Plaxton is celebrating new £13million order

The Plaxton factory, in Eastfield.
The Plaxton factory, in Eastfield.

Business is stepping up a gear at Plaxton as the firm wins a £13 million order from the Ministry of Defence.

The Scarborough coach building business has been selected to provide the MOD with a fleet of 71 new coaches.

Following what bosses have described as a “fiercely fought tendering process” Plaxton will now be working to manufacture and deliver the high specifiation coaches between now and next year.

Plaxton sales director Kevin Wood said: “This is a real boost to our revitalised business and spells good news for both Plaxton and the industry in general.

“Against the toughest of global competitors we have emerged ahead of the pack.

“This is a resounding vote of confidence in our brand, our market leading products and our ability to give customers exactly what they want.”

He added: “The coach sector has come through a challenging period in recent years but I am now sensing a new mood of optimism across the industry.”

Plaxton, which is based on Eastfield’s Plaxton Park and is part of the Alexander Dennis group, will be supplying the MOD with 71 of its market leading Panther model - a 12.8 metre vehicle, with 55 reclining seats and air conditioning.

The new fleet will be replacing existing vehicles that are approaching the end of their working life.

Winning the contract marks the end of a successul year for Plaxton, which will have built around 900 vehicles in 2012, representing a mix of small and luxury coaches, midi and double deck buses.

And now 2013 is looking to bring a similar boom to the business as it starts work on promoting its newest model which sees the biggest coach ever to be built in Britain.

Mr Wood added: “As a business, we are passionate about listening to our customers, understanding their wants and needs – and building vehicles that make a difference, enhancing both the passenger experience and the profitability of our customers in the process.

“Our success in recent years has been built on our ability to respond rapidly and to provide innovative, customised solutions. It is a winning strategy and one we will continue to pursue.

“This £13 million contract comes as we are preparing to aggressively promote our latest model, the Elitei.

“It is a 75-seat, inter-deck, luxury vehicle - the biggest coach ever built in Britain – and carries 23 per cent more people than any comparable 15 metre single deck vehicle.

“In addition, its unique two-level design, simplifies arrangements for disabled passengers while also maximising luggage capacity.

“The first 11 are destined to join Stagecoach’s inter-city, fleet.

“All round, it has been an exhilarating week. Our aim now is to keep our foot firmly on the pedal throughout 2013.”

Although the MOD order is not resulting in direct extra recuitment, bosses say the contract has secured the order book for 2013.

The business has seen an upturn in employment and production since it was taken over by Alexander Dennis Ltd in the spring of 2007.

At the time it employed 350 people and produced around 250 coaches a year.

Since then employment has increased by 60 per cent, with more than 560 people employed at the Eastfield factory.

The firm has also played a leading role in Scarborough’s Engineering Week.