The Chamblee Family Sees Attractive School and Tour Niche for the New MCI J3500 Coach Markets

Gulf Coast Tours' new MCI J3500 Coach

DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS, MAY 8, 2019: (TSX:NFI) Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., ("NFI"), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, has delivered a new 35-foot MCI J3500 to Gulf Coast Tours. And the way Nick Chamblee sees it, not every tour, corporate or group client needs a full-size luxury coach to deliver a great experience. Sometimes a smaller vehicle with big luxury, reliability and safety built in works just as well - especially when the name on the front is MCI.

"In motor coaches, we're an all-MCI J4500 fleet and the chance to offer the J4500 experience in a smaller coach really resonated for us," said Chamblee, who took over the 30-year-old Gulf Coast Tours in 2016 from his father Ed Chamblee. "We're seeing a need for group-size flexibility from schools and groups, and we think it could open new doors to business with the corporate and private charter market. Not every group needs a 56-seat coach when a really great 40- or 44-seat coach with all the amenities will do."

The new MCI J3500 is the North American motor coach leader's latest debut to complement its best-selling J4500 recently redesigned with increased space and passenger comfort. The J3500 member of MCI's new "J-Series" family of coaches that features all the styling and comfort hallmarks of the J4500, with seating for up to 44 passengers, a powerful Cummins engine, shared J-coach components, and a turning radius of under 33 feet that makes it a natural for high-traffic situations that call for top maneuverability.

Chamblee, a former professional musician who knows a thing or two about traveling by bus, understands there's always an opportunity to win over a customer who's never considered coach travel as a viable, long-term option. Giving such opened-minded customers an option like the J3500 as a substitute for mini-buses or limousines opens new vistas, he thinks: "The reliability of the MCI brand – and the ability to maintain it with interchangeable parts that we stock for our fleet of 17 J4500 coaches – tells our customer that smaller doesn’t mean they have to settle for anything less than a big-coach experience."

Gulf Coast Tours' first J3500 comes equipped with a top-of-the-line four-monitor entertainment system with four monitors, the 2017 EPA Cummins L9 w/ engine brake, three-point seatbelts and the optional RGB interior lighting feature offering six pre-programmed colors (red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, yellow) plus white for the best customer branding experience. "I think it's important to give the customer a passenger experience that’s all their own," said Chamblee.

Gulf Coast Tours' chose the 40-seat configuration to give high school, college and university athletes the best legroom in this new, smaller coach configuration. "Two hours after delivery, this coach has never stopped moving," Chamblee says.

A family devoted to the bus business

Chamblee and his wife Theresa run the company together – Chamblee as CEO and Theresa as operations manager. However, he points out that the entire team "wears many hats as a small business, and we love that no two weeks are ever the same. I like the challenges and we all keep on our toes." Gulf Coast Tours' website is

About NFI Group

With over 6,300 team members, operating from 31 facilities across Canada and the United States, NFI is North America’s largest bus manufacturer providing a comprehensive suite of mass transportation solutions under brands: New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), MCI® (motor coaches), and NFI Parts™ (parts, support, and service). NFI buses incorporate the widest range of drive systems available including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, and zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell) on proven bus platforms. It also supports infrastructure development through New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™a service dedicated to providing safe and reliable charging and mobility solutions. In total, NFI supports over 74,000 buses and coaches currently in service across North America. For the fiscal year ended December 30, 2018, NFI posted revenues of US $2.5 billion. NFI common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI. News and information are available at

About MCI

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) is North America's public and private market motor coach leader, building the J4500 the industry best-seller for 13 consecutive years), the all-new 35-foot J3500 model, and the workhorse D-Series including the breakthrough ADA-accessible MCI D45 CRT LE Commuter Coach offering lower dwell times. MCI will add battery-electric propulsion in 2020. With nearly 30,000 MCI coaches on the road, MCI also provides maintenance, repair, 24-hour roadside assistance, parts supply through NFI Parts, and technician training through the industry's only Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accredited MCI Academy. Further information is available at

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  Stephen King
Tel: 204.224.6382

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