European commercial vehicle Group,  Iveco has announced it planned to restart bus production in Italy after more than a decade, signalling it is taking advantage of funds from the EU-funded Recovery Plan to develop a fleet of low emission public transport buses.

It will be the first time Iveco has made buses in Italy since 2011.

Iveco, which separated from its former parent CNH Industrial at the beginning of this year , said its bus production unit would apply for access to a development contract with Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development, as part of the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).

Iveco said the aim is to develop and manufacture zero- and low-emission buses in Italy including battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well as latest-generation methane, biomethane, diesel and biodiesel  powertrains it added, however Iveco did not provide financial details for the plan.

It is believed that Iveco sill use public funds to cover around 25 per cent of the investment and presumably will raise the balance through borrowings and perhaps some capital raising on the equity market.

As part of the plan buses are expected to be assembled at Iveco’s plant in Foggia, in southern Italy, based on body frames and chassis supplied by other European facilities within the group, while engineering and manufacturing activities for electric batteries will be set up in Turin.

Other components will be “largely” supplied by Italian automotive part makers, Iveco said in its statement.

Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said Iveco’s plan was very good news for national manufacturing and evidence of Rome’s efforts to support reshoring of key productions to Italy.

Iveco aims to start production of its first buses in Italy in the  northern  spring of 2023, subject to the acceptance of its application for a Development Contract, it said.

“This project will … play a leading role in the urgently needed renewal process of Italy’s fleet for local public transport,” said Domenico Nucera, the head of Iveco bus business.