Eclipse Conversions, an Elkhart, Ind.-based van conversion firm, will supply interior van conversion components to a company on mainland China, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
Eclipse, a 50-employee firm, will supply parts to CenTech Specialty Vehicles Co., a firm founded by Alan Wang, an entrepreneur who visited Elkhart earlier this year.
Wang hired experienced RV plant, production and purchasing managers and a mechanical engineer during his earlier visits to Elkhart.
General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler all have joint venture partners building passenger vans in China, but no one in China is producing the interior component parts to transform them into luxury conversion vans, said Terry Hiser, the president of Eclipse.
CenTech already builds armored vehicles and limousines and it will use the van conversion parts to produce luxurious vans to shuttle business executives from airports to hotels and convention centers.
High import duties, shipping costs and foreign auto standards have made shipping U.S.-built van conversions and RVs either uneconomical or such a headache that few bother with it, Hiser told the Tribune.
Because Eclipse will only ship component parts, Hiser said the import duty will be much less than would be the case for a completed conversion van.