Crown Coach Inc., a financially troubled Chino manufacturer of school buses, said Thursday that it plans to cease operations March 31.
Crown has been unprofitable the past three years, and the company's owners--Chicago-based GE Capital Railcar Services--have had it on the block in recent months. Unable to find a buyer, GE Capital Railcar has decided to shut down the manufacturing operation and sell Crown's assets, said Crown President Bruce Freeman. It has about 270 employees.
Crown has supplied school buses to the Los Angeles Unified School District and to other Southern California school districts. However, the company has been losing business to firms that make smaller and cheaper buses, Freeman said. Crown's buses have either 78 or 90 seats. Some of its competitors build buses with 60 to 70 seats.
"The fact is that the current and future market for our products is shrinking, and the company is no longer a competitive member of this industry," Freeman said.