Thomas Names National and Regional Dealers of the Year

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses has named Western Mountain Bus Sales of Nampa, Idaho, its 2005 national dealer of the year.

The dealer of the year awards, which include five regional winners and one overall winner, are presented each year to Thomas dealers who show outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, customer service and support, financial performance and overall relationship with Thomas Built Buses.

Thomas Built president and CEO John O’Leary presented the awards during the President’s Club Banquet, which is part of the annual Thomas dealer meeting, in Greensboro, N.C. "Western Mountain Bus Sales combines product knowledge, sales expertise and a keen focus on customer service, which is a monumental task given the geographical challenges of its territory", said O’Leary. "The professionalism and dedication to excellence demonstrated by our top performing dealers reflects positively on the Thomas name and we’re proud to be associated with them."

Brad Carpenter, owner of Western Mountain Bus Sales, said his company was especially pleased to receive the honor. "Idaho isn’t the most populous territory so it’s challenging to compete in terms of sales volume with some of the large markets in the East," said Carpenter. "We’re very proud of our service and our longstanding relationships with our customers."

Carpenter accepted the award along with his father, former company owner Vern Carpenter.

Western Mountain Bus Sales was established in 1972 and has been a Thomas Built dealer for nearly 25 years. It maintains more than 50 percent of the market share of school buses sold in Idaho.

The 2005 national dealer of the year was chosen from the top-performing dealers from five regions. Regional dealers of the year were:

* American Bus Sales, Annapolis, Maryland (Northeast region)

* Transportation South, Pelham, Alabama (Southeast region)

* Hoekstra Transportation, Grand Rapids, Michigan (Central region)

* Thomas Bus Gulf Coast, Houston, Texas (Midwest region)

* Western Mountain Bus Sales, Nampa, Idaho (Western region)

Thomas Built Buses is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one third of the school bus market in North America. Thomas Built Buses is a member of Freightliner LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Freightliner LLC produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, American LaFrance and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer. Media contact for Freightliner LLC: Jeffrey Fisher, 503-745-8535

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