Coachworks Holdings Inc., Fort Valley, Ga., has shut down production of luxury Blue Bird Wanderlodge buses and is selling off assets, according to a reliable source.
Coachworks Holdings declined comment.
School bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp., which sold its Class A RV and Express seated bus business to Coachworks Holdings in 2007, issued a statement on Monday (April 27) refuting rumors that it was going out of business. “We no longer have a financial connection with this unrelated business entity (Coachworks Holdings) as it is a completely separate company,” the Blue Bird Corp. statement said. “Blue Bird Corp. is as strong as ever and in excellent financial shape.”
Coachworks Holdings built custom-made Wanderlodge Premier XL Class A buses, which went back into production last fall after a year-long hiatus.
The original Blue Bird Body Co., was founded in 1927 by Albert L. Luce Sr. to build all-steel school buses, which previously had been assembled with wood. The Blue Bird Wanderlodge Class A motorhome was introduced in 1963, and Blue Bird Body began building commercial buses in the 1970s.
A management group bought the Blue Bird company in 1992, and in 1999 Blue Bird Body was sold to Great Britain-based Henlys Group PLC, which also owned Volvo and had an ownership interest in Canada’s Prevost Car Co., a Blue Bird Wanderlodge competitor.
After running into financial problems, Blue Bird filed for bankruptcy in 2006, after which its assets were acquired by investment firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, the current owner of Chrysler Holdings Inc.
In 2007, Cerberus sold the Blue Bird RV and commercial bus division to Coachworks Holdings a sister company to Complete Coach Works Inc., a 22-year-old California company that specializes in refurbishing and selling used transit buses.