Navistar International Corporation officially opened its new $45 million school bus manufacturing facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 6.
The nearly 1-million-square-foot plant currently employs more than 400 workers to assemble the International integrated conventional school bus. An integrated chassis design combines the chassis, bus body and school bus part components to deliver customer value in the areas of improved visibility, ergonomics and operating economy.
"This plant is key to keeping our school bus business the leader in the industry," said John Horne, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Producing the chassis and the bus body under one roof will enhance the product quality, increase efficiency and improve responsiveness to meet our customers' business needs."
The Tulsa facility, under the operation of American Transportation of Oklahoma LLC, is the first to be built solely for the production of the International integrated chassis school bus. The investment in new equipment will increase efficiency in the manufacturing process by eliminating complexity. Some of the new features include a state-of-the-art paint system and an automated system to cut roof hatches prior to paint and seat installation.
The bus facility is located on the site of a former Douglas Aircraft Company plant that built B-24 bombers for the Army Air Corps during World War II. Interestingly, Navistar owns a diesel engine manufacturing facility in Melrose Park, Ill. that built engines for the B-24 bomber.
Navistar traces its school bus origins to 1907 when the brand was first used on the company's school buses. The company says it has a 60% market share.