Alexander Dennis picks build partner for North America

Contract manufacturer to handle double decker production in Las Vegas

Las Vegas An Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double deck bus is shown in downtown Nappanee, Ind. North American production will start up again in Nevada. (Photo: NFI Group)

NFI Group Inc., a bus and coach manufacturer and provider of electric mass mobility solutions, and its subsidiary Alexander Dennis Ltd., has appointed Big Rig Manufacturing as a contract manufacturing partner to meet resurging interest in the Enviro500 double decker in North America.

Big Rig Manufacturing is a subsidiary of Big Rig Collision Group, a provider of truck, bus and motorcoach accident repairs in Canada and the United States. Starting next year, it will assemble diesel Enviro500 double deck buses and the zero-emission Enviro500EV Charge to Alexander Dennis designs, specifications, and processes at a new facility in Las Vegas, Nev.

The new arrangement replicates the successful, low-capital intensity partnerships Alexander Dennis has in the Asia-Pacific region with contract manufacturers in China and New Zealand. With NFI’s North American bus and coach production facilities responding to the group’s record backlog and order book, cooperation with Big Rig Manufacturing is expected to permit Alexander Dennis to meet North American demand for its double deck range with Buy America-compliant arrangements.

Alexander Dennis engineering and production staff will be located permanently on site at the brand-new facility in Las Vegas, supporting chassis production, major sub-assembly and full production of the bus body.

“We’re excited about this new opportunity with Big Rig Manufacturing which provides an elegant and efficient solution to restarting double deck production in North America,” said Stephen Walsh, vice-president and general manager of Alexander Dennis in North America. “ I’m pleased that we have been able to team up with a familiar partner for many of our current double deck customers who have previously selected Big Rig Collision Group to complete comprehensive mid-life overhauls on their buses. Their intimate knowledge of our bus construction and design processes will help Big Rig Manufacturing to ensure a smooth production of the Enviro500.

“The Enviro500’s combination of high seating capacity on a compact road footprint is proven by its ongoing popularity and an active fleet of more than 1,000 Alexander Dennis double deckers across the continent. Many of our long-standing customers have older vehicles coming up for replacement and this production agreement allows us to support their fleet investment.”

Alexander Dennis closed its Enviro500 production facilities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Nappanee, Ind., when the COVID-19 pandemic complications delayed orders. The longer-term order book has remained solid with orders from new and existing customers in the pipeline.

“We are very proud to be working with such a historic and prominent leader in transit bus innovation as NFI Group and Alexander Dennis,” said Kenton Schultz, president of Big Rig Manufacturing. “Big Rig Manufacturing will provide a depth of experience and expertise to streamline this manufacturing process and lean on our long-established knowledge in the heavy-duty and large vehicle repair markets. Our long running partnerships with transit and public transportation service providers throughout Canada and the U.S. in refurbishments, overhauls and collision repair via Big Rig Collision Group further strengthen this partnership and will fuel long-term growth.

“This next step in evolution is particularly exciting, as it will allow Big Rig Manufacturing to bring cutting-edge safety features and newly pioneered zero-emission technologies to life, supporting Alexander Dennis in fulfilling their surging customer demand.”

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