Ayats eyes full-scale return to UK and Ireland markets

Spanish coachbuilder Ayats is eyeing a return to the UK and Ireland after many years without dealer representation, and will provide “an industry-leading level of support.”

Respected industry stalwart Steve O’Neill is heading plans by the Catalonian coachbuilder for a full return to the UK and Ireland markets, serving the relatively small, but important, UK double-decker coach market.

For 18 years until 2008, latterly as MD, at the multi-award-winning family-owned The King’s Ferry coach business in Kent, before spending eight years as Director of Irizar UK, Steve O’Neill is renowned for his business acumen and sector knowledge.

His many years working with Irizar has also given him a deep insight into working with Spanish businesses.

Now working for Ayats, he is supporting the firm to appoint a UK and Ireland distributor to offer Ayats’ range of double-deck and over-deck coaches.

Ayats is a family business specialising in bespoke coaches built with stainless steel construction options and a range of chassis and integral engine options including Scania, Mercedes-Benz, DAF, as well as being electric-ready.

There will be “more information in the coming months” on this, says Steve O’Neill.

Ayats has had a UK presence for more than two decades, with a strong following in the market niche that it excels in.

Its intercity low-floor coach has more than 100 seats and the over-deck product is suitable for high capacity PSVAR-compliant tours/private hires or football team conversions.

“There’s plenty on offer as well as the regular luxury touring double decker,” he adds.

Steve O’Neill: “As I’ve done before, I will work to create an industry-leading level of support to ensure the future of the product is protected”

In recent years small numbers of direct sales have been made from the Spanish factory, to regular customer Newport (South Wales)-based band/sleeper bus operator Jumbocruiser.

For a short period from 2016 sales were handled by Manchester-based Dave Nickson.

A satisfied customer is JH Coaches of Birtley, Tyne and Wear, which followed an initial Scania/Ayats double-decker order in 2016 with a second in 2017.

Ian Shipley of JH Coaches says: “We’re very happy with our two Eclipse deckers we’ve owned from new. I’m looking forward to doing business with Ayats in the future.”

Says Steve O’Neill: “As we all know, any product is made up of its build and its support.

“As I’ve done before, I will work to create an industry-leading level of support to ensure the future of the product is protected.

“Ayats know and understand this and this is why they wanted to partner with me to help them do this.”

Created in 1905 and based in Girona, near Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, today Ayats has a global presence and three factories worldwide.

Years of experience have driven the company to become a specialist in building double-decker coaches, and launching an electric vehicle.

Focused on market niches, Ayats creates buses and coaches with a distinctive touch, co-operating with international partners with an integral vehicle, highlighting its strong technical development and the capacity to adapt the vehicle to the most complex requirements.

Steve O’Neill also continues to run his consultancy business One Associates

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