🚌 Dutch company VDL Bus&Coach has chosen Lille to set up its French headquarters

30 Jan 2023
Automotive, Investment
Estimated reading time : 4 minutes
🚌 Dutch company VDL Bus&Coach has chosen Lille to set up its French headquarters
30 Jan 2023
Automotive, Investment
Estimated reading time : 4 minutes

Currently located in the Paris region, VDL Bus&Coach plans to transfer its headquarters to the Hauts-de-France region.

In this article, discover the reasons for this decision and the support provided by Nord France Invest and Hello Lille.

Who is VDL Bus & Coach?

“Industry has a future in Europe, but Europe without industry has no future. ”
Willem van der Leegte, CEO VDL Groep

Founded in 1966, VDL Bus & Coach is the Bus & Car division of the Dutch family-owned VDL Group, which was established in 1953.

With a focus on sustainable mobility, its main activities are the development, production – carried out in Western Europe -, as well as the sale and after-sales service of buses and coaches.

The group, which is currently present in 19 countries, has 15,000 employees worldwide working in 10 subsidiaries.

The challenge of development for VDL Bus & Coach

Based in the Paris region, VDL Bus & Coach suffers from the fact that its French and Benelux units are too far apart.

Feeling the need to develop a better organization with them, the company wishes to move closer to its headquarters in the Netherlands and its Belgian plant in Roeselare.

Its Managing Director, Julien Bahri, thus considered Hauts-de-France – where the VDL Klima subsidiary was already present – and especially the European Metropolis of Lille, as an ideal location for setting up the French headquarters.

This new proximity will allow for optimal collaboration between the sites, in in terms of sales, after-sales service and technical aspects.

The objective: to get closer to its clients and offer “complete and economically relevant solutions”.

Hauts-de-France, and more specifically the European Metropolis of Lille, is an obvious choice for VDL

Nearby Belgium and the Netherlands, the Hauts-de-France region offers an ideal geographical location for VDL Bus & Coach France.

And more specifically the European Metropolis of Lille, which allows for the Roeselare plant to be reached in less than an hour and the headquarters in Eindhoven in 3 hours.

In addition to this geographical priority for the company, the region and the European Metropolis of Lille offer, according to Julien Bhari:

  • A well-developed transportation network (highway, rail, sea, port and air),
  • Qualified profiles in many fields of activity, thanks in particular to numerous engineering and business schools,
  • A strong industrial and automotive culture,
  • A population used to working in an international context and, for VDL, whose culture is close to that of Belgium and the Netherlands,
  • And contrary to some preconceived ideas, it is easy to find multilingual employees (English, Flemish).

“Many foreigners think that the French do not speak other languages. They are therefore very surprised, when they arrive in Hauts-de-France, to find people who speak English, Flemish and German. The importance of cultural aspects should never be underestimated. Being able to speak the same language as the other person helps build trust. And trust is the most important thing in business and communication.” Julien Bahri, Managing Director of VDL Bus&Coach France

Need to know more?

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Pourquoi investir en Hauts-de-France


Effective support and coordination with Hello Lille

The first contact between Nord France Invest, Hello Lille and VDL Bus & Coach took place in February 2022.

At that time, the company asked NFI and Hello Lille to submit real estate solutions in order to confirm its choice.

With the help of Hello Lille, NFI provided them with a list of sites that met the criteria of the established specifications.

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In addition to these specific real estate needs (a 1500 m² building in the Lille area), it is inthe social aspect that the NFI / Hello Lille support is most valuable.

Faced with the transformation of his team, Julien Bahri asked them to support him in 3 areas:

  • The announcement of the transfer to the employees,
  • Administrative formalities for their relocation and that of their spouses,
  • The search for housing and a presentation of the European Metropolis of Lille,
  • The recruitment of new staff

Since the site chosen by the company is located in Lesquin in the Lille Metropolis, Hello Lille is fully involved in the search for solutions for VDL alongside NFI.

VDL needs to recruit 10 employees, with a variety of profiles, from warehouse workers to sales assistants, in order to build up its regional team.

In order to quickly find the right profiles for the company, an HR Steering Committee has been organized by Hello Lille with the local employment stakeholders: Pôle Emploi, the Villeneuve d’Ascq branch, Proch’ Emploi and APEC.

The drafting, publication of offers, job dating and interviews are all organized and managed by Hello Lille and Nord France Invest’s HR Partners, in order to save the company precious time.

Effective support according to Julien Bahri


“The help provided has been fantastic. The best help a company can have is the one that saves them time. NFI and Hello Lille have arranged everything for us, just like a turnkey solution. We simply provided them with our needs and they were able to help us with the recruitment process, finding the right people, doing the interviews… all of which was invaluable. “ Julien Bahri, Managing Director of VDL Bus&Coach France

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VDL in Hauts-de-France, and in the European Metropolis of Lille, the beginning of a beautiful story

With 2 of the 3 French subsidiaries set up in Hauts-de-France, the group’s Board of Directors is convinced of the importance of their development in the region.

A fourth entity should therefore be set up in the short term alongside VDL Bus&Coach and Klima: VDL Mast solution, specialized in urban equipment.

The VDL Bus&Coach site is expected to recruit 10 more people in the next 3 years, as Julien Bahri wants to make this site the leading solution for the supply of electric buses within the French market.

The setting up of VDL Bus&Coach in Hauts-de-France and the support from Nord France Invest and Hello Lille as seen by Julien Bahri, Managing Director France.

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