Forest River Inc. will build Class C motorhomes, in addition to buses, in the Glaval Bus Inc. factory in Elkhart, Ind., that it purchased at the beginning of this month, according to Pete Liegl, president.
Additionally, Forest River will produce the Work & Play hybrid cargo/travel trailer in the new factory it will build either in Goshen or Topeka, Ind., Liegl added.
The Glaval Bus facility is on the east side of County Road 1, a few miles west of Elkhart. It was the main van conversion production facility of Glaval, which once was a leading van conversion producer but has since left that industry.
About six months earlier, Forest River bought the former Glaval facilities to the west of County Road 1, where the Goshen, Ind.-based company now produces commercial vehicles, Liegl said.
Building Class C’s, buses and commercial vehicles is part of Liegl’s strategy of getting Forest River involved in manufacturing products that use many of the same materials and components, so the company could get quantity discounts from suppliers.
The Glaval property is part of the 1.57 million square feet of manufacturing space that Forest River has purchased within the past year. It now has 3.4 million square feet of manufacturing space in Indiana, California, Georgia and Oregon.
Meanwhile, the Work & Play will be “a cross between a cargo trailer and an RV” which Liegl believes will be attractive to, for example, construction and home repair contractors who also are hunters or fishermen.
The Work & Play will be sold primarily by RV dealers, although it will be inventoried by some cargo trailer dealers, said Liegl, who added that he believes Forest River now is the nation’s largest cargo trailer manufacturer.
The Work & Play will be produced in a 100,000 square foot factory that Forest River will build either in Goshen or Topeka, depending on which community provides the most attractive tax incentive program. Liegl hopes Goshen officials will make a decision on Forest River’s tax abatement request before the end of this month, because he wants to begin construction of the new factory as soon as possible.