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Grande West secures USA manufacturing in Atlanta Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VANCOUVER, March 28, 2017 /CNW/ - Grande West Transportation Group Inc. (TSXV: BUS; OTC PINK: GWTNF): ("Grande West" or the "Company"), a Canadian bus manufacturer of heavy-duty mid-sized transit buses for sale in Canada and the United States, is pleased to announce it has secured a manufacturing agreement to produce Vicinity buses in Atlanta, Georgia that meets FTA Buy America requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alliance Bus Group ("ABG"), Grande West's exclusive US distributor, will produce Buy America compliant Vicinity buses for sale to US transit authorities. The ability to leverage ABG existing facilities, staff, and deep knowledge of bus technology provides Grande West with a solid foundation upon which it can quickly ramp to production.

 

 

 

Grande West is the 'Transit Vehicle Manufacturer' of record with the US FTA and responsible for all the necessary compliance with the Federal Government and Buy America requirements.

 

 

 

ABG will invest in excess of $1 million USD to transform their existing 70,000 square foot manufacturing and service facility with tooling and test equipment necessary for production. Improvements will also include a customer inspection and delivery acceptance area.  The project is slated for completion by third quarter 2017 at which time production will commence.

 

 

 

ABG CEO Doug Dunn stated, "ABG has been busy bidding RFPs that require Buy America buses. We are excited and confident that we will have additional FTA transit orders in 2017 and want to begin this process in order to start delivering Vicinity buses in 2017."

 

 

 

Grande West CEO William Trainer commented, "Forming this alliance is yet another major milestone as we will be producing Buy America Vicinity with our trusted partner ABG. This strengthens our working relationship and will provide additional Vicinity production options as we can also leverage ABG assembled buses for private operators or Canadian transit authorities."

 

 

 

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/grande-west-secures-usa-manufacturing-in-atlanta-georgia-617291243.html

 

 

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1 hour ago, TheAverageJoe said:

I just hope they aren't snapped up by NFI, they've got enough already.

Interesting and very good article. I suspect with the current US political views towards transit spending, cheaper vehicles won't fall out of demand anytime soon. It will still be interesting to see how these hold up long term though. Will they succeed to become as dominant as the D40LF, Low Floor, or LFS did, or will they have their moment of popularity and then dwindle away as the Opus, Ultra LF, and SLF did.

EDIT: On a side thought I wonder how Grande might name a future model if the Vicinity becomes successful and they can perhaps expand to also offer a 40' or even 60' heavy-duty model. They could have a line up like Vicinity (midibus), Metro (heavy-duty), Region (coach), Community (dial-a-ride).

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22 minutes ago, MVTArider said:

I just hope they aren't snapped up by NFI, they've got enough already.

Interesting and very good article. I suspect with the current US political views towards transit spending, cheaper vehicles won't fall out of demand anytime soon. It will still be interesting to see how these hold up long term though. Will they succeed to become as dominant as the D40LF, Low Floor, or LFS did, or will they have their moment of popularity and then dwindle away as the Opus, Ultra LF, and SLF did.

EDIT: On a side thought I wonder how Grande might name a future model if the Vicinity becomes successful and they can perhaps expand to also offer a 40' or even 60' heavy-duty model. They could have a line up like Vicinity (midibus), Metro (heavy-duty), Region (coach), Community (dial-a-ride).

Volvo/Nova would be nice if they are bought out as they do not have any 30 or 35 foot lengths for the North American market.

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2 hours ago, MVTArider said:

I just hope they aren't snapped up by NFI, they've got enough already.

Interesting and very good article. I suspect with the current US political views towards transit spending, cheaper vehicles won't fall out of demand anytime soon. It will still be interesting to see how these hold up long term though. Will they succeed to become as dominant as the D40LF, Low Floor, or LFS did, or will they have their moment of popularity and then dwindle away as the Opus, Ultra LF, and SLF did.

EDIT: On a side thought I wonder how Grande might name a future model if the Vicinity becomes successful and they can perhaps expand to also offer a 40' or even 60' heavy-duty model. They could have a line up like Vicinity (midibus), Metro (heavy-duty), Region (coach), Community (dial-a-ride).

Well, if NFI bought them, and either A. Moved construction to Canada and or B. Kept there parts like with Orion, but then created/pushed their own superior/competitive 27, 30, 35ft buses, I'd like that. I want Orion back :P and yes, Nova in the game would be interesting.

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2 hours ago, TheAverageJoe said:

Volvo/Nova would be nice if they are bought out as they do not have any 30 or 35 foot lengths for the North American market.

Not going to lie, but I find the mental image of a 30' LFS absolutely hilarious. 

