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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Founded1946; 74 years ago (1946)
FounderRobert Wright
HeadquartersBallymena, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Key people
Buta Atwal (CEO)[1]
ProductsBus and coachwork
Revenue£181 million (2017)
OwnerJo Bamford[2]
Number of employees
400 (2020)[3]
ParentBamford Bus Company

Wrightbus[4] is a Northern Ireland based bus manufacturer and a pioneer of the low-floor bus. The company was established in 1946 by Robert Wright and was run by his son William Wright.

On 25 September 2019, Wrightbus entered administration with the suspension of 1,300 jobs at their factory.[5]

On 11 October 2019, a deal was reached in principle between Jo Bamford and the Wright family for the land used by the factory, a sticking point in negotiations to sell the firm,[6][7][8] although a deal was only made with the administrators on 22 October 2019, with Jo Bamford's Bamford Bus Company concluding a takeover of the company.[1]


Metroline New Routemaster at Notting Hill on route 390 in December 2013
Metroline New Routemaster at Notting Hill on route 390 in December 2013
The Wrightbus Streetcar, used on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Express (SDX) route
The Wrightbus Streetcar, used on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Express (SDX) route

Wrightbus was founded in 1946 as Robert Wright & Son Coachbuilders.[9] In its early years it rebodied lorries. In 1978, the company released its first aluminium-structured bus bodywork.

Wright's breakthrough into the mainstream bus bodybuilding sector came in the early 1990s.[10] The Handybus was a midibus body offered on a variety of chassis but was more successful than the emerging Dennis Dart in attracting reasonably-sized orders from a variety of operators including London Buses, Go Ahead Northern, Ulsterbus and Citybus (Belfast).[11] This was followed by a move into the full size single deck market with the Endeavour which was fitted to Dennis Javelin, Leyland Tiger and Scania K93 chassis, and enabled Wright to develop its highly successful Endurance body which competed with the Alexander Strider and Northern Counties Paladin for orders on Volvo B10B and Scania N113CRB chassis.[12][13]

Other Wright products introduced in this period included two Mercedes-Benz-based products, the O405 based Cityranger and the OH1416 based Urbanranger. This was launched around the time bus operators in the UK began switching to low floor chassis. As a consequence the Urbanranger only attracted a handful of orders. However Wright had become well established in the bus bodybuilding sector by then and was more than able to exploit the opportunities the low-floor revolution would offer it from the mid-1990s onwards.


In 1993, the Pathfinder on low floor Dennis Lance SLF and Scania N113CRL chassis was unveiled.

The Axcess-Ultralow was introduced in 1995 and offered on the Scania L113 chassis. At this time it was selling in reasonable numbers to UK bus operators, but unlike other bodybuilders who could only offer the L113 with step-entrance bodies, Wright modified it by removing the middle section of the chassis and thus offered UK bus operators one of the first mainstream low-floor body/chassis combinations. A major customer for the Axcess-Ultralow was FirstGroup taking approximately 240.

Next up was the Volvo B10L based Liberator introduced at the end of 1995. Notable came from National Express who ordered 120 in 1997.

Next came the Renown body built on the Volvo B10BLE which went on to become the standard bus of the Blazefield Group. However Renown production was stopped when the B10BLE was replaced by the Volvo B7L on the new Wright Eclipse (now Wright Eclipse Metro), which due to its vertical rear engine wasn't popular with many operators. However Wright did not lose custom and many operators including the likes of Ulsterbus simply switched to the incline-engined Scania L94UB, on a similar Wright Solar body. Another bodywork, which resembles the current Solar/Eclipse range is the Meridian, which was bodied on the MAN A22 full low-floor single-deck chassis.


The most distinctive product of Wright is the New Routemaster London bus, introduced on 27 February 2012 as an update of the AEC Routemaster.[14] By the end of 2017, 1,000 were in service. Production ended in 2017 when the 1,000th left the production line.[15]

The first Wright Eclipse Gemini double-decker was first built on the Volvo B7TL chassis in 2001. A similarly styled bus entered service with Arriva London in August 2003 as the Wright Pulsar Gemini on the VDL DB250 chassis. Large operators of Gemini-bodied buses include Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead Group, Lothian Buses and National Express. In 2016, the Wright SRM was introduced on the Volvo B5LH.[16]

Since May 2013, Wrightbus has also built its own chassis, the StreetLite single-decker and StreetDeck double decker. However, they still continue to produce bodywork for the Volvo B5TL, Volvo B5LH and Volvo B8RLE.[17][18][19]


In 1997, an order for 25 Wright Crusader-bodied Dennis Darts was delivered to Australian operator ACTION. Between 2003 and 2006, Hong Kong operator Kowloon Motor Bus received a total of 164 Wrightbus three-axle double-deckers; 100 of them were on Volvo Super Olympian and 64 of them were on Volvo B9TL chassis. In 2009, Kowloon Motor Bus had order a total 291 buses, including one demonstrator with two-axle, and all buses were in service in 2012. In 2010, the first of 450 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied Volvo B9TLs was delivered to SBS Transit, Singapore till end 2012.[20]

