American LaFrance exits bankruptcy, plans new business initiatives

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American LaFrance — a manufacturer of fire, rescue and vocational vehicles — announced that it has emerged successfully from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, effective July 24. Concurrently, American LaFrance has announced a significant restructure of its business — including a transformation of its organization and processes, and a segregation of facilities — to better serve its product lines in domestic and global markets.

In a major effort to improve profitability, facilitate timely delivery and create room for new ventures, the fire business will be moved from Summerville, S.C., to the American LaFrance facilities in Ephrata, Pa., and Hamburg, N.Y., according to the company.

Summerville will remain the production center for commercial cab and chassis models, including chassis manufactured for the fire, refuse and construction markets (street sweepers, refuse haulers, concrete pumpers, etc.), the company says. Navistar and American LaFrance plan to launch a joint venture that will combine the strengths and resources of both companies to manufacture and distribute vocational trucks for domestic and global markets. The initial product focus will target the refuse and construction segments, with future products planned for additional vocational markets.

The companies say the joint venture will build upon the engineering platform of American LaFrance and further enhance the product offering with proprietary Navistar components. Navistar engines will be incorporated within the product offering. The companies have commissioned teams to focus on truck and engine opportunities.