Saab-Scania Intercity Bus Launches United States Operations – 1984

Posted on 08. Jan, 2007 by in 1980-1989, Orange, Connecticut, Scania Trucks & Busses

I was going through some videos recently and found one of the best footage of the old Saab-Scania headquarters in Orange, Connecticut in this film above. The segment that features the Saab-Scania bus begins at 10 minutes and 48 seconds (10:48). Enjoy.

US-Swedish buses, planes on line
American Metal Market, May 7, 1984 by Audrey Lipford

ORANGE, Conn.–Saab-Scania A.B. the Swedish maker of Saab automobiles that also has been a force in the European bus industry since 1981, has launched its United States bus manufacturing operations with production of its CN-112 model at a plant here operated by its Scania Bus division.

The bus facility, which started up production the week before last, will bring in engines and chassis from Sweden, but “we’re going to purchase all the parts for the body of the bus in the United States, according to Rolf Sundemann, division vice-president and general manager. About 5,000 small steel parts make up those body sections, which include doors, roof hatches, air-conditioning units and seats, he said in an interview last week.

While he “is not ready to say” exactly who will provide these parts, about 100 U.S. suppliers are involved, he added.

Saab-Scania’s visibility in the U.S. will increase further later this month, when first deliveries are expected of a 34-passenger commuter plane which Saab is producing in a joint venture with Fairchild Industries Inc., Germantown, Md., the first time U.S. and European aircraft builders have joined forces. Fairchild is making the wings, engine housing and tail of the craft at its Farmingdale, Long Island, plant, while Saab is responsible for the fuselage and subsystems assembly, as well as for flight testing.

The CN-112, a 40-foot by 102-foot bus designed only for short-distance public transportation, is an Americanized version of a bus that has been in production in Sweden since 1979, with 500 units operating in Stockholm alone. The Swedish model had to be adapted to U.S. specifications, such as wider aisles able to accommodate wheelchairs, heavier bumpers and different wiring and floor configurations.

The Connecticut plant currently is manufacturing the buses at a rate of only four per month, but Sundemann said the division hopes to increase that to about 50 units by 1985 and eventually to reach its output goal of 250 buses per year. Employment should rise from a current level of 25 to about 250 by the end of 1985, a spokesman said.

“The market for bus consumption in the U.S. is around 3,000 (buses) a year,” Robert J. Sinclair, president of Saab-Scania of America, also based here, said. “For starters, we’re aiming for 8 to 10 percent of that market. I don’t want to be too optimistic, just optimistic. I think we have a good product that meets American demands.” He said 22 firm orders are on the books now.

To date, two prototypes of the bus, which seats 45 and stands about 40, have been shown to transit companies in Stamford, Hartford, and Providence. The first 10 buses are expected to be delivered to the Municipal Transit Authority, servicing Iowa City and the neighboring community of Coralville, by September 1984, Seven buses will go to Iowa City and Coralville will get three.

“The bus has been extremely well-received,” Sinclair said. “I think we startled a few people.”

The CN-112 gets about six miles to the gallon of fuel, he said, about 25 percent higher than the norm for buses, and a big cost saver over the 12- to 15-year operating life of the bus, he said.

Later this month, Saab-Scania and Fairchild will deliver the first of 12 Saab-Fairchild 340 airplanes ordered by Comair, a commuter airline based in Cincinnati. The 34-passenger, turboprop regional aircraft also has executive versions with 14 seats and 24 seats.

Saab-Fairchild expects to manufacture 20 of the planes this year, and 50 in 1985. According to a spokesman, to break even the company by 1980 must sell “at least 200” of the planes, which cost $5-million apiece to manufacture (and about $5.3-million each for the executive versions, which are not yet complete).


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9 Responses to “Saab-Scania Intercity Bus Launches United States Operations – 1984”

  1. michael daniele

    27. Feb, 2010

    I am the person driving the saab toward the end of the film, pulling out of the space. I worked in the saab plant in Orange Ct.
    They were great people to work for.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ryan

    27. Feb, 2010


    Absolutely incredible to hear from you. Thank you for noting this and connecting with me here at Saab History.

    What is your history with Saab & Scania?

    I would love to hear from you.



    Reply to this comment
  3. michael daniele

    27. Feb, 2010

    I used to work at saab-scania in the bus division in Orange Ct. I worked there for quite a few years before they ended up closing down. They even offered me to move to sweeden to work at the plant there, but I was newly married and my wife was pregnant so it wasn’t a good time to leave the USA. It was a great place to work and we would get a new Saab every year at an affordable price paid each month through payroll. It was great to work there, great people to work for.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Tim Smith

    23. Feb, 2011

    I worked at Scania bus in Orange, CT and when I came across this video I saw that it was me cutting the sheet metal on the bandsaw (11:44) I was shocked! Long time ago, lots of great people worked there! I had the chance to be in the old plant today 2/22/11, and walking through there brought back many memories.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Tom Kavanagh

    08. Mar, 2011

    Came across some old Scania info and decided to see if there was anything on the internet about the old Scania bus plant and found this site. I was a foreman in the sub-assembly dept. and was one of the last people to leave on Dec. 31, 1988 after finishing our last contract for Stamford, Ct. A great place to work and remember Rolf Lindel, Jan Eric Risburg from Sweden, and my bosses, Tom Rudzinki and then Roger Lecza. We had a great crew and great pizza parties. Too bad they shut it down. It was a great bus. Nice to see comments from Mike and Tim.

    Reply to this comment
  6. 1988 Scandia bus cn112
    for sale on site 4/2013

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  7. Bob Fernicola

    29. Dec, 2014

    Was a great place to work. Too bad it didn’t last, the buses were the best I had ever rode in, you couldnt even hear the engine

    Reply to this comment
  8. Bob Fernicola

    29. Dec, 2014

    Why did they take the video down?

    Reply to this comment
  9. Tom Rudzinski

    06. Jun, 2020

    Hi don’t know if your still looking for info on the bus factory. I was the third person hired there. Started as a welder and worked my way up. When I left I was in charge of quality control. It was a great place to work. Would be happy to talk to you and give you a history of the factory.

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