Collins Bus Corporation is an American bus manufacturer headquartered in Hutchinson, Kansas. Best known for production of yellow school buses, the company produces buses for multiple applications; all bodies designed by the company have been produced for cutaway van chassis.

Collins was founded in 1967 by Don Collins, Sr. as E-CON-O Conversion;[3] originally a part of Collins Industries, the company exists today as a wholly owned subsidiary of manufacturing company REV Group. All production is sourced from a 94,000 square-foot facility from South Hutchinson, Kansas.[4]



In 1967, Don Collins founded E-CON-O Conversion in Kansas City, Missouri, becoming one of the first to develop a school bus derived from a van.[5][1] Utilizing a Ford Falcon van (Econoline passenger van),[6] Collins shifted away from designs based upon utility vehicles such as the Chevrolet Suburban and International Harvester Travelall.

In 1971, Collins replaced E-CON-O with Collins Industries, expanding its product range into ambulances.[1] In 1972, the company was relocated to Hutchinson, Kansas (its present-day location).[5]


In 1982, Collins introduced its first bus with a wheelchair lift;[5] in a shift away from van conversions, the company adopted bodies for cutaway van chassis, introducing the long-running "Bantam" product line. In the mid-1980s, the company would diversify its product ranges. To replace the Collins van-based ambulances, the company acquired Wheeled Coach Industries in 1984 (inventor of the modular ambulance[1][7]) and Capacity of Texas (a terminal tractor manufacturer) in 1985.[1][8]


During the 1990s, Collins Industries grew to become the largest manufacturer of Type A small school buses in the United States.[9] In 1998, the company would acquire its largest competitor, Mid Bus (a successor of the bus manufacturing operations of Superior Coach Company).[1] To expand into the transit bus segment, Collins acquired World Trans, Inc, basing their vehicles on cutaway chassis and rear-engine chassis.[10]

In 2000, the company purchased Waldon Manufacturing, renaming it after its Lay-Mor street sweeper.[1][11]


During the 2000s, the existence of Collins would transition significantly, shifting from a parent company to a subsidiary within a transportation conglomerate. Although specializing solely in small buses, in 2000, Collins offered the widest product line of any American bus manufacturer, with three different versions of the Bantam.[5][12]

A publicly traded company since 1983,[1] Collins Industries became privately held in October 2006. 80 percent of the company was acquired by BNS Holding Inc, with the investment group American Industrial Partners holding the other 20 percent.[13][14]

In 2007, Collins purchased the assets of Quebec-based manufacturer Les Enterprises Michel Corbeil out of bankruptcy. As with its Mid Bus acquisition a decade before, Collins shifted production of Corbeil buses to its Kansas facility, repackaging it as a product range marketed in Canada. Both subsidiaries adopted the Bantam bodywork, marketed as the Mid Bus Guide and Corbeil Quantum, respectively.


In 2010, American Industrial Partners formed Allied Specialty Vehicles out of four of its transportation holdings, including Collins and its subsidiary companies.[2] Under ASV, Collins was part of a conglomerate including fire/emergency vehicles, recreational vehicles, transit and school buses, and industrial vehicles.[2][15] In 2015, Allied Specialty Vehicles was renamed the REV Group.[16]

On March 29, 2012, Collins unveiled the Nexbus series, replacing the long-running Bantam series;[17] the first Nexbus was produced on May 16, 2012.[18] In place of the former Guide and Quantum, all three Collins brands adopted Nexbus branding. In 2014, collins starting manufactured the Nexbus using the Ford Transit 350/350HD chassis. By 2016, Collins retired the Mid Bus and Corbeil brands entirely, using the Collins brand across North America.

For 2018, Collins introduced the Collins Low Floor variant of the Nexbus body. The first school bus derived from the Ram ProMaster body, the Low Floor is equipped with a flat floor and a folding wheelchair ramp.     


Collins Bus product ranges
Product name Production Chassis Vehicle type Notes
Bantam series
Bantam 1982-2011 Ford E-Series

Chevrolet/GMC G30

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

School bus


Single rear wheel
Super Bantam c.1992-2011 Ford E-Series

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

School bus


Dual rear wheel
Grand Bantam c.1992-2011 Ford E-Series

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

School bus


Dual rear wheel

Flat floor

Bantam XL[19] 2003-c.2005 GMT560 (Topkick/Kodiak) School bus


Designed by Mid Bus

Dual rear wheel

Nexbus series
Nexbus 2012-present Ford E-Series

Ford Transit

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

School bus


Available in single rear-wheel (Nexbus SRW) and dual rear-wheel (Nexbus DRW) bodies

Offered in several alternative-fuel configurations:

  • Nexbus Hybrid on Ford E450 chassis in conjunction with Azure Dynamics.[20]
  • Nexbus Propane (since 2009), on GM chassis, in conjunction with Clean Fuel USA.[21]
  • Nexbus Electric- Set to be introduced on Ford E450 Chassis using a motiv power systems.
  • Nexbus CNG- Ford & GM chassis using a CNG fueled system (compressed natural gas)
Low Floor 2018-present Ram ProMaster 3500 School bus Single rear wheel

First school bus produced with a low-floor configuration

Utilizes a wheelchair ramp (in place of lift)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wayback Machine". 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2019-06-22. Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ a b c AIP. "American Industrial Partners Announces the Formation of Allied Specialty Vehicles, Inc., a Leading Manufacturer of Specialty Vehicles in North America". American Industrial Partners. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  3. ^ "Bus Manufacturers – Collins Bus Company, Member of REV Group". Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  4. ^ Dinnell, Dave (November 6, 1998). "Collins opens $1.1 million facility". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  5. ^ a b c d "Bus Manufacturers – Collins Bus Company, Member of REV Group". Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  6. ^ "Bus Manufacturers – Collins Bus Company, Trusted for the Best Bus Design". Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2003-06-21. Retrieved 2011-02-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine Corporate website with basic history.
  9. ^ "A Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer --- Collins Industries, Inc. --- Vehicle Manufacturer, Specialty Vehicle, Collins Industries". 2006-03-14. Archived from the original on 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  10. ^ "A Small Bus Manufacturer - World Trans - About World Trans". 2000-05-05. Archived from the original on 2000-05-05. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  11. ^ (PDF). 2011-11-10 Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2019-06-23. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "A Small School Bus Distributor - Collins Bus - Product Information". 2000-02-29. Archived from the original on 2000-02-29. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  13. ^ "Investor Relations". Collins Industries. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  14. ^ "BNS Holding, Inc. and American Industrial Partners Acquire Collins Industries". 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2017-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Allied Specialty Vehicles Selects ʺREVʺ as New Company Name | Champion Bus • Manufacturer of light to medium-duty commercial buses". 2017-08-09. Archived from the original on 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-05-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Bantam XL brochure" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-05-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links