Wholesale and retail incentive programs intended to encourage sales in a soft market contributed to Monaco Coach Corp. reporting lower fourth quarter and full year 2000 earnings, despite higher sales volumes.

The Coburg, Ore.-based company earned $42.5 million last year, a 3% decrease from the $43.8 million it earned during 1999. During the fourth quarter, Monaco’s earnings declined 23% to $8.6 million.

However, Monaco’s full year 2000 sales revenue increased 16% to $901.9 million and its fourth quarter revenue was up 10% to $211.4 million.

Monaco built 10,009 units during 2000, a 5.3% increase over its 1999 unit volume. The year 2000 total included 6,632 motorhomes and 3,377 towables.

During the fourth quarter, Monaco shipped 1,445 motorhomes and 675 towables.

“We are proud to have grown our revenue and unit sales for the year in spite of difficult market conditions,” said Kay Toolson, chairman. “In fact, our retail market share through November rose to 14.8%, up from 11.8% through the same period a year ago.”

The introduction of lower priced gasoline-powered Class A motorhomes was a major contributor to Monaco’s growth during 2000, but the company’s diesel engine motorhome market share also expanded to nearly 27% during the first 11 months of last year, Toolson added.

The company offered price incentive programs to “help dealers maintain appropriate inventory levels of our products” during the soft market conditions that existed during the fourth quarter, said John Nepute, president. But the recent interest rate decrease enacted by the Federal Reserve may encourage Monaco’s dealers to raise their inventory levels because it should bolster consumer confidence and improve retail demand, he added.