold the 50th Irizar integral coach in the UK. It’s especially pleasing that it is a repeat order with such a highprofile 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.”