HomeManufacturingType A School Bus Market Consolidates with Acquisition of Trans Tech Bus

Type A School Bus Market Consolidates with Acquisition of Trans Tech Bus

Six months after returning to the school bus industry, Forest River adds Trans Tech Bus to its brand portfolio and will move all manufacturing from Warwick, New York to Goshen, Indiana at the end of August.

The companies announced the definitive agreement Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

David Wright, president of Forest River Commercial, told School Transportation News a “seamless transition” is expected over the next six months as the Trans Tech management begins a “knowledge transfer.” That process is expected to begin this week.

The agreement notes that the existing Trans Tech national dealer network will remain committed to customer support and product order fulfillment responsibilities.

Moving manufacturing to Forest River’s Indiana plant will mean increased production capacity and a broadened number of Trans Tech products available to the market, the release states.

Wright said that moving Trans Tech to Goshen will occur by early to mid-September, when operational control is fully transitioned. Until then, he said current Trans Tech operations will build out as many backlog orders as possible.

He confirmed that Trans Tech and the Collins Bus brand acquired in January will operate separately, which is the reason Trans Tech operations are being moved to Indiana while Collins remains in Kansas. But the two will benefit from Forest River’s purchasing power on the OEM and supply side, and they could share similar components along with other Forest River brands.

Trans Tech added that it is providing incentives to its “dedicated team” of plant workers to remain with the company during the transition.

“Forest River shares our passion for building a bus driver’s bus and commitment to customer-inspired innovation and will ensure the brand continues to build Type-A school buses with unmatched versatility and the durability of a big bus,” said Trans Tech Bus president John Phraner in a statement. “Our success over the last three decades is a result of our team’s commitment to building the best Type-A school bus on the road, our customers who helped drive innovation and build quality, and the dedication of our dealerships who sell, service, and support the Trans Tech Bus product.”

Wright said Forest River will continue building Trans Tech products the same way and will meet the same quality standards.

“We don’t want to change the products at all,” he added, echoing a similar statement he made about the Collins Bus acquisition.

He did note that GM chassis remain a challenge to procure more so than from Ford, which considers Forest River a preferred body upfitter for its E-350, E-450, and Transit cutaways. But Forest River will continue to use both OEMs.

“We found in our other businesses, the more flexibility we have between the two, the better we can meet customer and dealer needs,” Wright continued. “It’s not some conscientious decision to switch from GMs to Fords. We do want to have the product available on both platforms so that we have better opportunities to get more chassis.”

He added that Forest River is in the process or learning more about Trans Tech’s announced partnership last fall with Optimal EV on the new SST-E electric Type A school bus. Optimal EV’s manufacturing is also located in Goshen, and he said that the close proximity to Forest River is an “opportunity.”

Related: Business As Usual for Collins Bus Customers, Says Forest River
Related: Collins, Ford Pro Collaborate on Latest Electric Type A School Bus
Related: Trans Tech Bus, Inc. Completes Stock Buyout of Marksohn Family

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