RV manufacturers across the country have shut down or will soon shut down soon for extended holiday closings this winter.
Many plants in Elkhart County, Ind., already strapped with a 10.7% jobless rate, announced extended shutdowns effective last Friday (Dec. 12).
Keystone RV Co., one of the largest RV employers in the county, shut down production on Friday and will reopen all plants in Goshen and Howe, Ind., on Jan. 19, according to Ken Julian, vice president of administration.
Nappanee-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. will be closed until Jan. 12, but company spokesman Claude Donati added that some staff remain on duty prepping units for delivery yet this month. Sales staff also remain on the job.
Other firms, such as Elkhart-based Forest River Inc., were still working as of today (Dec. 15) and had not yet announced holiday layoff plans. Shutdowns were likely to be made on a plant-by-plant basis rather than companywide, a spokesperson said.
Sid Johnson, marketing director for Jayco Inc., reported the company is shutting down plants in Twins Falls, Idaho and its heqdquarters in Middlebury, Ind., Dec. 19 and will re-open them on Jan. 12.
Prior to the holiday period, numerous plants across the county modified work schedules in the fall, running partial weeks, then closing for a week or more before resuming production at reduced levels.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, motorhome builder Country Coach Inc. extended its December shutdown to four weeks in light of the slumping market for motorhomes, spokesman Matt Howard said.
“There’s no sense parking coaches on the fence line,” he said.
The furlough started Monday, and the factory will resume production on Jan. 5, according to the Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore. “Our goal is to make sure when we come back, we provide stable employment,” Howard said.
Country Coach wants to avoid what it calls modified production schedules, where it might run 10 or 11 of its 15 plants at full capacity at any given time, while the others would shut down or run at partial capacity, he said. The company ran modified schedules in the second half of 2008, he said.
Coburg-based Monaco Coach Corp. also is furloughing workers for a month, spokesman Craig Wanichek said Friday evening. Monaco employs about 1,800 people in Coburg. The company went from a one-week holiday furlough to a two-week furlough in 2005.
“The RV industry is in the midst of challenging economic times,” Wanichek said in a statement. “The decline in consumer confidence and extremely tight credit markets have resulted in a number of manufacturers taking additional downtime. This has led to extended shutdowns for many of our vendors, limiting our ability to receive the material needed to complete units.
“Because of these challenges and our desire to manage the level of our finished goods inventory, we have made the very difficult decision to extend our regular winter production shutdown from Monday, Dec. 15, through Monday, Jan. 12. We deeply regret the timing and impact this decision will have on our employees.”