Van Hool

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Van Hool is a commercial vehicle manufacturer based in Koningshooikt, Belgium. In addition to selling their products all over Europe, they expanded into the North American market through ABC Companies, the exclusive North American dealer for Van Hool products.


During the Second World War, Bernard Van Hool, the company founder, started a trucking company with his brother Jozef. Rolling stock had been requisitioned by the occupying forces, which led to a shortage of vehicles. Van Hool managed to acquire and refurbish a number of trucks. Following the war, Van Hool's ambitions turned towards infrastructure. He needed a vehicle to transport his workers and acquired an old bus. It was in poor shape, but he overhauled the bus with a new body. The finished vehicle was named “De Trekvogel”, or Bird of Passage. The company's direction changed to coachbuilding and coach transportation by 1946.[1]

Van Hool made their debut at the 1948 Brussels Car Fair. Throughout the 1950s, the company grew. Van Hool secured public bus and commercial vehicle contracts. A second factory was built. And by 1955,the company company employed 222 people on the shop-floor and 17 in the office.[2]

In 1986, a new Van Hool AG280 articulated bus belonging to the Société de Transport Intercommunaux de Bruxelles was shown off to transit agencies in Canada. These included the Commission de transport de la communauté urbaine de Québec (CTCUQ), Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission (OC Transpo). Bombardier signed an agreement with Van Hool to distribute and assemble their buses in Canada. In 1988, the Société de transport de la Rive-Sud de Montréal (STRSM) purchased 22 of Van Hool's newer articulated model, the AG700.[3]

The STRSM placed an order for more articulated buses from Van Hool, this time specifying a level entrance. The first AG300 was delivered in January 2002, with 15 more following by the end of the year. Van Hool's next Canadian transit bus customer would come two year later from Ontario. Following an extensive procurement process, York Region Transit placed an order with Van Hool for 60 40-foot buses and 25 60-foot buses to launch their Viva bus rapid transit network. One of the main reasons for purchasing the Van Hool buses was their unique and attractive style.

In the United States, AC Transit of California was looking to European manufactures for buses. They elected to purchase buses from Van Hool in 2002, amassing a large fleet of 30-foot, 40-foot, and 60-foot Van Hool buses between 2003 and 2010. Van Hool eventually sold transit buses to other agencies and operators in the United States through ABC Companies. However, after 2013, no other transit buses were sold in the United States or Canada.

It was not until 2018, when Van Hool delivered 30-foot A330K buses to the Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC), that Van Hool buses were again sold in Canada or the United States. The RTC had been looking for compact, environmentally friendly buses and found the A330K hybrid to be ideal.

On April 12, 2018, Van Hool announced the construction of a bus factory in Morristown, Tennessee—their second foreign production facility after the one in Skopje, Macedonia. The Tennessee facility, which will open in the first quarter of 2020, will manufacture buses for transit agencies in the United States. Vehicles supplied to public transit authorities must be assembled in the United States and contain 70 percent American content.[4]

Current models


Highway coach

Past models



Highway coach


  1. 1946: the history
  2. 1947-1956: the initial years
  3. By BRIAN DUNN of The Gazette. "Bombardier Gets First Bus Contract an $8.6-Million Deal for 22 Vehicles: Final Edition." The Gazette (Montreal), 1988.
  4. Van Hool builds bus factory in Morristown, Tennessee, US. Press release. 12 April 2018. Van Hool.

External links

Transit Buses
Types Articulated Bus · Bus Rapid Transit · Double Decker Bus · Low Floor Bus · Highway Coach · Shuttle Bus · Trolley Bus
Fuel Compressed Natural Gas · Diesel · Diesel-Electric Hybrid · Gasoline · Hydrogen Fuel Cell · Liquified Natural Gas
Manufacturers Alexander Dennis · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Commercial Truck Equipment Co. · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Ford · Gillig · IC Bus · Motor Coach Industries · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion International · Prevost Car · Proterra · Scania · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · Thomas Built Buses · Van Hool · Volvo Buses
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