Bus manufacturers halt production

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Alexander Dennis
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has announced that it has suspended production at its UK manufacturing facilities.

Colin Robertson, CEO of ADL, said that the company will implement an orderly idling of its manufacturing operations, allowing it to quickly and efficiently restart at the appropriate time.

In an open letter, Colin said: “Our aftermarket and service teams will continue to support you in providing vital coach and bus services for essential workers. Our field service engineers remain on call and we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure spare parts are available as needed.

“Our AD24 digital aftermarket platform continues to give you direct, 24/7 access to parts orders and other information including manuals and service bulletins at www.ad24.direct.

“We recognise the huge effort made by all coach and bus operators to respond to this unprecedented challenge. Your schedulers, drivers, cleaners, engineers and other team members are going above and beyond every day, and we feel privileged to support them.

“Public transport, both coach and bus, is the spinal cord of every town and city, and we know that ADL and Plaxton play an important part in providing the vehicles and support needed to keep essential workers moving.

“We will weather this uncharted territory together with our team members, our partners and with you, our customers, and hope you remain safe and healthy throughout this period.”

As a result of the implementation of new measures in the UK, changes in supply of key components, such as engines, and the suspension of UK Government testing of vehicles for three months, Optare has temporarily suspended production. It has also required all staff in this part of the business to be either furloughed or move to home working until further notice.

The company also said it has applied a temporary limit and prioritisation policy to its aftersales service.

Optare said it has agreed to an initial four week ‘lock down’ period with a continual review of HM Government advice and the status of its employees, customers, vendors and the virus. It said parts supply and the call centre operation will continue until such time it doesn’t have the staff to carry out this function safely as a result of COVID-19.

The company said in a statement: “We will make every effort to deliver on service and parts orders and will communicate proactively when issues do arise. We will keep you advised of any changes to this policy as it arises and our proposed return to normal operation.

“We look forward to the end of the pandemic and a return to full production. We wish you, your families and your teams all our best wishes at this challenging time.”

Manufacturers outside of the UK have also been forced to suspend their operations. CaetanoBus has confirmed that, following the Portuguese government’s decision to declare a state of emergency in response to the health crisis, it too will be closing its doors until 6 April.

Much like here in the UK, Portugal has imposed restrictions on travel and strongly encouraged social distancing, leaving CaetanoBus with no real option but to pause for the time being.

In a statement, it said: “Despite this, we will remain contactable and we will respond to the requests of our customers as usual, since our employees in the Commercial and After-Sales department will continue their work remotely.”