Morristown, Tennessee – Belgium-based bus maker Van Hool plans to build a $47 million plant in Tennessee, its first facility in North America and only its second outside of Belgium (it has a plant in Macedonia).
Once the facility is operational in the first quarter of 2020, Van Hool will employ 600 and manufacture around 400 buses and commuter coaches annually for North American public transportation.
Van Hool CEO Filip Van Hool says, "We have over 30 years of experience in the North American market where we have been successful with buses and coaches for private companies. We’ve delivered over 11,000 vehicles in North America since 1987. Based on this experience and through market research, we have learned that the public transportation market, with a total annual potential of 6,000 to 8,000 vehicles, offers opportunities for Van Hool.”
The 1982 Buy America Act requires vehicles supplied to public authorities to be assembled in the U.S., contain 70% of their parts from American suppliers and 100% American steel.
Van Hool adds, “The presence of highly-respected technical schools and well-trained employees, together with the support and cooperation of all the local stakeholders in Morristown, Hamblen County, and Tennessee, convinced Van Hool's executive board to make the largest investment outside of Belgium in Van Hool’s 71-year history."
He adds that the investments in North American should create opportunities for employees in Belgium and Macedonia.
”This new type of bus will be fully designed and developed by the engineers at the design office in Koningshooikt (Belgium). Moreover, in the run-up to starting production in Morristown, in the first quarter of 2020, a comprehensive training program is being developed for the new American employees who will come to Europe over the course of 2019. Our experienced employees will familiarize their new American colleagues with the high-quality norms and standards of Van Hool vehicles," Van Hool adds.
Van Hool is an independent Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer. The company, which was founded in 1947, is based in Koningshooikt, Belgium. The majority of its production is destined for Europe and America. Van Hool has around 4,450 staff worldwide.