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AmTran (American Transportation Corporation)
Former type Subsidiary of Navistar International (1991-2002)
Fate Re-named IC Corporation in 2002
Predecessor Ward Industries
Successor IC Corporation
Founded 1980
Defunct 2002
Headquarters Conway, Arkansas, USA
Area served North America
Industry Transportation
Products School Buses
Commercial Buses
Parent Navistar International (1991-2002)

American Transportation Corporation (better known as AmTran) was a builder of school buses in the United States. Founded in 1980, the company traces its roots back to Ward Body Works, which was established in 1933. AmTran was acquired by Navistar International in the 1990s, a move that would begin a series of alignment between school bus body manufacturers and chassis suppliers. In 2002, the AmTran name was phased out in favor of IC Corporation.

HistoryEdit

1980-1990: Ward BankruptcyEdit

In 1979, Ward Industries filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Arkansas Governor Clinton was instrumental in putting together a group that bought the assets of Ward Industries. In 1980, the American Transportation Corporation was formed; they began doing business as AmTran Corporation a year later. In 1983, the Harmon brothers purchased a controlling interest of AmTran. After the creation of AmTran, the Ward name was retained on the school bus line as it had an established brand identity; non-school buses bore the AmTran brand name.

1991-2002: A Navistar CompanyEdit

In 1991 Navistar purchased stock of American Transportation Corporation. The era of mergers and acquisitions among chassis and bus body manufacturers was thus begun. Navistar International purchased one-third interest in AmTran Corporation. The action was initiated by Jerry Williams, AmTran's CEO at the time. Navistar also obtained an option to allow them to buy remaining two-thirds stock by April 1995. Navistar exercised that option on remaining American Transportation Corporation stock and completed the purchase in 1995. In 1992, the Ward brand name was phased out as part of a new marketing scheme.

In 1999, AmTran announced plans to build a new facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma that would employ 1200 people. The conventional buses would be built at Tulsa, but the Conway, Arkansas facility would continue to produce the rear engine and front engine models.

In 2000, AmTran introduced the IC, a fully integrated conventional school bus. The first models were badged "AmTran", although within a short time, the buses were badged "International" with the company taking on the identity "International Truck and Bus" from late 2000 to 2001 model years. These buses had small "American Transportation Corporation" lettering on the left-rear. After the 2002 model year, Navistar phased out AmTran and International Truck and Bus in favor of IC Corporation.

ProductsEdit

When the AmTran brand was introduced in mid-1992, most of the Ward product lineup was retained. The Volunteer conventional was supplied nearly exclusively with chassis from parent company Navistar; the Ford B700 was offered as an option, but did not sell well and it was phased out after 1998. The Genesis (branded as Genesis by AmTran) was otherwise the 2-year old Ward Senator with minor cosmetic upgrades. The slow-selling Vanguard was dropped at the end of 1996 so AmTran could concentrate on its full-size buses.

Product Lineup
AmTran Type A (cutaway van) Buses
Model Name Years Produced Chassis Notes
Vanguard 1992-96 Chevrolet Van
GMC Vandura
Available only with dual rear wheels.
AmTran Type C (conventional) Buses
Model Name Years Produced Chassis Notes
Volunteer/CS 1992-2002 International 3700/3800 (1992-2002)
Ford B-700/B-800 (1992-1998)
The Volunteer was re-named the CS after a 1997 redesign
Due to low demand, Ford was dropped as a chassis supplier after 1998
IC 2000-2002 International 3800 The IC sported a hood design unique to AmTran.
The IC evolved into today's IC CE line.
AmTran Type D (transit-style) Buses
Model Name Years Produced Chassis Notes
Genesis/FE 1992-1997 (Genesis)
1998-2002 (AmTran FE)
International 3900 AmTran introduced the Genesis as a facelift of the Ward Senator; in 1998, the Genesis received further design modifications and was re-branded the AmTran FE.
RE 1996-2002 International 3000

AmTran products continue to be supported by IC Corporation's network of dealers across America, which are comprised mostly of International Truck and Engine Corporation dealers.

Introductions and ChangesEdit

1996
  • After not producing a rear engine Type D school bus since the early 1970s, AmTran introduced the AmTran RE in 1996; it was branded an AmTran, not Genesis.
  • The Genesis was updated, moving the entry door closer to the front bumper; its roof decals were switched to the AmTran brand from Genesis.
1997
  • The Volunteer was re-branded the CS after receiving a new front body design that replaced the Ward control panels, windshield, and entry door.
1998
  • The Genesis was renamed the AmTran FE after a front-end redesign; the grille shrunk in size and the quad headlights were replaced with ones shared with the CS and RE.
2000
  • The CS received an updated hood design (still based on the Navistar 3800) and was renamed the AmTran IC.
  • The RE received a redesigned dashboard and interior control panels for improved ergonomics.

FacilitiesEdit

AmTrans were produced in the former Ward factory in Conway, Arkansas. In 1999, AmTran announced plans to build a new facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma that would employ 1200 people. The conventional buses would be built at Tulsa, but the Conway facility would continue to produce the rear engine and front engine models. Both factories are still utilized by successor IC Bus.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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