Well-engineered Prevost conversions, a highly developed business plan, and a tight management team result in a formidable combination.
By Lazelle Jones
It’s been almost 10 years, but I remember it well. I arrived at Vantare (then owned by Mike Guth) to do a coach review for Family Motor Coaching magazine. An affable young fellow named Nelson Figueroa took me on a walk-through of the coach I was to test, and got me quickly on the road. Not only was he an expert about the product at hand (which he had helped to design and build), but he talked in terms that quickly got me up to speed and on my way. At that time, I thought, “This fellow has got it all together. I bet that he makes his mark on the world, be it in luxury motor coaches or, for that matter, anything else that he elects to do.”
Recently I met Nelson again, this time at Millennium Luxury Coaches in Sanford, Florida. When he introduced himself as the president and owner of the company, I was not surprised to learn that he has achieved even greater success in this industry. Nelson possesses a strong education and technical background in electronics (aviation, ocean-going vessels, and automotive), as well as mechanical, structural, and fluid systems. Plus he has the creativity that’s required to design and fabricate cutting-edge luxury motorhomes.
As Nelson explained to me, great technical minds often lack the ability to focus on the business part of a company. That is why, normally, engineers are engineers and business managers are business managers. So, the second half of this company’s leadership is provided by vice president Evelyn Figueroa, who handles the daily operations of the business while also creating the beautiful interiors for which Millennium is recognized.
In 2001 Nelson and Evelyn combined their talents, experience, and skills and established Millennium Luxury Coaches. With the company’s roots in the yachting industry, its focus on technology, and its use of composite construction, Nelson explains that Millennium coaches are among the lightest for their size on the road today.
Located at 1600 Bobby Lee Point, in an industrial park in Sanford, the facility includes 16,000 square feet of floor space, 12 bays where the Millennium Luxury Coaches are created, shop space, and office space, all of which sits on two acres. Nelson and Evelyn have assembled a group of talented individuals, each with an area of expertise that enables them to carry the Millennium banner forward.
Millennium Luxury Coaches employs 42 specialists that include technicians, designers, coach builders, and administrative support. The sales force is led by Chuck Kovacs, who has 11 years of experience in satisfying the needs of clients for new and preowned luxury coaches.
Nelson said that the company currently converts a dozen Prevost bus shells each year into luxury coaches “” Prevost shells are the only ones Millennium uses. The Millennium team specializes in converting both the H3-45 and the XLII Prevost chassis shells. Several floor plans are available in both coach models, as are special custom floor plans that can be created by the client.
Currently, Millennium Luxury Coaches can be enjoyed with one or two slideouts, which Prevost designs, builds, and installs in its shells. Millennium does not add additional slideouts. Nelson said he believes that the limit placed on the number of slides makes good sense. He noted that he relies on Prevost’s design and engineering expertise to incorporate the slides in its bus shells. When Prevost begins offering three slideouts “” which is forecast to be in the near future “” only then will Millennium offer triple slideouts in its coach conversions. Nelson said it is a reliability- and quality-based decision.
As noted earlier, Millennium converts a dozen shells each year, which is exactly where Evelyn wants the company to be. She explained that 12 coach conversions each year is a comfortable and very doable pace, where the highest level of attention to excellence and detail can be guaranteed.
In parallel with the design and conversion side of the business and the sale of preowned luxury coaches is the service side, which Nelson has cultivated and nurtured ever so carefully, and for good reason. The Millennium service department, located on-site, is one of the business tools that have worked so well for growing this company. Again and again, Nelson said, coach enthusiasts initially come in for scheduled maintenance or the resolution of some systems problem and eventually return to have their coaches renovated and upgraded. When many of these coach owners begin looking around for a new coach or a newer preowned coach, they end up coming back to Millennium, and they tell their motor coaching compatriots about the great service they received from Millennium.
For both H3-45 and XLII coach conversions, the list of equipment that Millennium includes as standard is legion. In fact, a standard-equipped Millennium is all that many custom coach conversion enthusiasts will ever want or need.
For example, the bedroom includes a Sony five-disc DVD/CD player, a 32-inch flat-screen monitor, electric shades, a mirrored ceiling, and custom bedding. In the bath area is a custom curved shower and a Headhunter elongated commode. The galley features a full-size, rounded-front side-by-side refrigerator (with in-the-door ice maker and water dispenser); a stacked washer-dryer; a coffee maker; a handheld vacuum cleaner; a pull-out pantry; a glass display cabinet with tumblers and wine glasses; a wine bottle cabinet; and a granite dinette table and galley.
The front lounge or salon area on every Millennium coach features Denon audio-video equipment, a five-disc DVD/CD stereo system with speakers, and a 42-inch flat-screen plasma monitor that is mounted on a motorized lift. The cockpit comes equipped with a Pioneer AM/FM/DVD/GPS/MP3 stereo, a mapping system, a CB radio, electric privacy shades, granite flooring in the stairwell, an Isringhausen air-ride driver’s seat, and a Villa International copilot seat.
Millennium heating and air-conditioning systems include only the Aqua-Hot heating system and four rooftop air conditioners with heat pumps. Among the other standard appointments are an in-motion satellite dish, an HWH leveling system, a 17.5-kw PowerTech diesel generator with auto-start feature, two 4,000-watt Trace inverters, a Glendinning electric reel for management of the shoreline cord, and an auxiliary air compressor.
This past August, FMCA members who attended the association’s 74th International Convention in Minot, North Dakota, may have toured the show coach that Millennium displayed there. It featured all of the latest developments and new technology being offered by Millennium, including the AMX Lutron integrated control system, where video screens are strategically placed throughout the coach so that the end-user has all system controls at his or her fingertips.
The custom coach conversion industry remains the uppermost level of luxury in recreational vehicles and, of course, it is the most expensive. Visiting custom coach builders and exploring coach exhibits at FMCA conventions are requisite to making the decision that is right for you. Comparing coach builders and determining what you get for the money you pay requires a good deal of homework on your part. When the time comes to start looking, Millennium Luxury Coaches should to be on your list.
Millennium Luxury Coaches, 1600 Bobby Lee Point, Sanford, FL 32771; (407) 328-0190; www.millenniumluxurycoaches.com