Type A school and commercial bus manufacturer Starcraft Bus is set to stretch its legs into the larger vehicle market next year after signing an agreement with Toyota's Hino Trucks.
Starcraft GM David Wright confirmed to STN during the NAPT trade show in Louisville, Ky., that the deal was done, though some supplier agreements were still pending. But today, the school bus market officially can begin anticipating another Type C school bus alternative.
Talks began a year ago, and a deal was almost struck over the summer.
While details were still coming, Wright said the first prototype school bus is scheduled to be available by spring or early summer 2010, just in time for the annual crunch of state school bus trade shows and the STN EXPO in Reno, Nev. Full production will then begin by the fall, "100 percent made to order."
Hino will supply diesel chassis built at its West Virginia plant and ship them to Goshen, Ind., where Starcraft will assemble the Type C bodies. The diesel engines will meet 2010 emissions standards utilizing SCR technology to achieve 83 percent less NOx and 90 percent less particulate matter emissions.
Wright said Starcraft would likely also follow Hino's lead on the eventual development of alternative fuel capability.
Look for more on this partnership in the January 2010 issue of School Transportation News magazine.