Van Hool invests 47 million dollar in American bus plant
Belgian bus and coach builder Van Hool is investing 47 million dollar (40 million euro) in its new bus factory in Morristown in the American state of Tennessee. The new factory was already announced in January, but now management unveiled more details. To start Van Hool will hire some 600 people locally.
Luxury coach builder
The Belgian bus manufacturer with its headquarters in Koningshooikt (Belgium) already has a factory in Skopje (Macedonia) where it builds the lower range of its coaches at a lower production cost. In America, where Van Hool is well-known as a luxury coach builder through distributor ABC, of which it holds 38%, it has to build locally if it wants to win public tenders under the ‘Buy American Act’.
Market of 6.000 to 8000 buses a year
This means public instances can only buy buses that are made of 100% American steel, contain at least 70% US-made components and are constructed completely locally. In the US demand for public buses is huge, estimated at 6.000 to 8.000 a year, CEO Filip Van Hool estimates.
In Morristown Van Hool wants to build some 400 city buses a year for the North American public transport market. The new buses will be designed by the Belgian study bureau. New American staff will be trained in Koningshooikt and Skopje. For its Belgian plant Van Hool – having a full order book – is looking to recruit another 200 people.