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Orion Bus Industries

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Orion Bus Industries, formerly Ontario Bus Industries in Canada and Bus Industries of America in the United States, was a privately owned bus manufacturer based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Until 1995, the word Orion was only a model or brand name, not part of the company's name. It was renamed DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America in 2006, but continued to market its products under the Orion name.[1]

Ontario Bus Industries
IndustryBus building
FateVoluntary closure/market exit
HeadquartersMississauga, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Canada, United States
Key people
Rich Ferguson (CEO)
ProductsTransit buses
OwnerDaimler AG (2000-2013)
New Flyer (2013-present; aftermarket business only)
Number of employees
1,400 (US and Canada)
ParentNew Flyer (aftermarket business only)

The company had its main manufacturing plant in Mississauga and sent bus body shells to their plant in Oriskany, New York, for final assembly and testing of vehicles destined for U.S. markets.[citation needed]


Corporate historyEdit

The company was founded in Mississauga in 1975 as Ontario Bus and Truck, Inc.[1] It was renamed Ontario Bus Industries in 1977 and introduced its first prototype bus in 1978, under the model name Orion I.[1] A U.S. subsidiary named Bus Industries of America, wholly owned by Ontario Bus Industries, was incorporated in 1981 in Oriskany, New York, to serve the U.S. market.[1] Subsequent models built by OBI or BIA continued to use the "Orion" brand name, with the Orion II being introduced in 1983 and the prototype Orion VI, the company's first low-floor bus, being produced in 1993.[1]

Ontario Bus Industries was taken over by the Ontario Government in 1994 for loan arrears. It was sold in 1995 to Western Star Truck Holdings of Kelowna, which also acquired OBI subsidiary Bus Industries of America, and Western Star adopted a new, single name for both companies, Orion Bus Industries.[1]

In July 2000, parent company Western Star Trucks was acquired by Daimler Chrysler (now Daimler AG), and became part of the group Daimler Buses North America.[2] In 2006, Orion Bus Industries was renamed DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America.[1] It continued to market its buses under the "Orion" brand name.

On April 25, 2012, the company ceased taking orders for new buses, and the Mississauga plant was closed once outstanding orders were fulfilled.[3]

The Oriskany plant was initially retained for aftermarket support only.[4] Following the sale of that business to New Flyer (which also acquired some of Orion's outstanding orders at the time of shutdown), the fate of the New York location remains unclear although it is still currently[when?] performing repairs, including a retrofit program with BAE Systems for recalled hybrid-electric buses using BAE's HybriDrive system.

The sales and closures were part of the closure of Daimler Buses North America; only Daimler's imported Setra buses continued to be marketed on North America although distribution rights were taken over by Motor Coach Industries (MCI), which lasted until the end of 2017 when the REV Group took over distribution. Production of Daimler Buses North America's Sprinter shuttle buses was moved to other facilities. It was announced that more than 530 workers will be laid off in the Mississauga and Oriskany plants. The Mississauga workers staged a wildcat work stoppage to protest in employee frustration at the slow pace of winding-down talks.[5][6]

Oriskany was the head office for part department to support Orion bus operators until New Flyer acquired the after market business from Daimler Buses. MCI, which acquired the distribution rights for Setra buses, has also since been purchased by New Flyer.

Product lineupEdit

Orion manufactured a number of different models of buses over its 37-year existence. A list of models is given below; each increasing number is the next generation model.

Most buses today in service are of the Orion V or VII models.

Model Length & Width Picture Produced Fuel type
Orion I 31 ft (9.45 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
35 ft (10.67 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
37 ft (11.28 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
40 ft (12.19 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)
Orion II 21.92 ft (6.68 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
25.92 ft (7.90 m) • 96 in (2.44 m)[citation needed]
1983–2003[citation needed]
Orion III
Orion-Ikarus 286

(bodies and chassis made by Ikarus to
form the Ikarus 286 model, marketed
as the Orion-Ikarus)
60 ft (18.29 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)   1984–1989
Orion IV
  • Tractor: 37.5 ft (11.43 m) • 98.75 in (2.51 m)
  • Trailer: 35.5 ft (10.82 m) • 98.75 in (2.51 m)
  1985-1986, 1988–1989
Orion V 32 ft (9.75 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
35 ft (10.67 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
35 ft (10.67 m) • 102 in (2.59 m),
40 ft (12.19 m) • 96 in (2.44 m),
40 ft (12.19 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
Orion VI 40 ft (12.19 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)  
Orion VII 32.5 ft (9.91 m) • 102 in (2.59 m),
35 ft (10.67 m) • 102 in (2.59 m),
40.5 ft (12.34 m) • 102 in (2.59 m)
2001–2007 (original)
2007–2011 (Next Generation)
  2010-2013 (EPA10)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The History of Orion Transit Buses". Daimler AG. 2011. Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  2. ^ Daimler Buses North America Archived 2006-04-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Daimler plant closing compounds Canada’s manufacturing pain" from The Globe and Mail (April 25, 2012)
  4. ^ Future of Orion remains unclear as Daimler gets out of bus business "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2012-04-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-06-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Wilkins, Van (Spring 1986). "Success with a Twist" (feature article about the development and use of articulated buses in North America). Bus World magazine, pp. 7–13. ISSN 0162-9689.

External linksEdit