North American Bus Industries Metro 45C

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NABI 45C-LFW / Metro 45C
Metro 45C CNG
Years of manufacture 2002, 2003-2005, 2008-2013
Length 45 feet
Width 102 inches
Power/Fuel Diesel, Diesel Electric Hybrid, CNG/LNG

The North American Bus Industries Metro 45C (introduced as the 45C-LFW) is a 45-foot low floor composite transit bus or "Compobus". The bus' composite body is made from a combination of fibreglass and vinyl-ester resin laminate. This results in a lightweight, one piece body.


Following the development of their 40C-LFW, NABI was commissioned by the City of Phoenix to develop a higher capacity BRT vehicle. Because CNG engines for articulated buses were not available at the time, a 45 foot length was specified. The lighter weight of the composite structure allowed the curb weight to be roughly that of a 40-foot steel bus. The reduced weight also allowed for the use of two axles. In addition, the opportunity was taken to give the bus a unique, striking appearance.[1]

In 2002, NABI applied for a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) 10-year waiver of Buy America regulations for content and final assembly. NABI made its case by stating the bus would spur an increase in ridership, support advanced propulsion development, and have higher crash resistance. The FTA approved the waiver, but for two years, in March 2002. A new Compobus plant was built in Kaposvar, Hungary where the buses were produced.[2]

Parts had to be shipped from the United States to Hungary where they were installed, and the whole bus was shipped back to the US for delivery. Adding to the time to build the bus was the composite process which NABI was unsuccessful to streamline. The use of heavy-duty equipment and agency specification for heavier features such as stainless steel seating, reduced the weight savings to only 2,000 pounds lighter than their conventional 40-foot model. The unexpected manufacturing costs were figured into NABI’s pricing with the early CompoBus customers. As the Hungarian Forint appreciated rapidly against the US dollar later in production, goods in Europe became more expensive. However, prices were set at time of contract award. NABI began raising the price of the Compobus. Soon, the only benefit of the 45C-LFW became the increased capacity. NABI did not receive further orders after Los Angeles. The Buy America waiver expired in March 2004 and was not renewed by the FTA. NABI could not transfer the production of the Compobus to the US, and the 45C-LFW was discontinued in 2005.[2]

Los Angeles was impressed with the 45C-LFW's capacity and weight savings as well as its attractive styling. The LACMTA announced in April 2008 that it had approved the purchase of up to 250 buses. They used non-federal funds to purchase the buses, which were still built overseas.[3] The bus was relaunched as the Metro 45C and offered with a diesel-electric hybrid option.

In 2013, NABI elected to moved all of its operations to the United States and departed Hungary. Work on the final Metro 45C, which was bound for Los Angeles, took place on April 30. Los Angeles was the only customer of the bus since its revival. The Metro 45C was discontinued after the Los Angeles order was fulfilled.[4]




United States Flag of the United States.png

Demonstrator/Engineering Units

Thumbnail Build
VIN Engine Transmission Notes
2002 1N945CLFX2A140784 Detroit Diesel Series 50G Allison B400R
  • Prototype
  • Submitted for Altoona Testing


  1. Henke, Cliff (May 2005). The Death of a Radical Idea. Metro Magazine (Torrence). Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henke, Cliff (June 2005). The Death of a Radical Idea Part 2. Metro Magazine (Torrence). Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  3. Henke, Cliff (September 2008). Reviving a Radical. Metro Magazine (Torrence). Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  4. NABI production now entirely in USA (Press release). 13 May 2013. North American Bus Industries. Retrieved on 02 July 2013.
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)