In 2011, Wrightbus International was established. A contract was awarded by SBS Transit for 565 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TLs and delivered since January 2013 till June 2015.[21][22] In November 2012, a contract for 50 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvos was awarded by Kowloon Motor Bus. These are being sent in knock-down kit (ckd) form from Ireland and assembled in China and followed by another 85, including two 12.8-metre-long demonstrators.[23][24] In September 2013, Wrightbus entered into a partnership with Daimler Buses to manufacture buses in Chennai, India.[25][26]

In March 2014, orders were secured from Hong Kong operators Citybus and New World First Bus for 51 Volvo B9TLs. These are being sent in CKD form from Ireland and assembled in Malaysia.[27][28][29] In July 2014, SBS Transit ordered a further 415 Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied Volvo B9TLs which will be delivered from August 2015 till 2017,[needs update] increasing the total to 1,430 by 2017.[20][30]


Models at time of administration

When entering administration in September 2019, Wright manufactured two classes of bus: The Eclipse series (a Volvo chassis-based buses) and the Street series (an integrally-constructed buses).

Name Chassis Decks Notes
Eclipse 3 Volvo B8RLE 1 Two variants currently in production - with the older Eclipse 2 Front and the new Eclipse 3 front launched in Spring 2017.
Eclipse Gemini 2 Volvo B9TL, B8L, B5LH 2 Production for two-axle version ceased in 2013/2014. The three-axle version is still being built.
Gemini 3 Volvo B5TL, B5LH, B8L 2
StreetDeck Integral 2
StreetLite Integral 1 Midibus, can be DF (door-forward, door is in part of the bus extending in front of front wheels)
or WF (wheel-forward, wheels are right at the front and door is behind them).
StreetLite Max Integral 1 11.5-metre door-forward version of StreetLite
SRM Volvo B5LH 2 A more basic spin-off of the New Routemaster, with fewer distinctive features
StreetAir Integral 1 Fully electric-powered midibus, can be DF (door-forward, chassis based on StreetDeck)
or WF (wheel-forward, based on StreetLite)
StreetVibe Integral 1 A shorter and narrower version of the StreetLite launched in 2014 to compete with the Optare Solo SR Slimline (wheel-forward)


Single deck

Double deck

Name Chassis Notes
Eclipse Gemini Volvo B7TL, two-axle B9TL & B5LH
Explorer Volvo Super Olympian
Gemini 2 Integral with VDL modules Comes in the DL & HEV variants
Pulsar Gemini DAF/VDL DB250
Pulsar Gemini HEV VDL DB250 Hybrid
New Routemaster Integral Produced exclusively for TfL between 2012 and 2017. Hybrid bus.


  1. ^ a b "New Wrightbus owner to recruit within weeks". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  2. ^ Deeney, Niall. "Wrightbus contract 'signed and completed'". News Letter. News Letter. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford says coming to NI is revelation". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 February 2020 – via BBC News.
  4. ^ Companies House extract company no NI006119 Wrightbus Limited formerly Robert Wright & Son (Coachworks) Limited
  5. ^ Campbell, John (25 September 2019). "Wrightbus administrators confirm 1,200 job losses" – via
  6. ^ "Deal reached 'in principle' for Wrightbus sale". BBC News Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  7. ^ Canning, Margaret. "Remarkable turn of events in Wrightbus deal". Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  8. ^ Sweney, Mark. "Wrightbus close to rescue deal after last-ditch talks". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  9. ^ Wright on Course Commercial Motor 7 November 1991
  10. ^ Robert Wright is to diversify Commercial Motor 1 August 1991
  11. ^ Wright midi boosts jobs Commercial Motor 1 November 1990
  12. ^ Wright choice for YT Commercial Motor 16 April 1992
  13. ^ Wright launches intercity coach Commercial Motor 28 May 1992
  14. ^ New Routemaster bus starts running on London roads BBC News February 2012
  15. ^ London Routemaster Buses: Wrightbus set to get order worth £60m BBC News 3 February 2016
  16. ^ London launch for new Wrightbus SRM on Volvo B5LH Archived copy Bus & Coach Professional 18 March 2016
  17. ^ More jobs at Wrightbus as orders flow in Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional
  18. ^ Innovation win for Wrightbus Ballymena Times 19 June 2007
  19. ^ StreetDeck - The Complete Double Deck Bus from Wrightbus Archived 6 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine Wrightbus 24 October 2014
  20. ^ a b "SBS Transit orders 415 more Geminis" Buses issue 714 September 2014 page 19
  21. ^ SBS Transit to add 1,000 More Buses SBS Transit 9 July 2012
  22. ^ Doing the Wright thing in Asia Archived 6 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine Wrightbus 21 November 2012
  23. ^ Wrighbus wins Hong Kong bus order BBC News 12 November 2012
  24. ^ Wrighbus celebrates its first Chinese order Belfast Telegraph 13 November 2012
  25. ^ Wrightbus move into India can increase jobs at home Irish News 9 July 2013
  26. ^ Daimler and Wrighbus Indian partnership Bus & Coach Professional 4 September 2013
  27. ^ Ballymena's Wrightbus to build flat-pack buses for Hong Kong Belfast Telegraph 6 March 2014
  28. ^ Wrightbus to assemble in Malaysia Archived 9 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 6 March 2014
  29. ^ Double First for Wrightbus International in Asia Pacific Archived 6 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine Wrighbus 4 March 2014
  30. ^ SBS Transit to add 665 More Buses SBS Transit 1 July 2014

External links

This page was last edited on 30 June 2020, at 07:25
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