North American school bus sales dropped 8.1 percent in 2009, marking the third year of decline in a row.
There were 35,740 school buses sold in the U.S. and Canada in the 2009 sales year (Nov. 1, 2008, to Oct. 31, 2009), down from 38,873 in 2008.
Compared to the 2006 peak of 47,614 units sold, the 2009 total was down 25 percent.
School bus operations across the nation have been hit hard by budget cuts, prompting many to delay the purchase of new buses to replace aging models.
There had seemed to be the possibility of a jump in sales this year due to pre-buying ahead of the 2010 EPA emissions standards, which will raise the price of a school bus. Although there was a significant such sales increase in 2006, before the 2007 EPA standards, that trend did not materialize in 2009.
In SBF’s recent School District Survey, only 10 percent of respondents said they bought more buses this year than they normally would have due to the 2010 standards.
Despite the price increases next year, school bus manufacturers told SBF that they are projecting sales to be about the same.
A full breakdown of sales in 2009 as well as previous years will appear in SBF’s forthcoming 2010 Fact Book.