Orion Bus Industries

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Formerly
Ontario Bus Industries
Subsidiary
IndustryBus building
FateVoluntary closure/market exit
Founded1975
Defunct2013
HeadquartersMississauga, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Canada, United States
Key people
Rich Ferguson (CEO)
ProductsTransit buses
Owner
Number of employees
1,400 (US and Canada)
ParentNew Flyer (aftermarket business only)
Websiteorionbus.com/orion (archived link)

Orion Bus Industries, formerly Ontario Bus Industries in Canada and Bus Industries of America in the United States, was a privately owned bus manufacturer based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Until 1995, the word Orion was only a model or brand name, not part of the company's name. It was renamed DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America in 2006, but continued to market its products under the Orion name.[1]

The company had its main manufacturing plant in Mississauga and sent bus body shells to their plant in Oriskany, New York, for final assembly and testing of vehicles destined for U.S. markets.[2]

Corporate history[edit]

The company was founded in Mississauga in 1975 as Ontario Bus and Truck, Inc.,[1][3] a private company led by Arnold Wollschlaeger.[4] It was renamed Ontario Bus Industries (OBI) in 1977 and introduced its first prototype bus in 1978, under the model name Orion I.[1] Don Sheardown purchased the company from Wollschlaeger's estate in 1979.[4][5] A U.S. subsidiary named Bus Industries of America, wholly owned by Ontario Bus Industries, was incorporated in 1981 in Oriskany, New York, to serve the U.S. market.[1] Subsequent models built by OBI or BIA continued to use the "Orion" brand name, with the Orion II being introduced in 1983 as the first low-floor heavy duty bus[5] and the prototype Orion VI, the company's first low-floor bus, being produced in 1993.[1]

At its height in the early 1990s, Ontario Bus Industries employed 1,200 at its Mississauga and Oriskany plants,[5] producing 900 buses per year. OBI was taken over by the Ontario Government in 1994 for loan arrears; by that time, the Mississauga plant only had 165 employees. The $81 million investment, which consisted of forgiving $66M in loans and an additional $15M investment, was criticized by Monte Kwinter as "a total disaster".[6] It was sold in 1995 to Western Star Truck Holdings of Kelowna for $35M, which also acquired OBI subsidiary Bus Industries of America, and Western Star adopted a new, single name for both companies, Orion Bus Industries.[1]

In July 2000, parent company Western Star Trucks was acquired by Freightliner, a division of DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG), and became part of the group Daimler Buses North America.[3][7] In 2006, Orion Bus Industries was renamed DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America.[1] It continued to market its buses under the "Orion" brand name.

On April 25, 2012, the company announced it would stop taking orders for new buses, and the Mississauga and Oriskany plants would close once outstanding orders were fulfilled.[8][9] The closure took union officials by surprise; CAW had just signed a one-year extension on April 1 for the Mississauga plant.[3] It was announced that more than 530 workers will be laid off in the Mississauga and Oriskany plants.[10] The Mississauga workers staged a wildcat work stoppage to protest in employee frustration at the slow pace of winding-down talks.[11][12] New Flyer assumed some outstanding orders with Orion for New York City Transit and King County Metro.[13]

The Oriskany plant was initially retained for aftermarket parts and support for Orion bus operators,[8][14] until New Flyer acquired that business from Daimler Buses in 2013.[13] The New York location also performed repairs, including a retrofit program with BAE Systems for recalled hybrid-electric buses using BAE's HybriDrive system, until it was refitted as an assembly facility for New Flyer buses.[15]

The sales and closures were part of the closure of Daimler Buses North America; only Daimler's imported Setra buses continued to be marketed in North America although distribution rights were taken over by Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in exchange for a minority stake in MCI.[8][14] MCI itself was purchased by New Flyer in 2015,[16] and the Setra distribution rights lasted until January 2018, when the REV Group took over distribution.[17][18]

Product lineup[edit]

Orion manufactured a number of different models of buses over its 37-year existence. A list of models is given below; each increasing number is the next generation model.

Most buses today in service are of the Orion V or VII models. Orion also marketed the Thomas Dennis SLF 200 mid-sized bus.[19]

