Bom­bardier shut out of N.Y. bid be­cause of past fail­ures

Com­pany says it’s work­ing to ad­dress prob­lems as part of turn­around ef­forts

Montreal Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - JA­COB SERE­BRIN

In­creas­ing de­lays and cost over­runs by Bom­bardier have shut out the Que­bec firm from a $3.2-bil­lion con­tract with New York City’s Metropoli­tan Tran­sit Author­ity.

The com­pany con­firmed Tues­day its pro­posal for a con­tract to con­struct up to 1,695 sub­way cars for the MTA is no longer un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

“We are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed as we spent con­sid­er­able time de­vel­op­ing an in­no­va­tive so­lu­tion that in­cluded world-class sub­way cars, an at­trac­tive delivery sched­ule, a com­pet­i­tive price and the cre­ation of U.S. jobs, many in New York State,” said Eric Prud’Homme, the head of public re­la­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Amer­i­cas re­gion at Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion.

In an in­ter­nal memo, Benoît Brossoit, the pres­i­dent of Bom­bardier Trans­port for the Amer­i­cas, is quoted as not­ing that “our poor per­for­mance and se­ri­ous de­lays ... sealed the fate of our bid. Our ac­tions ex­ac­er­bated an al­ready dif­fi­cult tran­sit sit­u­a­tion in New York, and our client’s de­ci­sion shows that the mar­ket is no longer dis­posed to ac­cept de­lays in per­for­mance and to sub­mit to the con­se­quences of our ac­tions.”

The au­then­tic­ity of the memo, which was first ob­tained by the Jour­nal de Mon­tréal, was con­firmed by Bom­bardier.

“It does show (Brossoit’s) lead­er­ship; what he says in a public fo­rum and what he says in­ter­nally is the same,” Prud’Homme said. “There is a turn­around, and we’re ad­dress­ing some of the is­sues, and we don’t take them lightly.”

The com­pany is in the midst of a trans­for­ma­tion, Prud’Homme said, and Brossoit is im­ple­ment­ing a plan “to ad­dress some of the is­sues in North Amer­ica.”

That process is start­ing to show re­sults, Prud’Homme said.

In Toronto, Bom­bardier re­vised the delivery sched­ule for new street­cars five times be­tween 2009 and 2016 be­cause of de­lays. The com­pany has now been mak­ing de­liv­er­ies on sched­ule for more than a year, Prud’Homme said.

Bom­bardier was al­most 24 months late in de­liv­er­ing 300 sub­way cars for an­other sec­tion of New York’s sub­way sys­tem.

How­ever, Prud’Homme said the de­lays were not di­rectly re­lated.

“While each con­tract is unique, with its own re­quire­ments, we can say that when we do face chal­lenges, we work with our cus­tomers to de­velop and im­ple­ment so­lu­tions to en­sure that we de­liver high­qual­ity rail cars as quickly as pos­si­ble,” Prud’Homme said.

“This is bad news for Bom­bardier,” said Karl Moore, a pro­fes­sor at McGill Uni­ver­sity’s De­sau­tels Fac­ulty of Man­age­ment.

The MTA has been a ma­jor cus­tomer for Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion — the two or­ga­ni­za­tions have been do­ing busi­ness for nearly 35 years and Bom­bardier has made, or is cur­rently mak­ing, al­most 2,000 sub­way cars for the agency.

Since Alain Belle­mare was ap­pointed pres­i­dent and CEO in 2015, the firm has hired a new head for its Trans­porta­tion divi­sion, a new chief trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer and Brossoit, who joined Bom­bardier in April.

There are signs the com­pany has turned a cor­ner, Moore said, such as the im­prove­ments in Toronto.

“It’s go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, but it’s not done and they’re go­ing to pay the price for mis­takes that have been made in the past for a while,” he said.

Part of the chal­lenge is that it’s a big com­pany that takes on big projects, Moore said.

/GETTY IM­AGES

Bom­bardier is seen as pay­ing the price for its mis­takes as it fell out of the run­ning for a $3.2-bil­lion con­tract to con­struct sub­way cars for the New York City’s Metropoli­tan Tran­sit Author­ity.

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