While new motorcoach sales in the first quarter of 2022 are 11% above where they were during the same period of 2021, sales are still well below what they were before the onset of COVID-19, according to the American Bus Association Foundation’s (ABAF) First Quarter 2022 Motorcoach Builders Survey, which is based on surveys of the major motorcoach manufacturers that sell vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.
This quarter the participating manufacturers sold 191 new and 109 pre-owned coaches, for a total of 300 motorcoaches. This compares with just 270 during January 2021. The bulk of new coach sales were made to public entities like transit companies, which accounted for 58% of sales. These public entities tended to continue to purchase motorcoaches during the COVID shutdowns, while sales to private companies fell by almost 50% to an average of just 152 per quarter following the lockdown.
Overall, the three-month moving average of total coach sales is down by about 30% from the last month prior to the COVID pandemic.
“The motorcoach industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic,” said Peter Pantuso, ABA Foundation president. “When motorcoaches aren’t running the trickledown effect on suppliers is devastating. As the industry struggles to rebound from the past two years, we are hopeful sales will also improve. However, it could well into 2024 and beyond before we see a true comeback for the industry.”
The bus industry is the greenest and most affordable transportation sector and was moving more than 600 million passengers annually before the pandemic. As of the beginning of 2022, industry passenger volumes were still down by 62% from pre-COVID levels, making it one of the hardest hit parts of the economy.