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3 hours ago, MVTArider said:

Interesting and very good article

The article gets off to a shitty start. I cannot imagine Nova Bus has participated in any/ many tenders Grande West has, and as a result, Grande West has not "shoved aside" Nova Bus in the least.

We'll see what actually happens in the US. I suspect that a bus for the US market may cost more (more expensive labour vs. China), although, I will be impressed if they keep the costs competitive with an all- Chinese built/ assembled bus. 

 

Grande West Transportation Group Inc. has shoved aside bigger rivals including Volvo Group’s Nova Bus to win just about every tender that it’s competed for since introducing a smaller, China-assembled bus to Canada’s public transit systems in 2013.

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Does anyone else find the article overly rosy?

For example this: (quote)Grande West has an edge with cash-strapped public transit agencies. The Vicinity, compared to a similarly sized ElDorado bus, costs about a third less to buy, 20 percent less to maintain, and saves as much as 35 percent on fuel, according to the March investor presentation.(unquote)

Anyone know how it saves so much on fuel and maintenance? Must have serious weight savings in the body since its using the same Cummins powerplant. Are they comparing apples to oranges here? Maybe comparing ISL to ISB engine?

And how will they keep the selling price cost advantage once the bus is made in the US like everyone else?

Still if they help TAs transit to a 10 year bus instead of a 5 year cutaway, I like that. Better come out with the electric drive version soon though. Proterra might eat their lunch.

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15 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

 

Does anyone else find the article overly rosy?

For example this: "Grande West has an edge with cash-strapped public transit agencies. The Vicinity, compared to a similarly sized ElDorado bus, costs about a third less to buy, 20 percent less to maintain, and saves as much as 35 percent on fuel, according to the March investor presentation."

 

They do cost a lot less (as in the tens of thousands), but I find the "one third less" statistic questionable.  

15 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

And how will they keep the selling price cost advantage once the bus is made in the US like everyone else?

Well Buy America does not require an entire vehicle to be built in the US (IIRC its 60% of it but I'm not certain). For example, CRRC is building the carbodies of subway cars for US cities in China, where the costs of steel and the welders needed to put it together are much lower. I wouldn't be surprised if Grande West tries something like that. Also, they will probably import parts like electronic systems from China, which should also cost less. Things like the drive system and interior elements should be US sourced. 

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17 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

Does anyone else find the article overly rosy?

For example this: "Grande West has an edge with cash-strapped public transit agencies. The Vicinity, compared to a similarly sized ElDorado bus, costs about a third less to buy, 20 percent less to maintain, and saves as much as 35 percent on fuel, according to the March investor presentation."

Anyone know how it saves so much on fuel and maintenance? Must have serious weight savings since its using the same Cummins powerplant. Are they comparing apples to oranges here? Maybe comparing ISL to ISB engine.

And how will they keep the selling price cost advantage once the bus is made in the US like everyone else?

Still if they help TAs transit to a 10 year bus instead of a 5 year cutaway, I like that. Better come out with the electric drive version soon though. Proterra might eat their lunch.

Of course it's rosy. Look at what they are quoting - Grande West's own investor presentations. This article is not an in-depth research piece.

 

Dan

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19 hours ago, smallspy said:

Of course it's rosy. Look at what they are quoting - Grande West's own investor presentations. This article is not an in-depth research piece.

 

Dan

I'm disappointed in Bloomberg. I agree, it looks like they did little more here than reprint the company's own talking points. There was one quote from El Dorado but no mention of the NFI MiDi  or Proterra's composite body bus.

Questions to ask before investing in this company--by buying buses or buying stock:

What makes the Vicinity "shell" lighter and what might be the disadvantages of that, if any?

Who has run these buses the longest and what has been their experience in terms of maintenance and durability?

What exactly is the selling price of a made-in the-USA 30 ft. Vicinity? What is the selling price of a 30 ft. NFI MiDi? What about a 30 ft. Gillig? (comparatively equipped, of course)

What do the Altoona reports actually say about the durability and fuel economy of these different buses?

 

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3 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

What makes the Vicinity "shell" lighter and what might be the disadvantages of that, if any?

 

When I look at their statistics in this article, it would appear that they are attempting to compare the Vicinity to larger models like Xcelcior and LFS. In actual fact, the Vicinity shouldn't be that much lighter, cheaper, or fuel efficient than MIDIs or El-Dorados, but it is when compared with vehicles outside of its class. There are many agencies across North America who use 40ft or 35ft heavy duty buses on routes that could be run more efficiently with smaller buses like the Vicinity. I think thats an additional clientele Grande West is targeting, aside from those agencies looking for a larger yet inexpensive replacement for cutaways.

