Forest River acquired Collins Bus, one of America’s oldest Type A school bus builders, from REV Group on Monday for $303 million.
Forest River, the nation’s largest shuttle bus and van manufacturer, is not new to the school bus industry as it has owned the Starcraft Bus brand since 2001. Starcraft launched its first Type A school bus in 2008 and developed a Type C conventional school bus in 2016 with dealer Creative Bus Sales (now known as Model1). Forest River and Starcraft agreed to stop making school buses in 2020, when it acquired REV Group’s competing shuttle bus business.
Collins Bus was founded in 1967 in Kansas City, Missouri. It was purchased by REV Group in 2006, joining a brand that has over 240,000 vehicles. Collins Bus is considered the pioneer of the Type A School bus and was the first bus company to produce a Type A propane school bus in 2009. It also was the first to announce it would use the all-electric Ford E-Transit cutaway chassis last March.
On Friday, REV Group said it is aiming to optimize its product portfolio by selling Collins Bus as well as its transit bus operations.
“Delays in the supply of critical components and the build out of infrastructure to support EV adoption, as well as the financial health of key suppliers, has created a competitive bidding environment for diesel and CNG buses that has made it difficult for ENC (ElDorado National-California) to compete profitably versus peers of greater scale,” explained Mark Skonieczny, president and CEO of REV Group, in a statement. “The decision to wind down operations was not made lightly; however, based on the options available to us, we believe this is the best path forward for our business. I would like to thank our ENC employees, dealers, and customers for their commitment to ENC over the years.”
Meanwhile, Forest River Bus President David Wright stated via a separate release that the company is thrilled to welcome Collins Bus into the Forest River family. “This purchase combines the strengths and heritage of two industry leaders,” Wright said. “Collins Bus has a remarkable history, unwavering commitment to quality, and a team of dedicated employees. We value their legacy and look forward to building on their success.”
Wright added that Forest River is excited to collaborate with the employees at Collins Bus to continue to deliver “top-notice school buses that prioritize the safety and well-being students.”
This article will be updated as new information is provided.