Propane Autogas Bus Sales Gain Momentum in Louisiana
By: Bruce Ross, president of Ross Bus Sales
In the past, we faced some tough legislative barriers when selling alternative fuel buses in Louisiana. Those barriers, fortunately, were lifted last summer. Since then, we have been focused on the sales of propane autogas-fueled buses.
To get our staff up to speed, ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird sales managers visited our location and trained our staff in alternative fuel sales. They explained that propane autogas is not only good for our customers, but helps us keep customers as well. Also, it’s “good business” to promote this product for our dealership.
We feel that the Blue Bird Propane Vision is well above either competitor’s propane offering because of the support team behind the product, the manufacturing processes followed to ensure quality for every fuel system, and the fact it’s proven in the marketplace.
Following training, we ordered a demo propane Vision, to use as a sales tool during customer visits.
We determined potential candidates for propane autogas, both current customers and conquest, and set meetings. We immediately had one district that had already done alternative fuels research, so they were ahead of the curve.
When we piqued interest, we let customers use the bus for two to three weeks, and run it on their routes. The customers’ technicians appreciated being able to examine the bus on their own time. To show that fueling wouldn’t be a problem, we lined up a propane provider to fuel the bus while in the customer’s possession. In some cases, we called in the sales managers from ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird to attend those meetings with us, to show factory representation.
We even took it one step further and coordinated a speaking spot LASTO, the state school bus show, for Trey Jenkins, Blue Bird’s VP of Alternative Fuels. Trey’s presentation resulted in six new school districts expressing interest in propane autogas, who we hadn’t been talking to about alternative fuels before.
My recommendation to any Blue Bird dealer interested in boosting propane sales in their market is to go through the sales training, order a demo, participate in the state shows and get the Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech sales managers involved to help.
As we enter the peak sales season, my team and I are prepared to actively push the sale of propane autogas-powered school buses. We are excited to see things moving in a positive direction already, and can’t wait to see what this year has in store for propane sales.