Orion International

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Orion International
company logo Orion Logo-a.png
company type Private
owner Daimler AG
foundation 1975
location 350 Hazelhurst Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5J 4T8
key people Dr. Andreas Strecker, President and CEO
Patrick Scully, Chief Commercial Officer
area served Canada, United States
employees 1,400 (US and Canada)
industry Bus building
products Transit Buses
parent Daimler AG
homepage www.orionbus.com

Orion International was a Mississauga, Ontario, Canada-based bus manufacturer. Before its closing, Orion was a Daimler company and brand of Daimler Buses North America.


In the 1970s, Arnold Wollschlaeger's company Ontario Truck and Bus Industries was contracted by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation to assemble and retrofit minibuses for the Ontario Government's Dial-a-Bus program. These buses were recreational vehicles that were adapted for transit use. Wollschlaeger decided to develop a purpose-built, small-sized transit bus that would be used by small transit agencies. The resulting design was the Orion, introduced in 1976. The following year, the company became known as Ontario Bus Industries.[1]

Donald Sheardown acquired the company in 1979. He expanded into the United States, forming Bus Industries of America in 1981. A plant in Oriskany, New York was built in 1982 and allowed for buses to be produced that met the requirements for government funding.[2]

By the early 1990s, Ontario Bus Industries was experiencing serious financial troubles. The company relied on loans from the Ontario Government and eventually defaulted. After eventually forgiving $66 million in loans and adding in $15 million in new capital, the government took control of the company.[3] However, they soon began looking for a buyer. Kelowna-based Western Star Trucks eventually purchased Ontario Bus Industries and its American subsidiary in 1995.[4][5] The company was renamed Orion Bus Industries.

In July 2000, Western Star and Orion were acquired by DaimlerChrysler through its subsidiary Freightliner.[6] DaimerChrysler, who had also acquired Thomas Built Buses through Freightliner in 1998, reorganized its bus business in North America into a new division known as DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America. After Chrysler was sold in 2007, the division's name was changed to Daimler Buses North America. Orion Bus Industries was renamed Orion International in early 2009.

On April 25, 2012, Daimler announced they were restructuring their operations in North America. As a result, production of Orion transit buses would end after the remaining orders were completed.[7] Daimler cited a slowdown in the transit market for ending operations at Orion and did not forecast an improvement in the immediate future. The Mississauga facility was closed in 2013, while the Oriskany facility remained open as a parts and service centre.[8][9] The aftermarket parts business was soon purchased by New Flyer Industries for approximately $29 Million.[10]


Current (upon closure)

  • Mississauga, ON (350 Hazelhurst Rd., Mississauga, ON) - Headquarters & chassis/body assembly (1997-2013)
  • Oriskany, NY (165 Base Rd., Oriskany, NY) - seating, engines, transmissions, axles, electrical, HVAC, other final finish components and testing.


  • Mississauga, ON (5395 Maingate Dr., Mississauga, ON) - Headquarters (1973-1997)
  • Mississauga, ON (1213 Lorimar Dr., Mississauga, ON) - Truck and Service Centre (late 1980s-?)
  • Mississauga, ON (3301 Wolfdale Rd., Missisauga, ON) - Headquarters (1967?-1973), later became Mississauga Transit's first yard


  • Orion I - Conventional, high-floor, 30 to 40-foot transit bus (1976-1993)
  • Orion II - Low-floor shuttle bus (1983-2003)
  • Orion III - High-floor articulated bus (1985-1989)
  • Orion IV - High-floor people mover, tractor/trailer configuration (1985-1989)
  • Orion V - Conventional high-floor, 32 to 40-foot transit bus (1989-2009)
  • Orion VI - 100% low-floor, conventional, 40-foot transit bus (1995-2004)
  • Orion VII - Low-floor, 32 to 40-foot conventional transit bus (2001-2007)
  • Orion VII Next Generation - Low-floor, 32 to 40-foot conventional transit bus (2007-Q3 2010)
  • Orion VII EPA10 - Low-floor, 32 to 40-foot conventional transit bus (Q4 2010-2012)


  1. A Brief History of Orion Bus Industries. Transit Toronto.
  2. Orion corporate history. Retrieved 07 August 2009.
  3. Willis, Andrew. “The end of interventionism.” MacLean’s Magazine, 12 June 1995.
  4. SAUNDERS, JOHN. "Ontario Bus Deal Imminent Western Star Plans Rescue Operation." The Globe and Mail, 1995.
  5. Ontario Bus Deal Closes Today Despite TTC Revolt. CTV Television, Inc, Toronto, 1995.
  6. Smith, John G. "Freightliner Buys Western Star, Orion." Truck West, vol. 11, no. 8, 2000, pp. 6.
  7. Daimler Buses Reconfigures Operations in North America (Press release). Canadian Newswire. 25 April 2012. Retrieved on 25 April 2012.
  8. 25 April 2012. Daimler closing Ontario bus factory that supplies TTC. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on 27 April 2012.
  9. Swain, Glenn (25 April 2012). Daimler ends Orion production. BUSRide Magazine. Retrieved on 27 April 2012
  10. "New Flyer Buys the Orion Aftermarket Parts Business of Daimler Bus for US$29M." The Canadian Press, 2013.

External links

Orion Bus Industries / Orion International
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Orion I Orion II Orion III Orion IV Orion V Orion VI Orion VII Orion VII NG Orion VII EPA10
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