The new FT5 M4 Bus, the first in its class, was launched in May of this year – see what Selesnick had to say about this one-of-a-kind bus, here:
Introducing the FT5 M4 Bus – in one sentence, how would you describe this new model?
“One word is going to be very hard, let alone one sentence,”” says Selesnick – “There is just so much to say.”
However, for Selesnick, the FT5 Bus is a model that “adds value to the market and to the client.”
“To truly arrive at one sentence, we would need to go through the history of how the FT5 Bus came about. Buses are quite complex and obviously coming out of a situation where most buses are derived from the chassis of trucks, this one included, we needed to reconfigure a truck and redesign it to become a people carrier – it is a different animal. You now get into the realm of safety, although all our trucks are built around safety when carrying goods, it carries a special platform to be safe enough and viable enough to consider it a bus.”
“When we brought the FT5 to the market, it already had great characteristics in terms of safety, i.e., the braking systems were advanced in comparison to our competitors.”
Giving a true testament as to why the FT5 Bus is the most reliable currently in the market, Selesnick adds, “When you want to register the chassis of a truck for the use of people-carrying, you have to test it through the SABS. The FT5 was tested and amalgamated for carrying people long before we thought of creating a bus, so we already knew we had the right base and the right platform to create this model. After we took the chassis to Busmark, the system in which they normally tested buses had to be upgraded. It had to be forced into a new test where it had to undergo a simulated roll-over, rather than the traditional computer simulated tests administered by the SABS – we passed every single test with flying colours. We never had to go back and retest, we passed first time, every time. Further to this, the SABS had to essentially ramp up their testing when we brought our model to them, for the normal standard testing wasn’t capable of testing our high-standard model effectively. For 7 months the FT5 Bus stood while they learnt how to test and train people in order to be able to test the vehicle.”
“The project took around two years – we redesigned our bus to ensure it wasn’t generic and kept the same overall look as the FT5. We wanted people to recognise it and know its platform was the well-trusted, well-known and well-favoured FT5. It also comes in at a very, very …. very attractive price point. The FT5, when it comes to its servicing and cost to service, it is a market leader and you don’t lose any of this when you purchase a FT5 Bus.”
To conclude, in the package that is the FT5 Bus, you get a well-designed, well-tested and reliable platform.
Why has ESI decided to tap into the bus market?
“It was having the correct chassis,” says Selesnick.
“We have always had a strong moral ethic in the equipment we supply in the sense that they don’t only do the job, they are reliable and safe. When we saw we had a platform that was undoubtedly safe and reliable, we went forward with creating a people carrier. If you don’t have the right goods, you don’t play – we had the right goods.”
As mentioned early, the FT5 was substantially tested for safety, reliability, ruggedness and fuel consumption when it came to being a goods carrier. “This unit has done us very proud in the goods carrying industry and the general trucking game. Now it was just time to combine the safety aspect with this reliable platform.”
In Selesnick humble, but honest opinion, he believes that Ever Star Industries has the best bus in its class in South Africa – “Bus Mark came back to us after we brought our model to them and I don’t think they were blowing any smoke when they said it was one of the finest chassis they had the privilege of building on.”
What in your opinion are the main/key features of the new FT4 M4 Bus?
“Safety, reliability and total life cycle cost. From the day you buy it, it comes in at a better price than its Japanese counterparts and its price point on purchase. Its cost to maintain is better as well.”
The FT5 Bus comes in two styles; the standard commuter and luxury. The luxury style has more room, a sophisticated air conditioning unit, luxury seats, bonded-tinted windows (which are darker and allow for a cooler environment), extra luggage compartments and many more options. “It is customisable to your needs,” explains Selesnick.
“Its fuel consumption and safety, alongside its affordability is what makes the model stand out – it is of the highest standard.”
Why is the FT Series so popular?
“The South African market has been dominated by Japanese products for more than 40 years. No one could compete with the Japanese – its exceptionally good, there is no two ways about it. It is well-engineered and well-backed up. However, its cost to own has become unpalatable for our market. People are looking for a more cost-effective solution for their trucking and bus needs that can compete with the quality. The FT simply fills this gap. It has the same reliability, better performance and cost of maintenance. The same goes for its service and longevity, but it comes in at an affordable price point.”
If someone had to ask you, why should I buy this model and not those of your competitors in terms of TCO – what would you say?
It’s simple for Selesnick – “It is intrinsically reliable and safe.”
For Selesnick, it is the base of this model that makes it the best and it comes in at an affordable price without compromising safety. “The FT5 Bus has got a genetic base to be reliable and do what it is suppose to do and it comes in at a competitive price. Further to this, you have the back up our suppliers in terms of part supply and the support of the ESI team going forward. The service and parts are outstanding compared to our competitors.”
How will having this model affect a customer’s downtime/uptime when having a possible breakdown?
“It is not a fable that trucks from lower end brands have been waiting months for parts. You can’t run a business like this. Some businesses have been put out of business due to the downtime and the OEN isn’t there to support them. Everstar Industries has the moral ground to bring product to the market that is something that will add value to the client in all aspects and minimise any downtime. In all respects, better than the Japanese,” says Selesnick.
“We have nearly 5 years of testing on the FT5 – The formula is powerful and reliable, with a decent life cycle in terms of cost.”