Keystone RV Co. is laying off around 290 employees, or 10% of its work force, to keep the company’s production in line with demand and be well positioned when the market turns.
Ron Fenech, president and CEO of the Goshen, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary, told WNDU, South Bend, that Keystone “wants to be prepared when the economy comes back so we are ready to roll.”
WNDU reported that the cutbacks would be spread throughout Keystone’s 15 plants. The company will still maintain around 2,500 employees.
Fenech noted that Keystone may not be as impacted as other manufacturers in the area as the firm does not build motorhomes. “We took a hit, but not as bad as some of the manufacturers,” Fenech said.
Several Elkhart County OEM’s have instituted layoffs during the past several months, most recently Monaco Coach Corp. which is closing plants in Elkhart, Wakarusa and Nappanee and impacting around 1,400 workers.
While the towable industry started the year well, recent months have seen wholesale shipment numbers retreat as dealers cut back on orders due to higher inventory levels.
In June, according to the latest shipment report from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), towable deliveries were down 27% from a year ago with travel trailers off 24%.
The move also coincides with Thor’s fourth-quarter preliminary sales report which showed a 25% decline in revenue.