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Good point WMATA! Looks like they are comparing the 30 foot Vicinity to a 40 foot bus, which is a little misleading. In the past, the conclusion has been that the market for 30 foot buses just isn't that big. Maybe something has changed, or maybe it hasn't. The biggest cost is still the driver and you have to have buses for the busiest times and the busiest routes.

Arboc is another company that is probably part of this conversation and competition then. As Mike has already pointed out, Nova is not the one losing business here.

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With the demise of the New Flyer MiDi, I wonder if New Flyer could show interest in buying Grande West.  Nova may show interest as well considering they don't offer a 30-foot or 35-foot bus.

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On 5/11/2017 at 11:39 AM, ABQ RIDE said:

With the demise of the New Flyer MiDi, I wonder if New Flyer could show interest in buying Grande West.  Nova may show interest as well considering they don't offer a 30-foot or 35-foot bus.

I'm almost certain if New Flyer buys them, they would increase the price of the buses. 

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On 2017-5-11 at 11:39 AM, ABQ RIDE said:

With the demise of the New Flyer MiDi, I wonder if New Flyer could show interest in buying Grande West.  Nova may show interest as well considering they don't offer a 30-foot or 35-foot bus.

Its a new company and they are making good business. They wont sell.

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5 hours ago, TTC 9701 said:

Its a new company and they are making good business. They wont sell.

They would if the price is right. The company is almost a decade old. Not new.

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16 hours ago, Chinese Daniel said:

If vicinity have Allison will be way better in take off.

They have Voith as an option now. That's better for takeoff.

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A article from the Lethbridge Herald with some comments about fuel efficiency. 

 

VICINITY BUSES CATCHING ON 

Is smaller really “better”?

Lethbridge riders and transit officials may now answer that question, with two smaller transit buses providing service on some of the city’s lower-demand routes.

Designed in Canada but built in China, the smooth-sided Vicinity buses carried their first passengers here on shuttle service to the air show. They’ve since taken their turn on several runs, mainly newer routes serving westside communities.

And so far, says Lethbridge Transit operations manager Scott Grieco, the response to the shorter buses has been positive. Passengers like their quiet operation and their smooth “air” ride, while drivers appreciate their forward visibility and shorter wheelbase — especially helpful in traffic circles.

The 30-foot Vicinity coaches also cost less to buy, and use significantly less fuel. But Grieco says only time will tell how long they perform under Lethbridge conditions. While today’s full-sized, 40-foot buses are expected to provide 18 years of service, he points out, these smaller ones are rated at 12.

By comparison, some of the high-floor General Motors buses ran here for 27 years. Some of those oldtimers remain in use in other Canadian cities, but communities as far east as Nova Scotia have ordered Vicinity buses for service on local, lower-demand routes.

Completed and marketed by Grande West Transportation, based in Aldergrove, the Vicinity buses have been in operation in some areas of British Columbia since 2013. They made their debut appearance in 2010 as part of the Vancouver Winter Games transport network.
Grande West officials say their company was formed to create “a Canadian designed community shuttle bus” to meet a demand for smaller vehicles — a need not being met by existing manufacturers. Its designers took their cues from B.C. Transit, which provides transit service to communities as different as Nakusp, Nelson and Nanaimo.

And they apparently found the sweet spot. Their 30-foot buses now run in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and another three dozen communities across the nation. Earlier this year, Grande West entered the U.S. market as well.
While the lightweight, uni-body vehicle is built by the Waichai industrial group in Yangzhou, China, it’s fitted with a clean-burning Cummins diesel engine and other North American drivetrain components — the same as Lethbridge Transit’s other buses — at a plant in Aldergrove, east of Vancouver. Grieco says the Lethbridge-ordered models also provide air conditioning, the latest in wheelchair securing equipment, and a rolling access front-door ramp along with the ability to “kneel.”

While the Vicinity coaches have been in service here for just a few weeks, Grieco reports their fuel savings are already obvious: They’ve been getting 2.7 km on a litre of fuel, compared with 2.05 km for their bigger stablemates. Over one year, with buses typically covering 60,000 km in Lethbridge, that could translate into per-vehicle fuel savings of $7,127 at today’s prices.

And that’s after paying about 22 per cent less for each bus, he adds.

But are they a good investment, long-term?
“We’ll have to wait and see.”

Looking back to an earlier fuel-saving initiative, Grieco says the city’s five diesel-electric “hybrid” buses continue to perform well. The full-sized New Flyer hybrids cost about 50 per cent more to buy than conventional diesel models — a cost covered by government grants — but they burn less fuel and generate fewer emissions.

The hybrids, which entered service here in 2012, are built to the same durability standards as the city’s other New Flyer and Nova coaches. But their batteries might have to be replaced several times over that 18-year period, Grieco points out.
And that could be expensive.

Follow @DMabellHerald on Twitter

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