The long-term recovery continues in the motorcoach industry after COVID as the American Bus Association Foundation (ABAF) released the First Quarter 2021 Motorcoach Builders Survey. Based on surveys of the major motorcoach manufacturers that sell vehicles in North America (U.S. and Canada), motorcoach sales from the participating manufacturers saw a drop of 52 percent in sales over Q1 2020. The biggest drop in sales came in the midsize bus (40-44-feet) dropping from 67 buses sold in 2020 to only 3 sold in Q1 2021. Forty-five foot buses saw a decrease of 37 percent falling from 244 to 153 quarter-over-quarter. The small bus market saw a drop of 76 percent falling from 38 units to 9 units sold.
Pre-owned sales over the same period fell by 52 percent from sales in Q1 2020 at 219 down to 105 in Q1 2021.
“The COVID pandemic not only decimated bus companies but also the suppliers who service the industry as well,” said Peter Pantuso, president of the ABA Foundation. “If buses are not running and industry companies are shuttering their businesses, then they are not buying buses. This effect will be felt by the supplier sector of the industry for some time as companies struggle to get back up and running with little help from the government.
Pantuso continued: “The bus industry is the greenest and most affordable transportation sector and was moving more than 600 million passengers annually before the pandemic. If the United States wants to rebound from the effects of the pandemic and get Americans working again, it needs to support the motorcoach industry and its suppliers.”
Data were collected by New York City-based economic consulting firm John Dunham & Associates for the American Bus Association Foundation.
There is some positive news on the operator side. In addition to more motorcoach companies seeing increased business, the opening of the long-awaited CERTS Act funding application process is imminent. To prepare those companies that are planning on taking advantage of the non-competitive grants, ABA staff is hosting a CERTS information webinar on May 19 at 11:00 a.m. ET. The application window is only expected to last four weeks once available, and funding is limited, so being prepared to pull the trigger with the requisite information is critical. For more information about the session, including registration, click here.
Visit buses.org for more information.