Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Daimler shuts down bus plant amid plan to close depressed business

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Daimler AG is closing a bus plant in Mississauga, Ont., as part of a plan to shut down its North American transit bus business due to weak demand.

The plant currently employs 390 people.

The German company said Wednesday it will immediately stop taking orders for its Orion buses and look to close the Toronto-area plant once it completes its current orders over the next year.

A plant in Oriskany, N.Y., will continue operations as a parts and field service location.

Daimler said the decision follows expectations the transit bus business will remain depressed for the next several years.

"Daimler Buses considered all possible options for reconfiguring our transit bus operations in North America, but at the end of the day, Orion is facing a situation where the cost position is not competitive," Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses, said in a statement.

"The local market is in a continued slump, and growth opportunities are not available from selling the product overseas."

Daimler also said Wednesday it has signed a deal with Motor Coach Industries International Inc. that will see MCI become the exclusive North American distributor of the Setra S407 and S417 German-manufactured premium motorcoaches.

The German company will take a minority stake in MCI under the strategic partnership agreement to combine MCI's product, service and sales network with Setra's North American coach distribution rights and network.

Daimler, best know for its Mercedes-Benz cars, employs more than 271,000 around the world.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2012 B5

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