Neoplan USA - 1981-present - Lamar, Colorado


The American subsidiary of the German bus manufacturer, Neoplan began operations in 1981 in Lamar, Colorado. Since that time, Neoplan USA has been a major player in the bus market in the US. Neoplan manufactures a wide range of models ranging from 45 foot coaches down to 30 foot transit buses.  

The NEOPLAN's main plant is still there in its original location where once the first coach was built, in Stuttgart Möhringen. Due to the main plant reaching its capacity in 1973 another plant was established in the bavarian Pilsting and again in 1981 a site was opened in Berlin. This place has its advantages, especially because it facilitated the business with eastern countries. In the same year the company went international and established on another continent: two plants were built in the USA, one in Lamar, Colorado the other one in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania. After the Berlin wall fell, Neoplan expanded to the east of the Republic, two plants were founded, in Plauen and in Ehernhain.


In the USA more than 7.000 NEOPLAN-buses


1935 saw the start of an impressive success story in Stuttgart-Möhringen. It's the tale of a small coachbuilding company which rose to become a globally renowned brand. Its founder, Gottlob Auwärter, was particularly attached to busbuilding, especially after the war when the company really began to flourish. In 1953 a bus with the revolutionary and unique monocoque design was constructed at the Stuttgart plant - the first NEOPLAN was born. Gottlob Auwärter and his sons, Albrecht and Konrad, steadily developed the brand further, setting many milestones in the history of bus construction in the process.


Gottlob Auwärter founds his own company for producing superstructures in Stuttgart-Möhringen. Although used in several areas, they were mainly designed for buses.

After the war, the company recovers quickly from the initial difficulties encountered. Auwärter develops a stronger all-steel design, at that time a completely new departure in superstructure construction.

The first NEOPLAN is built. The NEOPLAN was a milestone in the history of bus and coach construction for several important reasons. The NEOPLAN no longer has a superstructure fitted to a rigid chassis. Instead the body and chassis form a unit.


Further technical innovations and improvements from NEOPLAN followed. One was a new spring system: air bellows replaced the leaf springs. As a result ride comfort improved immensely. Besides this, Auwärter developed independent wheel suspension for the front axle and the NEOPLAN driving bogey with wide spring track for the rear axle.

NEOPLAN achieves the breakthrough in the field of airport buses, moving the engine and drive unit to the As front. This made it possible to position the passenger compartment lower than ever before. This design made NEOPLAN the market leader in apron buses


In the course of work on their dissertation in Hamburg, Albrecht  Auwärter and Bob Lee develop a completely new kind of coach, the Hamburg model, which testifies to progress in both technology and design. The air ducts run along the roof parallel to the centre aisle and have outlets at each row of seats. The windows curve up into the roof, and the forward-slanting window posts have remained a characteristic of all NEOPLAN de luxe coaches to the day. 

Like his brother, Konrad Anwärter too develops a bus as part of his dissertation, constructed the first NEOPLAN double-decker, which was also known as do-bus. The distinctive feature of the scheduled-service bus was its lightweight design. NEOPLAN continued to build double-deckers with great success, becoming world market leader in both buses and coaches.


It was also a double-decker, the Skyliner, that really caused a furore in the touring coach sector. It set completely new standards, as it was the first double-decker coach in the world. Initially it was built with two axles, and later a three-axle variant followed. Today the Skyliner is one of the most popular NEOPLAN products.


NEOPLAN again pointed the way in the industry, this time with the Cityliner. Here the passenger level is higher than the driver's, which gives passengers an excellent view. In terms of interior fittings too NEOPLAN was once again one step ahead: the Cityliner was the first bus with a toilet and a cloakroom. Two years later a Cityliner with air-conditioning and double glazing followed.

The Jetliner is basically the successor to the Hamburg model. Bob Lee gave it a progressive exterior design incorporating typical NEOPLAN elements. Inside too, however, the engineers came up with typical NEOPLAN de luxe fittings. In the wake of its amazing success NEOPLAN built a new plant in Pilsting (Bavaria).

The Skyliner was the pattern for the biggest coach in the world, which was also developed by NEOPLAN. 18 metres long, 2.50 metres wide and 4 metres high, the Jumbocruiser exploits all permissible dimensions in full. A double-decker articulated bus, it is unique with its four axles. Once again the Stuttgart busbuilders took the lead.

The Spaceliner is launched. A highliner, it was also further developed into a super highliner with underfloor cockpit. In terms of luxury and fittings the Spaceliner was without parallel.

Another NEOPLAN plant is built in Berlin- Spandau. Since 1981 this plant has been used particularly for producing the NEOPLAN Telebus as well as several other front-wheel drive minibuses.           

Due to the popularity of NEOPLAN buses in the USA plants are opened there too, firstly in Lamar, Colorado, and later in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania.

Auwärter-NEOPLAN starts to build standardized city buses. This was the year in which low-floor buses for public transport finally made their breakthrough.

The Metroliner with Carbon Design is launched. Its body is revolutionary, consisting completely of a fiber composite material. Due to its low weight the Metroliner is extremely suitable for alternative drive systems.     


NEOPLAN opens another two plants in Ehrenhain and Plauen, where primarily the successful Transliner series will be produced.


Albrecht Auwärter presents the 15-metre Megaliner. To improve its manoeuvrability it has a steered drive axle.  Due to its high economy more and more countries granted it an operating permit.

The first NEOPLAN trolleybus is released. Its main characteristic is its entirely low-floor appearance.

The NEOPLAN Metroshuttle is awarded the title "Bus of the year 1995". Although a generally forward looking vehicle, a particularly notable feature is that both axis are steered. This is an illustrative example of one of the many trend-setting concepts embraced and developed by Neoplan.


As a 60th commemorative anniversary design, 60 exemplars  of the Cityliner platinum edition were produced with a particularly noble equipment.


At the international bus and coach exhibition (IAA) the Starliner was presented for the very first time and has been receiving acclaim this first showing onwards.

Beginning of the serial production of the Starliner.

The Centroliner and the Euroliner are presented at the IAA in this year, both receiving much admiration.

Additionally, the Starliner is nominated „Coach of the Year“

Once more, the Starliner is nominated the coveted "Coach of the Year". With this award, NEOPLAN is the first manufacturer to receive this title three times.

Also in Brighton, England, the majority of the jury  voted for the Starliner "Coach Of The Year" again. again. In July 2000, an important milestone is reached with the 500th Starliner being produced.

On the 20th of July the well known Gottlob Auwärter GmbH and the MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG forged a partnership. From July, the Gottlob Auwärter GmbH becomes the NEOPLAN Bus GmbH.

The new models of the Skyliner, Starliner, Centroliner and the X-Liner were first presented at the IAA in 2002. The Starliner is awarded the title "Coach of the Year" for the fourth time. This is an indicative of the high standard and innovation found throughout the NEOPLAN coach range, especially the enormously popular and impressive Starliner.

For the fifth time the Starliner is awarded the title "Coach of the Year". Also the C-Versions of coaches has been receiving acclaim during the first presentation at the IAA.

The new touring buses of the family NEOPLAN Tourliner was presented. High economy and reliability as well as an excellent price/performance ratio are the distinguishing features of the new coach of NEOPLAN which unites aesthetics and economy. The Tourliner will be in the medium-term the follow-up of the legendary Euroliner N 316 SHD.



For more information please read:

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses


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