Thomas Built Buses and Onspot Automatic Tire Chains announced a deal last month to equip Minotour Type A small school bus models with the winter weather equipment direct from the factory.
Pat Freyer, president of Onspot, explained that Thomas has offered the automatic tire chain systems as a factory option on its larger school buses for since 1992. Additionally, Onspot is offered as a factory option on larger buses manufactured by the likes of Blue Bird and IC Bus.
But the Thomas Minotour built on GMC G-3500 chassis is just the second small bus model to offer customers the automatic tire chains option straight from the factory. Last fall, Micro Bird announced Onspot as a factory-installed option. Previously, a third-party upfitter performed the installation in High Point, N.C., where Thomas’ plant is located, or at the local dealer.
“By having our tire chains as a factory option, they are financed with the bus (purchase), are delivered more quickly and the interest rate is reduced,” said Freyer.
Thomas recently opened a new parts distribution center to perform upfitting of equipment offline from plant assembly, and the Onspot Automatic Tire Chain is one of those products, Freyer added. The product is also covered under Thomas’ new bus warranty. A company spokeswoman confirmed that any claim for warranty work performed by the dealer on the Onspot automatic tire chains would be sent to Thomas.
Additionally, Freyer said Onspot is now also offered on Thomas’ air-suspension buses because leading school bus contractors required the option per specifications made by school districts.
The Onspot Automatic Tire Chain was on display at the recent STN EXPO Trade Show at the Thomas Built Buses booth. Freyer said the demonstration display, which shows how the tire chain is automatically deployed around the tire is called “Big Al” as in albatross.