Country Coach Corp. and its parent, National RV Holdings Inc., have struggled since the second half of 2001, but the Junction City, Ore.-based builder of highline Class A’s is bullish about 2004, thanks largely to the market response to its new Inspire diesel pusher.
Country Coach plans to expand its labor force by 20%, which would raise its employment level to around 1,300 people, President Jay Howard said in a statement issued today (Jan. 29).
“We are committed to sustainable growth which means we’ll ramp up our production level and corresponding employment by 200 people between now and April,” Howard said. “It creates a challenge today, when we have dealers seeking additional product, but we prefer to take a conservative approach.”
The Inspire brand, first introduced to the retail market in June, is a diesel pusher retailing in the “low $200,000s,” which places it at the entry-level end of the highline diesel market. It has “really taken hold, creating a backlog of demand with Country Coach dealers nationwide,” according to the company.
To create more room at its Junction City factory to build additional Inspire models, Country Coach, in December, moved its Prevost bus conversion operation to 30,000 square feet of leased space in nearby Eugene, Ore.
Country Coach also signed an exclusive franchise agreement last summer with Buddy Gregg Motor Homes, a dealership with locations in Dallas, Tex., and Knoxville, Tenn., to handle Country Coach Prevost bus conversions. Howard believes the arrangement with Buddy Gregg will help Country Coach almost double its output of luxury bus conversions.
National RV, parent of Country Coach and a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, has not been profitable since the second quarter of 2001. The parent company has not yet issued its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2003, but National RV President Brad Albrechtsen said in November he expected the company would return to profitability during the first quarter of 2004, although he did not forecast any figures.
In addition to the Inspire, Country Coach builds the Allure, Intrigue, Magna, Affinity and Lexa. Except for its bus conversions, all Country Coach brands are built on its proprietary DynoMax chassis.
Meanwhile, National RV, Country Coach’s sister company, builds the Sea Breeze, Dolphin, Tropi-Cal, Tradewinds and Islander gas and diesel motorhome brands and the Surf Side Lite, Splash, Rage’n, Blaze’n, Sea Breeze and Pallisades travel trailer brands, all in Perris, Calif.