Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary Keystone RV Co. conducted ground-breaking ceremonies today (June 6) for its new travel-trailer and fifth-wheel assembly plants in Goshen, Ind.
The two new facilities hold 65,000 square feet of space each and will allow Keystone to finish its move from leased facilities in Elkhart, Ind., during July, according to Ron Fenech, Keystone’s president.
Because Goshen and Elkhart are only about 20 miles apart, most of Keystone’s Elkhart employees can remain with the company and commute to Goshen instead, according to Doug Rheinheimer, vice president of manufacturing.
Keystone’s Hornet- and Laredo-brand fifth wheels and travel trailers, which were built in Elkhart, now will be produced in the new plants in Goshen, Fenech added.
The new plants in Goshen will do more than just replace the manufacturing capacity Keystone had in Elkhart. They can produce more than the Elkhart plant, allowing Keystone to continue growing, Fenech said.
“We will see higher efficiencies and quality by having all of our Indiana production at our Goshen complex,” Rheinheimer said.
Keystone had record output during May and its sales revenue is up 27% year to date, when compared with the same portion of 2002, Fenech said.
Output from Keystone’s operation in Oregon also is growing, Fenech added.
Earlier this week, Thor, Keystone’s parent, reported its RV order backlog was, in dollar terms, down 35% as of April 30, when compared with April 30, 2002. However, Fenech said Keystone’s order backlog is lower than it was last year because it completed two other factories in Goshen during 2002, allowing Keystone to fill dealer orders in a more timely manner.
The large dealer order backlogs that existed during 2002 were “an anomaly,” Fenech said.
Keystone completed a plant in Goshen during February 2002 to produce its Montana and Big Sky Montana fifth-wheels and it opened a new plant in Goshen for building its Sprinter travel trailer and fifth-wheel series during October of last year .
Investors apparently agree the decline in Thor’s dealer order backlog is no problem. Thor shares reached a new 52-week high of $43.39 today in New York Stock Exchange trading, shattering the previous 52-week high of $42.78.
Thor stock closed today at $41.58 a share.