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Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. announced today (Feb. 8) that it will close two Class C motorhome plants and one towable RV production plant effective April 8.

The motorhome plants are in Chico, Calif., and Decatur, Ind.

The towables plant is in Winchester, Va.

The closures were announced today to comply with the federal law requiring employers to give their workers at least 60 days advance notice of a plant closure.

Fleetwood will continue building several brands of Class A motorhomes in a 345,000-square foot plant in Decatur, in northeast Indiana, said Lyle Larkin, vice president-treasurer.

The company will shift all of its Class C motorhome production to Riverside, Calif., where Fleetwood is headquartered. It will provide freight allowances so dealers in the eastern part of the country could competitively price Fleetwood’s Class C’s, Larkin added.

During the second half of last year, Fleetwood opened a new entry-level towables manufacturing plant in Campbellsville, Ky., but the new facility did not make the Virginia factory redundant, Larkin said. For years, Fleetwood operated the plant in Winchester, its towables plant in Hancock, Md., and its service center in Williamsport, Md., as one unit. But given the current soft RV market, Fleetwood executives decided that arrangement was too inefficient, Larkin said.

The plant closures effect 850 Fleetwood employees including 380 at Chico, 250 at Decatur and 220 at Winchester.

Fleetwood owns the 185,000-square-foot plant in Decatur that it will be close. It also owns the 153,000-square-foot plant in Chico and the 133,000-square-foot plant in Winchester. It is not currently known whether those properties will be sold or the factories mothballed, Larkin said.

In a release issued Jan. 31, Fleetwood President Nelson Potter said plant closures were a possibility in order to bring Fleetwood’s production capacity better into line with market demand. Aside from the three closures announced today, Larkin said no other Fleetwood RV division plant closures are planned.

In terms of sales revenue, Fleetwood’s motorhome business shrunk by 46% when the November-through-January period that just ended is compared with the same period a year earlier. Fleetwood’s travel trailer and fifth-wheel revenues also shrunk by 42% during the recently completed three-month period, according to the company.