SAF-T-LINER® C2’S GAINING IN POPULARITY - Thomas Built Buses receives largest C2 order since the design’s launch in 2004

High Point, N.C. – The state of South Carolina has placed an order for 630 Thomas Built Buses to replace more than 10 percent of its aging school bus fleet. The new buses, which will start delivering in November of the 2006-2007 school year, were purchased from Interstate Transportation Equipment of South Carolina, in Hopkins.

The order includes 520 Saf-T-Liner® C2 conventional buses and 110 Saf-T-Liner® HDX transit style buses. The C2 has been in production nearly two years and is a next generation conventional school bus. With driver and customer input, it was designed from the ground up. The C2 has many distinctive features, including the largest driver visibility footprint in the Type C category.

“We wanted to show the past and the future of public transportation to the specifications committee of South Carolina’s Department of Education,” said Robert Coleman, president of Interstate Transportation Equipment. “So we brought a 15- year-old bus and a C2 model to our meeting. We are pleased that the result is the largest Saf-T-Liner C2 order to date.”

John O'Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, said his employees are ready to get started on South Carolina's order. The inspection of the pilot model is scheduled for mid-July, with new buses rolling into South Carolina bus depots this November.

“South Carolina has one of the nation’s oldest fleets and we understand the immediate need for updated vehicles to provide safe, reliable transportation”, said O’Leary. “With the help of our chassis supplier and sister company in Gaffney, S.C., we will begin delivering the much needed buses in the fourth quarter of 2006, with delivery completed in the first quarter of 2007.”

The chassis for each new bus will be built at Freightliner Corporation’s custom chassis facility in Gaffney, S.C. Chassis will then shipped to Thomas’ High Point, N.C. plant for bus body installation and completion.

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Thomas Built Buses ( is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused entirely on delivering the smartest, safest and most innovative buses in North America. Thomas Built Buses is a member of the Freightliner Group, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. The Freightliner Group produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer. Media contact for Freightliner LLC: Amy Sills, 503-745-8535,

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