Production of Plaxton coach models is restarting at Alexander Dennis’s Scarborough factory sooner than anticipated after a rebound in customer demand.
“Coach production stopped in summer 2021 once existing orders had been fulfilled and sufficient stock had been built up to tide us over,” says a spokesperson. “We had then expected the break to last a year or more, but demand has since returned more strongly, which allows us to make this move now.” ADL adds that sales of stock coaches have continued since that temporary halt.
89 Plaxton coaches were delivered to operators in 2021, which ADL says was in defiance of a cautious market. It has highlighted particular success on the island of Ireland, where 15 Leopards were supplied to Northern Ireland’s Education Authority in addition to 14 Panthers that went to independent coach operators in the Republic of Ireland. ADL has also seen strong success with bus sales in the latter market.
Thanks to the restart of coach production, Plaxton will offer stock Leopard and Panther coach models from April onwards, all built on Volvo B8R chassis. The Leopards will be a mix of 12.2m and 12.8m models, with 2+2 and 2+3 seating configurations for up to 72 passengers and PSVAR compliance. Chassis will have either Volvo’s I-Shift gearbox or the ZF EcoLife.
The limited number of Panthers available at that point will also comply with PSVAR and be 12.8m examples seating between 53 and 61, depending on specification. All the Panthers will be mounted on chassis with I-Shift transmission.
Adds ADL General Manager New and Used Coach Sales Simon Wood: “The coach industry has had a tough time over the last two years, so we are glad to see signs of recovery.
“The versatility of our Plaxton Leopard gives operators the confidence that they will continue to earn their keep even if the type of work changes. With the range of specifications we will have available from this spring, there is no businesses that we cannot support.”