Despite frigid temperatures, the Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc. conducted an official groundbreaking ceremony today (Thursday Jan. 23) for its new production plant on the southeast side of Goshen, Ind.
The new, 98,000-square-foot facility is expected to become operational by early summer.
Dutchmen anticipates hiring around 200 new employees to build laminated fifth-wheels and travel trailers in the new plant. “Dealer demand for our laminated fifth-wheel products has been strong over the last year,” Dutchmen President Rich Florea said. “This new facility will allow us to increase production of these products as well as free up manufacturing space at our other Goshen area plants.”
Dutchmen operates seven production plants in Goshen and the nearby towns of Middlebury and Syracuse, Ind.
The company sells laminated fifth-wheels and travel trailers under the Dutchmen, Four Winds and Colorado brand names. Although the introduction last summer of the Colorado brand created the need for more manufacturing space, Dutchmen executives have not decided yet whether to build Colorado units exclusively in the new factory, or to produce several brands in the facility.
Additionally, Dutchmen eventually will move its corporate offices from the northeast side of Goshen to the site of the new factory on the southeast side. Construction of the office portion of the project will begin in the spring.
Goshen, located about 15 miles southeast of Elkhart, Ind., is becoming the towable RV manufacturing mecca. Dutchmen’s sister company, Keystone RV Co., completed two new factories in Goshen late last year and it has two more under construction.
Thanks largely to Dutchmen and Keystone, Thor, their parent, is the No. 1 producer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels.
Meanwhile, Forest River Industries Inc., which ranks No. 2 in the travel-trailer and fifth-wheel market, also is adding 250,000 square feet of production space in Goshen.