Case Study

New Flyer Picks Up Cost Savings and Exclusive Design

Shining light on a strong, trustworthy partnership.

New Flyer is the largest heavy-duty transit bus manufacturer in North America, producing more than 2,000 buses annually. For 85+ years, the company has built and delivered innovative, sustainable technologies and buses to help support and enhance more efficient public transportation in the world’s smartest, most connected cities.


Choosing a proven partner that could deliver stylish, affordable and high-quality LED lighting to meet the lofty, progressive standards of New Flyer transit buses.


- Tour of J.W. Speaker facilities & capabilities
- Collaborative Design of innovative low-powered, high-performing LED headlights
- Longer, more comprehensive product warranty


- Reduced tooling costs by about 40 percent
- Delivered 22,000+ LED lights in the past 10+ years

Challenge: Find the right design from a trusted partner

New Flyer takes pride in being innovative. The company strives to deliver the industry’s most advanced and modern transit technologies, including a wide range of stylish, high-performing heavy-duty transit buses powered by traditional combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells or electric batteries.

When it began its fleet redesign in 2008, New Flyer wanted to make a statement by incorporating cutting-edge, attention-grabbing LED headlights. The company sought to partner with a like-minded lighting manufacturer that prioritized smart, sustainable and sleek designs that could help define the future of public transportation. New Flyer narrowed its list to four LED lighting manufacturers, including J.W. Speaker.

Solution: A smart, modern manufacturer with vertical integration

Selecting a new LED lighting manufacturer was a comprehensive assessment process. New Flyer compared pricing proposals, reviewed mock-up designs, researched capabilities and went on tours of the leading contenders. The team was impressed with J.W. Speaker immediately.

“We were sold after visiting J.W. Speaker’s facilities, ” said Darrin Smith, Strategic Sourcing Manager for New Flyer. ” We could tell it’s a company driven by science. We loved the designs. We were excited about the vertical integration capabilities, and how even the circuit boards are created in-house. Plus, we appreciated that the lights would be 100% American-made.”

With any new design, cost is always a factor. Because J.W. Speaker offered end-to-end capabilities — from concept to manufacturing — it could provide significantly lower tooling costs than the other manufacturers.

“Obviously, we’re always working on cost reductions to improve ROI on all of the parts and systems that go into our buses,” said Smith. ” The projections for optical tooling costs were a significant differentiator, and a huge reason why we chose J.W. Speaker.”

It took a joint effort for about a year to develop and test the new LED headlights. J.W. Speaker created a new assembly comprising the high beam, low beam and turn signal to replace the cumbersome, piece-parted previous headlight. For the first time, New Flyer had a headlight from a single manufacturer that could be mounted in a fraction of the time. Plus, it was sleek, modern and captivating — and backed by a better warranty than the previous manufacturer offered.

Results: High-quality, low power — and a huge impact

It’s been about ten years since the first J.W. Speaker LED headlight was placed in a New Flyer transit bus. Today, it’s a signature feature.

“The lights make our buses very recognizable,” said Smith. “When you see the lights, you know it’s a New Flyer bus.”

New Flyer has introduced multiple electric buses in the past decade. J.W. Speaker LED headlights align perfectly with the sustainability advantages of the buses, drawing minimal power while making an immediate and powerful visual impression.

Impressive ROI has made an impact, too J.W. Speaker’s cost for optical tooling is about 40% less than the previous manufacturer and other competitors. With more than 22,000+ buses manufactured during the partnership between New Flyer and J.W. Speaker — and thousands more in production — the future looks bright for these two forward-thinking companies.

About J.W. Speaker

J.W. Speaker specializes in the design and manufacturing of vehicle lighting systems for OEMs and aftermarket applications. For more information contact us at 800.558.7288 or

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