Record £125million order from First
The announcement follows a statement in February which said the group was buying 700 buses worth £100million, a figure which suggests that the increased order is for around 825 buses.
Whatever the numbers – and one source suggests it could be nearer 1,000 vehicles – it represents Volvo’s biggest ever European bus order. Volvo says that its share of the order value is in the region of 35 to 40 per cent. The buses will be a mixture of B9TL double-deckers and B7RLE single-deckers, although no one will indicate how the order will be split between the two types.
Also included in the order are nine previously-announced complete Wrightbus-built double-deckers, five of which will be hybrids.
Says FirstGroup chief executive Moir Lockhead: “Wrightbus was the obvious choice for this substantial investment. We have worked closely together for many years and I am always impressed by Wrightbus’ innovation and creativity in design, allied to Volvo’s reliability and durability. This order is a significant milestone in what I hope will continue to be a successful partnership.”
And Wright Group managing director Mark Nodder notes: “Together with Volvo, we have met some exacting technical and commercial requirements to win this contract and I think this underlines the quality of our total business offer across the whole vehicle lifecycle, as well as our joint commitment to FirstGroup as a long term business partner.”
Wrightbus has supplied over 1,400 buses to FirstGroup over the last five years. It is understood that this latest order covers the period to 2010, although First will not comment on the timing other than to describe it as “a multi-year period”.