For the second time in about a month, Coachmen Industries Inc. has announced plans to buy a new factory.
Coachmen revealed today (April 23) it has signed an agreement to buy a 147,000-square-foot factory north of Middlebury, Ind., where it would build Coleman by Coachmen units under the terms of a licensing agreement Coachmen signed with The Coleman Co. earlier this year.
The seller was not identified, but Coachmen reported the plant it intends to buy is “immediately adjacent to the plant acquired last month for production of travel trailer and fifth-wheel recreational vehicles.”
The seller will not vacate the factory until July, so Coachmen will not begin using the facility until then. After modifying the building this summer to accommodate new product lines, Coachmen will then begin hiring and training about 100 new employees “with more to be added as future needs dictate.”
Coachmen RV Group President Mike Terlep said development plans for the new Coleman by Coachmen series are well under way.
“This is a very important project, so we are doing everything possible to make sure that we address the needs of the market,” Terlep said. “We’ve conducted marketing and planning sessions with dealers as well as other focus groups surrounding the products. The initial product designs are nearly complete and we look forward to introducing these exciting new products this fall.”
Coachmen replaced Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. as the builder of RVs carrying the Coleman brand name. Fleetwood built folding campers under the Coleman name from 1989 until last year, when Coleman broke off the agreement.
A Kansas state court judge has ordered Fleetwood to stop building and marketing RVs that carry the Coleman name. Fleetwood is appealing the ruling.
Earlier, Terlep suggested that the Coleman-by-Coachmen series would include more than folding campers.
Late last month, Coachmen bought a 114,300-square-foot factory located north of Middlebury that was owned by Jayco Inc. Prior to the transaction, Coachmen sold its 79,000-square-foot towable RV assembly plant in Goshen, Ind., to the Keystone RV Co., a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.
Coachmen has moved production of midsize Cascade travel trailers, midsize Spirit of America travel trailers and fifth-wheels and mid- to large Catalina travel trailers and fifth-wheels from Goshen to the facility north of Middlebury.
Earlier, Coachmen had suggested it would build Coleman-by-Coachmen units at its Viking folding-camper plant in Centreville, Mich.