Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. will fill orders for 7,500 travel trailers and 3,000 single-section manufactured homes for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the agency’s disaster relief plan in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the company announced last night (Sept. 20).
“The products we are building for FEMA are well suited to rapidly provide comfortable, temporary shelter to the hurricane-ravaged areas of the country,” said Elden L. Smith, president and CEO of the Riverside, Calif., manufacturer. “We also have a commitment to our dealer network to continue to supply them with homes and travel trailers. The fact that we have had excess capacity in our system will allow us to ramp up production quickly and begin meeting the increased demand.”
The FEMA order should amount to a financial boost for Fleetwood by bringing “upwards of $170 million” in unanticipated business, Smith said. Fleetwood reported a $29.6 million loss for the first quarter this year and a $161.5 million loss for the fiscal year that ended June 1.
Smith, a long-time Fleetwood executive who rejoined the company in March after an early retirement, said Fleetwood will be careful not to shortchange its dealer base. “We are spreading the FEMA orders over the majority of our production facilities to position us to effectively serve all of our customers,” he said.
Fleetwood’s travel trailer plants have already begun production of the specialized units, the majority of which will be constructed to allow easy access for disabled residents. This week, the company’s manufactured housing plants will begin producing homes to the government’s specifications, which
include furnishings and air conditioning.
The order for manufactured homes is to be completed by Nov. 30, while the travel trailer contract has a completion date of Dec. 31.
“We have all of the needed specifications in hand now, and, while these units are not our typical products, we believe we will soon be building them efficiently,” Smith said.