Model Length & Width Picture Produced Fuel type Refs
Orion I
  • 31 ft (9.45 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 35 ft (10.67 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 37 ft (11.28 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 40 ft (12.19 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
DASH Orion I.jpg
West Vancouver Blue Bus 922 clip.jpg
1977–1993
Orion II
  • 21.92 ft (6.68 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 25.92 ft (7.90 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
[citation needed]
EMTA Orion II 0082.jpg
WMATA Orion II.jpg
1983–2003[citation needed] [20][21][22]
Orion III
Orion-Ikarus 286
[a]
60 ft (18.29 m) • 102 in (2.59 m) Crown Ikarus 286, base model used for Orion III 1984–1989
Orion IV
  • Tractor: 37.5 ft (11.43 m) • 98.75 in (2.51 m)
  • Trailer: 35.5 ft (10.82 m) • 98.75 in (2.51 m)
NPC Peoplemover.jpg 1985-1986, 1988–1989
Orion V
  • 32 ft (9.75 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 35 ft (10.67 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 35 ft (10.67 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 40 ft (12.19 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 40 ft (12.19 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
MTA New York City Bus Orion V CNG 9831.jpg
Translink-R9250.jpg
1989–2009 [24][25][26][27][28]
Orion VI 40 ft (12.19 m) • 102 in (2.59 m) Los Angeles MTA 11033a.jpg
NYCT Orion VI 6359 Front.jpg
1995–2004 [29][30]
Orion VII
  • 32.5 ft (9.91 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 35 ft (10.67 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 40.5 ft (12.34 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
Decatur 023.jpg
SF Muni Orion VII.jpg
2001–2007 (original) [31][32][33][34]
MTA Long Island Bus Orion VII Next Generation (2010).jpg
TTC Orion VII NG.JPG
2007–2011 (Next Generation) [35]
King County Metro Orion VII 7012.jpg 2010-2013 (EPA10) [36][37][38]
Notes
  1. ^ Bodies and chassis made by Ikarus to form the Ikarus 286 model, marketed as the Orion-Ikarus in Canada. Ikarus 286 also marketed in the United States as the Crown-Ikarus 286.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The History of Orion Transit Buses". Daimler AG. 2011. Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  2. ^ "Production Locations Overview". DaimlerChrysler. 2003. Archived from the original on April 8, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c Rubin, Josh (April 25, 2012). "Daimler shuts down Mississauga's Orion bus plant after government belt-tightening". Toronto Star. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Bow, James; Lubinski, Robert (August 26, 2017). "A brief history of Orion Bus Industries". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame: William G. Ross Lifetime Achievement Award". Canadian Urban Transit Association. 1994. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. ^ Willis, Andrew (June 12, 1995). "The end of interventionism". Maclean's. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ "We Are Moving People". Daimler Buses North America. Archived from the original on 4 April 2006.
  8. ^ a b c "Daimler Buses Reconfigures Operations in North America" (Press release). Daimler Corporate Communications. April 25, 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  9. ^ Keenan, Greg (April 25, 2012). "Daimler plant closing compounds Canada's manufacturing pain". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "Union Rep: All 538 workers to be laid off at Orion over next two years". WKTV. April 26, 2012. Archived from the original on April 28, 2012.
  11. ^ "Dept. of Labor releases official number of layoffs for Orion Bus". June 22, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26.
  12. ^ Chin, Joseph (May 24, 2012). "Workers off the job at bus making plant". Mississauga.com. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012.
  13. ^ a b "New Flyer buys Orion parts business of Daimler Bus". The Globe and Mail. March 1, 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Future of Orion remains unclear as Daimler gets out of bus business". WKTV. April 25, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-04-28.
  15. ^ Brophy, Jim (July 16, 2016). "Bus Stop Classics: Orion I Thru VII – Cross-Border Cruisers..." Curbside Classic. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  16. ^ "New Flyer buys Motor Coach Industries for $604M Cdn". CBC. November 10, 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Daimler Buses and REV Group team up in North America". Metro: For Transit & Motorcoach Business. January 4, 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  18. ^ "MCI to cease distributing Daimler's Setra coaches". Metro: For Transit & Motorcoach Business. January 4, 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  19. ^ "SLF 200 - Miles ahead in technology, design and economy". DaimlerChrysler. 2003. Archived from the original on April 4, 2005.
  20. ^ STURAA Test: 26' Heavy Duty Bus from Bus Industries of America, Inc.; Orion II Model (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. May 1992. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  21. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion II (Bi-Fueled, Gasoline/CNG) (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. August 1994. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  22. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion Bust Industries, Ltd.; Model Orion II (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. February 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  23. ^ Wilkins, Van (Spring 1986). "Success with a Twist" (feature article about the development and use of articulated buses in North America). Bus World magazine, pp. 7–13. ISSN 0162-9689.
  24. ^ "Orion V High Floor – Economy and durability". DaimlerChrysler. 2003. Archived from the original on March 30, 2005.
  25. ^ Partial STURAA Test: ORION V 40' Heavy Duty Bus from Bus Industries of America (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. July 1990. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  26. ^ STURAA Test: 40' Heavy Duty Bus from Transportation Manufacturing Corporation (TMC) (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. March 1991. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  27. ^ STURAA Test: 35' Heavy Duty Bus from Bus Industries of America; Orion V Model (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. August 1992. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  28. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from OBI, Model 05.501 (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. March 1994. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  29. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from OBI, Model 06.501 (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  30. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion Bus Industries, Model Orion VI Hybrid-Electric (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. June 2001. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Orion VII Low Floor – Easy on Riders. Easy on Operators. Easy on the Environment". DaimlerChrysler. 2003. Archived from the original on April 4, 2005.
  32. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion Bus Industries, Inc,; Model Orion VII (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. January 2002. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  33. ^ Partial STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion Bus Industries, Model Orion VII (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. February 2003. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  34. ^ Partial STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Orion Bus Industries, Model Orion VII (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. December 2003. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  35. ^ "Reliability Meets Beauty: The Orion VII". DaimlerChrysler. 2007. Archived from the original on February 23, 2011.
  36. ^ STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Daimler Buses North America Ltd., Model Orion VII EPA10 (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. November 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  37. ^ Partial STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Daimler Buses North America Ltd., Model Orion VII EPA10 CNG (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. February 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  38. ^ Partial STURAA Test: 12 Year, 500,000 Mile Bus from Daimler Buses North America Ltd., Model Orion VII EPA10 Diesel (PDF) (Report). Altoona, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Bus Testing and Research Center. April 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Hybrid buses[edit]