Grande West distributor Alliance Bus Group already makes Vicinity buses for municipalities that need vehicles that meet Federal Transit Administration Buy American requirements. However, in an investor presentation in April, Grande West officials noted they have a backlog of more than 160 vehicles with most of that demand coming from U.S. customers.
"This contract is a tremendous opportunity for Spartan to utilize our highly talented team and best-in-class facilities and processes to enter into a new sector of vehicle manufacturing," said Steve Guillaume, president of Spartan Specialty Vehicles.
Spartan is best known for its firetrucks, though it also makes RV chassis and shuttle buses, and the company upfits commercial chassis for delivery vans and commercial trucks. Its Utilimaster brand markets electric delivery vans.
Grande West's Vicinity bus is a heavy-duty, mid-size, community transit bus – a less-expensive option than traditional 40ft models.
Grande West CEO Jean-Marc Landry said, "We now have the production capacity and partnerships in place to accelerate our U.S. and Canadian market growth initiatives. The combination of Spartan's well-established and skilled manufacturing team along with its competitive production cost profile enables us to streamline our assembly processes and leverage purchasing efficiencies."