Coach and Bus Live 2013 took place last week and as always it provided a useful barometer to gauge the health and optimism of the industry. The new format of the interactive part of the show, with a ‘live showcase arena’ was generally well received even when the occasional hiccup did leave one of the participating manufacturer’s spluttering for words!
A steady stream of operators and trade visitors had all taken the time to get to the NEC and as always it was great to catch up with old friends many of whom are customers or suppliers to Mistral. As an industry we need to come together and share our collective experiences, both good and bad; at its core is a natural desire to understand what is happening in our markets and hopefully plan accordingly for the future. The striking point that came through to me, was the increased optimism of the coach sector with many of the dealers reporting strong enquiries for both new and used product. Some even reported unexpected deals being completed on the stand!
The bus market is still suffering from the combination of local authority spending cuts and reduced subsidy via BSOG. This is leading to a level of uncertainty in the market that I’ve not experienced for a number of years, with the knock on effect that spending decisions are being postponed. Hopefully some clarity will emerge from this fog and operators will feel confident enough to begin their planned investment programmes.
At Mistral we’re all looking forward to a busy Autumn and continuing to assist our customers on sales rental and finance.