Making Safe School Buses for China's Kids

China turns to Western bus makers after horrific accidents
In November, police in Xiangyang stopped this 11-seat bus with more than 30 children onboard Photograph by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

John McKinney sat outside a Beijing Starbucks, sipping coffee and snapping photos of the traffic with his iPhone. He was looking for school buses, or what passes for them in China. A dozen different school-bound vehicles rolled by on their morning runs. Some were minivans, others were shuttle buses painted yellow. Few looked as if they would meet the safety standards used in the U.S. since the 1930s—and therein lies a potential business proposition for McKinney, head of Navistar International’s bus business. “You look at the China market, and they have school buses, and they’re cheap,” says Daniel Ustian, Navistar’s chief executive officer. “They have scrimped on quality and safety standards, so this is our opportunity to step in.”

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