Post by allentc on Sept 25, 2019 7:12:08 GMT
I see there is some discussion in a NBFL thread but it deserves a dedicated thread of its own.
Ian Paisley Jr says it is likely the firm will go into administration today after failing to strike a deal with Weichai and latterly industrialist Darren Donnelly:
With the benefit of hindsight Mark Nodder's retirement back in April was very well timed...!
The original Gemini was a ground breaking product that took a lot of sales away from then market leader combo ALX400/President and thrusted Wright into the limelight having only previously been a small player with the Dart based Handybus and the Crusader. Back then the Nokia phone type-styling made the existing products on the market look dated and the build quality was second to none although I gather it had issues with being much heavier than its competitors - probably due to over-engineering caused by it being their first foray into the double deck market and Wright's keenness to get it correct first time round. The Gemini body was available on several chassis and was a sales hit for many years. There were blink-and-you'll-miss-it facelifts and refinements over the years but it did keep selling in significant numbers.
Fast forward today and where did it go wrong?
- Was it their decision to copy ADL and Optare and shift focus towards integrals?
- I have heard that the Streetdeck has had a lot of quality issues. Certainly the styling was controversial and it was quickly modified for some buyers with glass wrapped upper pillars. The Streetlite doesn't seem to have much love out their among bus enthusiasts and again there are anecdotal stories of poor reliability and build quality.
- Was there an over reliance on the NBFL contract a lack of a plan to deal with the end of the contract and what to do with the excess capacity and loss of revenue.
- Were they too dependent on the UK market and a small part of Asia? ADL have made significant inroads into USA/Canada market with the E500 and lately Europe (Berlin and Switzerland), South America (Mexico), New Zealand and Singapore. I vaguely recall somewhere that exports account for about 50% of ADL's revenue lessening their reliance on the slow UK market.
What happens now? I'm guessing a Chinese buyer will swoop in and buy up the tooling, designs and intellectual property. They might keep a small work force there to assemble knock down kits sent from China and perhaps keep a small R&D team to pursue new technologies. There is past form with LDV vans, LTI and MG Rover Group. Why take on a failing company with all the risks/liabilities when you can let it go bust and cherry pick the valuable bits for a fraction of the price.
Who will provide parts for the existing buses out there? Perhaps one of the aftermarket parts houses like Carlyle or Heavy Duty parts will buy up the parts stock and keep the supply going.
Will be a shame if it disappears entirely. Competition is good and I think they forced ADL to up their game and improve the quality and standards of their product. Otherwise ADL is left as the only major player with a bit-part played by Optare. There is a real chance for Optare to make some major headway especially into the London market now with the Metrodecker if Wright falls out of the equation.
It would be interesting to hear your views.