Accubuilt Sells Commercial Mobility Vans Division

Posted on March 10, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

MobilityWorks of Akron, Ohio buys Accubuilt Mobility to expand its presence in a growing market. Other Accubuilt units remain in business.

ELKHARDT, Ind. — Accubuilt sold its commercial mobility vans division to Mobility Works for an undisclosed amount in a private deal that closed at the end of January.

Accubuilt CEO Greg Corona told LCT this week that the Lima, Ohio-based vehicle manufacturing conglomerate wants to focus more on its Lima-based funeral vehicles and sedans division and its DaBryan limousine division in Springfield, Mo. Mobility Works presented an opportunity to sell and Accubuilt decided to pursue it, Corona said.

ACCUBUILT INC. also is considering strategic partnerships based in Detroit to possibly manufacture OEM specialty vehicles, said Corona, who could not give more details since no deals have been finalized yet.

Citing Accubuilt’s status as a privately-held company, Corona declined to provide figures on the value of the Accubuilt Mobility deal, number of vehicles produced annually, or the number of employees laid off. He said production of the vans and some Mobility personnel were transferred to the Mobility Works plant in Akron, Ohio. The Accubuilt unit produced mostly paratransit and wheelchair adapted vans.

The sale of the division did not include the Tuscany van division which continues to make custom pickups and personal use vans at Accubuilt’s Elkhart, Ind. plant, Corona said.

In an unrelated development, Accubuilt has finished production of its Chrysler 300 L livery sedan with the 2010 model year. “With the change in Chrysler ownership and direction, there was not sufficient support to build the L for the 2011 model year,” Corona said.

Mobility Works

MOBILITY WORKS manufactures wheelchair vans and ambulettes, hotel shuttle and center aisle vans, shuttle and paratransit buses, commercial wheelchair minivans, and Ford Transit Connect vans.

The addition of Accubuilt Mobility will expand MobilityWorks’ production of new Ford E-Series raised roof mobility vans, cutaway shuttle buses, and other custom ordered vehicles, the company said in a press release.

“This transaction enables MobilityWorks to rapidly expand our presence in a growing market,” said Taylor Clark, MobilityWorks Principal and executive in charge of the company’s commercial business segment, in a statement.

MobilityWorks vans are equipped with lifts and other adaptive equipment for transporting people in wheelchairs and able-bodied passengers. The company also provides special use custom vans such as medical equipment haulers and prisoner transport vans.

An additional $7 million to $8 million in sales revenue is expected for MobilityWorks as a result of the acquisition. MobilityWorks reported annual revenues of $66 million in 2009, counting its consumer retail sales coming from 13 dealer showroom locations in seven states.

The company is expected to add 30 new jobs, including sales and production positions, with all manufacturing taking place at the MobilityWorks factory in Akron. MobilityWorks’ corporate headquarters is located about eight miles north of the facility, also in Akron.

Accubuilt Inc.

ACCUBUILT INC. is a diversified specialty vehicle manufacturer that traces its roots back more than 128 years. Four of its brand names are legendary in the professional vehicle market and the fifth, originally the Vartanian Van Company (now marketed as Accubuilt), makes executive and shuttle vans.

Its professional vehicles include funeral coaches and limousines traditionally used by the funeral service industry. Built on Cadillac DeVille and Lincoln Town Car heavy-duty chassis, they are used by independent and corporate funeral homes as well as professional livery operators around the world.

Accubuilt's premiere brand, the S&S Coach Company, has been in continuous operation since 1876 when it was the leading maker of fine horse-drawn carriages. Its Superior Coach Division began its history in 1923 in Lima, Ohio.

For most of the 20th Century, S&S Coach Company and Superior Coaches were vigorous competitors, dominating the market. In 1981, S&S and Superior operations were merged into a new facility in Lima, Ohio and the company earned more than half the market for funeral coaches and limousines in North America.

Accubuilt is the largest Cadillac Master Coachbuilder, accounting for about two thirds of all custom-built Cadillacs produced worldwide, including the Cadillac DES Luxury sedan, sold exclusively by Cadillac dealers. The company is also a leading Lincoln Quality Vehicle Manufacturer and is completely NMEDA-QAP and Ford FTQP certified.

In December 2005 Accubuilt acquired DaBryan Coach Builders in Springfield, Mo. which makes stretch limousines for a diverse chauffeured transportation market. Accubuilt also has purchased the rights to market and manufacturer six-door limousines under the LCW nameplate. LCW of San Antonio, Texas had established a very competitive dealer network, but its main manufacturing focus was in the VIP industry.

Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine; Accubuilt Inc.; Mobility Works

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