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Nova Bus ending production in U.S., plans to close Plattsburgh facility by 2025

Nova Bus facility in Plattsburgh, NY
Pat Bradley
Nova Bus facility in Plattsburgh, NY

A major economic blow to the North Country was announced Wednesday when Nova Bus said it is ending bus production in the U.S. market and has therefore decided to close its Plattsburgh manufacturing and delivery facility by 2025.

Operations in Plattsburgh will continue until the first quarter of 2025. After that, the company will continue to support U.S. customer parts and service needs.

In a press release Nova Bus Board of Directors Chair Anna Westerberg says “The strategic decision to end bus production in the US by 2025 was made after evaluating its profitability, which was experiencing continued financial losses over the years.”

North Country Chamber President Garry Douglas says he learned about the closure during a call with the company president Tuesday evening.

“I thought it was going to be just a kind of a nice catch up meeting but ended up being a sharing the news with me ahead of time under a strict understanding of nondisclosure until 2:00 today. But it allowed me to work with them this morning to facilitate some phone calls for him with the governor, with Senator Schumer, with Congresswoman Stefanik and a few others ahead of time which helped to lay some groundwork.”

The Chamber convened a working group Wednesday afternoon that includes officials from Empire State Development, the governor’s office, the county Industrial Development Authority, the Town of Plattsburgh, The Development Corporation, state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones and others to coordinate the transition.

“As we did when Pfizer announced they were closing some years ago, when the base was closed back in the 1990’s, we know how to handle these situations when they come. How to pull the right parties together, make sure the effort going forward is coordinated, we’re all on the same song sheet and we’re all working as a partnership. That began this afternoon.”

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman’s office is less than a quarter mile from the Nova Bus facility.

“They did indicate a number of times, and in fact I even quoted a representative during my State of the Town, that they have enjoyed working with the Town of Plattsburgh, being here in the region and that they’re very proud of their workforce. So I have no belief at all that it had to do with anything beyond their financial model that they’re working through. And, you know, there are a number of businesses that continue to expand. So there may be some businesses here locally that see that building and that workforce as an opportunity to expand. We may not have to look very far.”

Douglas says the working group will engage the state and Volvo, which owns Nova Bus, to assess and find a new use for the facility.

“We have some things going for us. We have the time lag. There’s upwards of almost a year-and-a-half of remaining employment which gives them time, gives us time. Plattsburgh is a very attractive manufacturing center, continues to be. We have prospects in various sectors that are active now. There’s never assurances of how things are going to work out but we feel optimistic that looking a couple of years out we have something else at that site and we intend to work very hard to make that a reality.”

Nova Bus employs about 350 people at the Plattsburgh manufacturing plant. According to Douglas, the largest manufacturers in the area are MRP, formerly known as MoldRite Plastics, and Schleuter Systems which makes building materials. He says Nova Bus is among the top five large private manufacturers in the area.

Nova Bus says it plans to focus its North American production on its Canadian facilities in Saint-Eustache and Saint-François-du-Lac in Quebec.