Coachmen Industries Inc. reported its sales were down 7.5% and its earnings declined 44% during the first quarter.

The RV and modular homebuilder’s first quarter sales totaled $195.2 million and it earned $4.0 million during the three months ended March 31.

Earnings were down because of the cost of reconfiguring the company’s former van conversion plant into a diesel engine Class A motorhome assembly facility for its Georgie Boy subsidiary.

Sales were down because Coachmen did not generate any van conversion revenues as a result of divesting that operation late last year. Coachmen also sold “certain company-owned dealerships” during the first quarter of this year.

The delayed wholesale delivery of Coachmen RV units during 1999 “in turn, slowed wholesale deliveries into 2000,” the company reported. Slower wholesale deliveries also had a negative impact on first quarter profits, according to the company.

Coachmen has experienced delays in shipping RV units because of problems involved in putting its new computerized supplies ordering system into operation, the company reports.

“The fundamentals of our business remain strong with good cash flows and a strong balance sheet,” said James E. Jack, executive vice president and CFO. “Moving forward, we expect that our strategies, capital expenditures on plant and equipment and investments in new technology, accompanied by our loyal and expanding dealer and (home) builder base will result in improved performance.”