Marcopolo Moves into North America
The aquision of a substantial stake in a Canadian company gives this bus manufacturer access to exciting new markets. FRANK BEETON reports.
Early last year, we reported that Brazilian bus manufacturer Marcopolo SA had acquired a 75 percent stake in Australia’s largest bus bodybuilder, Volgren Australia (Pty) Limited. This resulted in one of the world’s largest bus builders, with an annual production capacity of more than 30 000 units in seventeen global plants, gaining an entry to the important Australian bus market. Currently this market accounts for some 2 000 units per annum and has shown an annual growth of around 12 percent.
Less than a year later, news has now emerged of Marcopolo’s “strategic” move into the North American market, through the purchase of a substantial 19,99 percent stake in Canadian bus builder, New Flyer Industries Inc.
New Flyer was originally established in 1930 as Western Auto and Truck Body Limited, in the province of Manitoba, and is currently headquartered in Winnipeg. It also operates two manufacturing plants in the American state of Minnesota, from where it services the United States market.
New Flyer has built a reputation for product innovation, having developed a number of alternative-fuel, hybrid-driveline and full-electric (trolleybus and battery) designs, and claims to be the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in North America.
The company also recently entered into a long-term arrangement with British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited, in terms of which it will manufacture, market and support a jointly developed medium-duty low-floor transit bus in the United States and Canadian markets.
This latest Marcopolo agreement also covers engineering, technical, purchasing and operational co-operation, with the objective of reducing New Flyer’s manufacturing and aftermarket cost base. During this process, the Canadian company will assess the potential marketability of Marcopolo products in its home markets. The possible reverse flow of New Flyer technologies and products into the global Marcopolo family will also be considered.