Van Hool bust due to bad management?

Yes, bad management of the government. Governments. Plural.

Wait. Does the government manage Van Hool? Duh-uh! This is how.

Van Hool knows how to build diesel busses. It’s done that for decades, innovating and all. Reading their balance sheets. Fine. Do they make mistakes? Sure. It’s their money. Nobody is perfect.

Van Hool however does not like the idea of an electric bus, neither do they like the idea of a hydrogen bus. They don’t like it because they understand the INHERENT problems, and they see no market for these busses. Not now, not soon, probably never.

I totally understand. Electrical busses are nonsense because impractical. And hydrogen is difficult because dangerous.
The only sensible bus is one driving on fuel. The only sensible climate neutral bus is one driving on climate neutral fuel. So, synfuels. In comes Brigid. But BRIGID isn’t there yet… because the government is too busy managing Van Hool. And shadow boxing around hypothetical SMRs. De facto preventing nuclear power developments paramount for climate neutral fuel production.

Meanwhile the government wants innovation coupled to climate action, A.S.A.P., so it “encourages” Van Hool to start building electrical busses.

But Van Hool is stubborn and decides to go hydrogen, choosing the least of two plagues.

Now look at the market side. Who buys the Van Hool busses? De Lijn. Basically the government.

De Lijn does not like electrical busses either. Because electrical busses are nonsense because impractical. They cannot tell in public, because they are government, but there you have it.

The government “encourages” De Lijn to buy electrical busses. Obviously Van Hool is not ready, because they rightfully decided that they don’t need to be ready. Because there is no market. Because the only market is a forced market. So the Lijn buys … elsewhere. Within 3 years from now, these busses will be on the scrap yard. Not because they are from elsewhere. But because they are electrical.

The only thing left to do now is to downsize the company. Which they are doing. So where are the management mistakes inside Van Hool?

Brigid advice to management: the most important question is: what are we going to produce, and especially what not. Don’t let any politician tell you what to do and what not. After all, you know better, it is your own responsability, and it’s your money that is on the line. Politicians don’t even know what this sentence means.