RV manufacturers are expanding facilities and hiring new employees, according to a survey conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its marketing communications agency Barton Gilanelli and Associates.
The results are being used to promote and pitch stories to the media that spotlight the industry’s success during a period when most manufacturing companies have been cutting back production and laying off workers.
According to a report in RVIA Today, RVIA has been communicating this data to the media using the theme “Made in America, Good for America.”
Preliminary results from the 13 companies that responded confirms widespread expansion and job growth throughout the industry.
Initial results of the survey indicate:
* 85% of the 13 companies that responded, including Thor Industries Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc. and Coachmen Industries Inc., have built new production facilities during the past two years.
* All 13 companies were planning to expand production in 2004.
* Thor spent a record $27.3 million on capital expenditures in 2003 and planned to spend about $14 million on several plants in 2004.
* All 13 companies were planning to add jobs in 2004, ranging from 10 to 500 people.
* National RV Inc. and Country Coach Inc. added a combined 560 new jobs since 2002.
Listed below, in alphabetical order, are individual company accomplishments within the last two years along with future plans:
*Coachmen – Opened new production facility in 2003 to build Type Cs , created 175 jobs, and acquired a manufacturing plant in March 2003 to increase production.
* Lance Campers Mfg. Corp. – Built a new service center to open up more production space, added 50 jobs in last two years and expected to add 60 to 100 jobs in 2004.
* Monaco Coach Corp. – In 2003, expanded its paint facility by 150,000 square feet at a cost of $5 million expenditure and expanded towable plant by 200,000 square feet for $5 million.
* National RV – Added six state-of-the-art paint booths at its Perris, Calif., facility in 2003, increased production and created new product lines during past two years and was planning to increase production by nearly 30% in 2004.
* Starcraft RV Inc. – Built two new plants in the past two years, increasing existing production and creating new products and was planning to expand in 2004; added 50 jobs in past two years and expected to add about 20 this year.
* SunnyBrook RV Inc. – Recently built 100,000-square-foot production facility to produce sport utility trailers and expected to add 100 jobs by the end of the year.
* Sun Valley — Expanded from two to three plants in 2002, increased manpower 50% and will add a new support facility in 2005.
* Teton Home – Built a $3 million paint facility in 2003, raised the number of employees to over 200, almost doubling the number of workers from a few years ago.
* Thor – Has built eight new production facilities in the past two years, was planning to spend about $14 million on several new plants and expected to add about 500 jobs in 2004.
* Western Recreation Vehicles Inc. – Was planning to expand production in 2004 and 2005, added 155 jobs in the past two years, will add 100 to 150 production, clerical and management jobs in 2004.
* Winnebago — Built a 218,000-square-foot facility in March 2003 that will increase motorhome manufacturing capacity by 30%, doubled its Charles City hardwoods facility with a 37,500-square-foot expansion, and added about 700 jobs in the past two years, mostly in the general manufacturing area.