Some workers of Monaco Coach Corp. received a glimmer of hope when company officials left open the possibility that it might keep a joint venture chassis-building operation in Elkhart, Ind.
The Associated Press reported that Monaco President John Nepute told investors during a conference call that the company is working with partner International Truck and Engine Corp., a subsidiary of Navistar International Corp., to determine the future of the plant. International is also parent to Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC.
The Custom Chassis Product initiative was started in January 2007 in a 210,000-square-foot plant that produced Monaco’s proprietary Roadmaster chassis. Monaco, which announced two weeks ago it was closing three plants in Elkhart County, initially said that plant would be shuttered and production would move to its headquarters in Coburg, Ore.
“At this point, it’s unclear whether or not it will be moving out to Oregon or still have it remaining in Elkhart, although it appears maybe it will be a combination of the two,” Nepute told investors.
Kay Toolson, chairman and CEO, said Monaco is facing a market downturn that he had not seen since 1979-80. The company announced a quarterly loss of $9.7 million compared to a profit of $4.5 million in the same quarter last year.
In an unrelated move, Monaco also announced that it will be “temporarily” laying off 225 production workers in Coburg.
Craig Wanichek, director of investor relations, told the Register-Guard that the move is necessary as the company prepares to transfer its entire diesel motorhome production operations to Coburg. The company on Thursday also permanently cut 20 administrative positions.
“All the production workers are going to get called back,” Wanichek said. The workers will return within six to eight weeks, he said.