> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Coachmen Industries Inc. reported a first quarter loss but the company’s RV production rate was up 25% and it sees a “sound rebound in profitability” the remainder of this year.
The Elkhart, Ind.-based company lost $590,000 during the first three months of this year, compared with a net loss of $4.9 million a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Coachmen’s RV sales revenue increased 3% during the three months ended March 31 to $109.5 million, while its total sales increased 1% to $154.5 million. Lower sales of modular homes and telecommunications structures diluted the impact of the higher RV sales on Coachmen’s total sales, according to the company.
Coachmen’s share of the wholesale market for RVs increased 14.5% during the first three months of this year to 7.1% and Claire Skinner, the chairman, president and CEO, said the company launched a marketing program “to sustain that momentum over the remainder of 2002.”
Now, RV dealer inventories are low and Skinner said, “Any strengthening in retail sales would translate quickly into increased orders. We (Coachmen) are benefiting not only from that positive industrywide trend but also from extensive design and product changes that are reflected in our 2002 line of RVs.”
By early April, Coachmen’s RV production was 25% higher than it was a year earlier and Skinner said the company “expects to continue operating at a significantly higher production rate over the remainder of 2002.” The re-opening of a motorhome production plant in Middlebury, Ind., which was closed late in 2000, will provide Coachmen with the capacity to produce more units, she added.
Coachmen’s total sales should increase 10% this year when compared with 2001, when it had $594 million in revenue. “Our goal is to use the improvement in 2002 as a base for further gains,” Skinner said. “We believe that we can achieve historical levels of profitability that we attained as recently as three years ago (when Coachmen reported net earnings of $29.5 million for 1999).”