Why did Foton America fold?
By Glenn Swain
Earlier this week Foton America Bus Company announced it was closing its doors after five years of product design and development. The company, with locations in New Milford, CT and Germantown, TN, was created to develop and deploy alternative fuel buses for the American market, while decreasing incremental costs.
Speaking to BUSRide, Foton Vice President Jared Schnader said that although the company had a dealer network comprised of talented individuals and companies established across the country, it was just not enough.
“We were working with different suppliers for various power trains that were currently being used in the market, as well as a revolutionary all-electric power train,” Schnader said. “However, at the end of the day, we were not ready. We needed more internal support to bring everything to fruition.”
Schnader said Foton suppliers, along with ancillary groups CalStart, GNA, Clean Energy and Clean Cities, were of great assistance to Foton in helping to navigate the complex U.S. transit market.
“I can only hope that these groups will work together to keep fighting the good fight for the betterment of the industry and the country,” Schnader said. “They are an asset, and should be treated as such.”
Foton America was American owned and operated and had no ties to Foton China except for buying the bus shells.
Although Foton America is shutting down, Schnader says the future of alternative fuel transit is positive.
“There is still work to be done in the industry, and there are new products, innovations, technologies, and problems to be solved everyday,” he said. “I can only hope that others will be successful where we came up short.”