Forest River Inc. announced the acquisition of certain assets of the Startrans Bus division from Supreme Industries Inc. According to a news release, Startrans Bus is a major builder of small to midsize shuttle buses for both the public and private transportation markets in the U.S.
Forest River’s latest acquisition will be manufactured in one of their 100,000 square-foot plants in Goshen, Ind. David Wright, president of the new Startrans Bus division, noted, “Production of Startrans buses will resume April 14 after the transfer of machinery, inventory and equipment from their current Goshen facility.”
Wright would not provide 2014 production estimates yet for Startrans Bus, but is optimistic that 2014 output will exceed the 1,000 buses manufactured in 2013. “The combination of Startrans’ strong dealer base, brand loyalty and Forest River’s manufacturing expertise should quickly return Startrans to the forefront of the shuttle bus market,” he said. “We’ve interviewed and offered positions to several current Startrans Bus employees, however we do not yet have an exact count on how many of their employees will actually be joining Forest River. The acquisition of Supreme Industries’ bus division will likely add about 80 jobs overall once our hiring is complete.”
Wright added, “The recent expansion of our facilities has given us an opportunity to provide additional capacity for future growth in our bus divisions. In addition, we will be able to leverage economies of scale created by sharing our paint, PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) and chassis facilities for several of our bus divisions. We are excited about the strong potential for growth as we integrate Startrans Bus into our Forest River facilities.”
Startrans bus design, production, purchasing, quality control, sales and marketing will all be kept as a separate unit from other Forest River bus divisions.
Of Forest River’s four bus divisions, Starcraft Bus and now Startrans Bus will be built in Goshen. The Glaval Bus and Elkhart Coach bus divisions are built at Forest River plants in nearby Elkhart. Forest River’s other main business units include recreational vehicles, pontoon boats and cargo trailers.
Forest River, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.