Van Hool to build buses at new US plant

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USA Van Hool is to build a dedicated factory in Tennessee to enable it to build service buses for the US market.

The Belgian manufacturer is already active in the USA in the private sector, where it has a 35% market share through its American distributor, ABC Companies. These coaches are shipped from Europe, where they are produced in Van Hool’s Koningshooikt, Belgium and Skopje, Macedonia plants.

However, due to the Buy American Act, which stipulates manufacturers should be using American components for 70% of the vehicle’s value if they’re publicly-funded, as buses are, they cannot be imported.

“With a potential of 5,000 to 7,000 vehicles a year, the public market is much more important for buses than the private sector and its 1,500 to 2,000 coaches annually,” Filip Van Hool, Van Hool CEO announced at the recent United Motorcoach Association (UMA) trade show in San Antonio.

“The buses for the American market will be manufactured in a plant that is a copy of the modular Macedonian Van Hool plant, which is operating very satisfactorily.”

By 2020, the plant is expected to produce 400 buses per annum, employing 1,000 staff.

Revealing at last year’s Busworld Europe show in Kortrijk, Belgium that 50% of Van Hool’s turnover hails from the American market, he stressed: “The America market is very important. We’re mainly active in the private market where we’re in position number one.”