Alexander Dennis Inc (ADI) has increased its North American footprint with a multi-million dollar investment in a manufacturing hub in Nappanee, Indiana. ADI is part of the North American arm of Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL). The business had engaged with a contract manufacturer to produce double deck buses in Nappanee since September 2014 but from 29 December 2016, ownership of assets and the facility lease wholly transitioned to ADI who take over the entire operation. ADI will invest in excess of $1.5m/£1.23m to transform the existing facility with an improved customer reception area, office space and team member facilities. This project is due for completion by March 2017. The team in North America will number in excess of 250 full time members occupying a combined parts and manufacturing footprint of over 251,000 square feet.
ADI will optimise manufacturing efficiency by consolidating all operations at the Nappanee site into one 127,000 square foot building rather than the previous smaller footprint spread over multiple buildings. A second body assembly line to be added to the existing two lines (one chassis, one body) is expected to more than double weekly output. One body assembly line will focus on what the company describes as the world’s best selling tri-axle double deck, the Enviro500 4.1m model, the other on the new Enviro500 SuperLo.
The Enviro500 has met with success in cities around the world, with ADL describing it as ‘extremely popular with passengers, drivers and operations teams alike’. The vehicle does well in North America, where it forms the backbone of fleets in Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Ottawa and Toronto. ADL says a further iteration of this model, the Enviro500 SuperLo, at a low height of 3.9m, will ‘transform the interurban transport landscape across the continent’ by resolving the challenge of low bridge restrictions which had previously curtailed double deck services on some routes. With an innovative chassis design, the height saving has been achieved while maintaining the current, spacious interior saloon dimensions designed to maximise passenger comfort.
Metrolinx, the Government of Ontario’s transportation authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, who already have a significant fleet of Enviro500 buses, placed an order for ADL Enviro500 SuperLo double deck buses in November 2014, with the first vehicles in service since summer 2016.