North American Bus Industries

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North American Bus Industries (NABI)
NABI logo.png
Company Type Private
Foundation 1989
Location Anniston, Alabama, United States
Area Served United States
Parent New Flyer Industries
Industry Bus manufacturing
Products Transit buses

North American Bus Industries originally was an independent manufacturer before the purchase by Cerberus Capital Management. They manufactured a variety of products sold in the United States. They were based in Anniston, AL, USA, which is now where North American Bus Industries, Inc. is headquartered. Since June 21, 2013, the company has been a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries.


At the end of the 1970s, Ikarus Coach and Body Works and Crown Coach Corporation entered into an agreement to sell an articulated bus in the United States. Designated as the model 286, it was a derivative of Ikarus's existing articulated bus and adapted for the American market. A similar agreement was made with Ontario Bus Industries in 1984.[1] The joint venture would end in 1987 with Crown and in 1989 with Ontario Bus amid a number of quality and construction problems.

In the wake of the problems with the 286, Ikarus regrouped and entered into an agreement with Union City Body Company of Union City, Indiana, to market and assemble a new bus for the American market. Ikarus USA was formed as a subsidiary of Union City Body Company in 1989 and launched their new product, the 416, followed by the articulated 436. However, the end of the Cold War led to the financial decline of Ikarus in Europe and uncertainty with its future. Union City Body Company eventually declared bankruptcy in 1992, ceasing operations in August of that year.[2]

Hungarian-born United States resident Peter Rona created the First Hungary Fund to capitalize on what he saw as a wealth of knowledge in his home country. In August 1992, he purchased Union City Body Company. American Ikarus was created and owned by a new holding company called North American Bus Industries. Rona offered 25 percent of American Ikarus to Ikarus of Hungary in return for one of their properties.[3]

Though American Ikarus was more successful than its predecessors, by the mid-1990s Ikarus decided that they wanted to leave the North American market given increased competition in Europe. In 1997, Rona bought back Ikarus's 25 percent stake, and American Ikarus was renamed North American Bus Industries (NABI).[3]

NABI introduced their first low floor bus in 1997. The 40-foot 40-LFW had a low floor front section with steps up to a high floor section before the rear wheels.

In the late 1990s, NABI secured an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with TPI Composites for the use of the Seaman Composite Resin Infused Molding Process (SCRIMP) to manufacture heavy-duty buses. NABI introduced the 40C-LFW at the 1999 Union of Public Transport City Transport Expo in Toronto, Ontario. The bus's composite body was made from a glass- and carbon-fiber reinforced, vinyl-ester resin laminate. This resulted in a lightweight, one-piece body.[4]

In January 2000, NABI purchased Optare Holdings Ltd., a manufacturer of buses based in the United Kingdom. This gave NABI access to the European market as well as new product offerings. The Optare Solo was introduced to the North American market as the NABI 30-LFN. While sales looked promising, NABI only sold approximately 170 30-LFN buses. In 2005 NABI sold Optare to a management team led by two Optare executives for approximately US$20.7 million.[5]

In February 2006, NABI and its parent company, NABI Rt. in Budapest, Hungary, were acquired by Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based private equity fund manager.

On August 21, 2006, NABI announced their purchase of Optima Bus Corporation for a undisclosed amount. This added the popular Opus low-floor midibus and American Heritage replica streetcar (rubber-tired trackless) to NABI's roster. Production remained in Wichita and the products kept the Optima name. However almost a year later on June 6, 2007, it was announced that Optima Bus Corporation would cease operations in Kansas and move operations to Anniston, Alabama.[6]

On August 25, 2006, Cerberus announced the acquisition of Blue Bird Corporation. Their transit bus product lines were acquired by NABI, and production was eventually moved to their Anniston, Alabama facility.

Production of the Optima and Blue Bird transit product lines were idled in 2009. They never resumed and were discontinued.

On June 21, 2013, Cerberus sold NABI to New Flyer Industries, and subsequently, NABI became a subsidiary of New Flyer.[7] A year later, New Flyer announced the discontinuation of NABI's product line. Existing orders were filled into 2015, and remaining orders were converted to New Flyer's product line.

Product line

BRT Style Low Floor

Composite Low Floor

High Floor

  • 416 (40-SFW) (1997-2014)
  • 436 (60-SFW) (1997-2002)

Low Floor


  1. "COMPANY NEWS Ontario Bus Gets Contract." The Globe and Mail, 1984.
  2. Burger, Frederick. "Ikarus' Owners File Chapter 11." Anniston Star, 1992.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hofheinz, Paul. Reverse Engineers: Hungarians Design Buses Made in the U.S. 11 April 2000. The Wall Street Journal.
  4. Henke, Cliff (May 2005). The Death of a Radical Idea. Metro Magazine (Torrence).
  5. NABI sells Optare. Metro Magazine.
  6. [1]
NABI - a brand of New Flyer Industries
(all models discontinued as of 2015)
High Floor 416436
Low Floor (LFW) 30-LFN31-LFW35-LFW40-LFW60-LFW
Low Floor (BRT) 37-BRT42-BRT60-BRT65-BRT
Low Floor (Composite) 30C-LF40C-LFWMetro 45C (45C-LFW)
Transit Buses
Types Articulated Bus · Bus Rapid Transit · Double Decker Bus · Low Floor Bus · Highway Coach · Shuttle Bus · Trolley Bus
Fuel Compressed Natural Gas · Diesel · Diesel-Electric Hybrid · Gasoline · Hydrogen Fuel Cell · Liquified Natural Gas
Manufacturers Alexander Dennis · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Commercial Truck Equipment Co. · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Ford · Gillig · IC Bus · Motor Coach Industries · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion International · Prevost Car · Proterra · Scania · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · Thomas Built Buses · Van Hool · Volvo Buses
VIN Pages Alexander Dennis · American Ikarus · AM General · APS Systems · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Champion · Crown Coach Corporation · Crown Ikarus · Designline · Eagle · Ebus · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Flxible · Flyer Industries · Ford · General Motors · Gillig · Graf & Stift · Greenpower Motor Company · IC Bus · Ikarus USA · Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg · Millennium Transit Services · Motor Coach Industries · National Coach Corporation · Neoplan USA · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion Bus Industries · Prevost Car · Proterra · Saab-Scania · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · TEMSA · Thomas Built Buses · Transportation Manufacturing Corporation · TransBus International · Van Hool · Volvo Buses · Western Flyer Coach