Coachmen Industries Inc. Chairman Claire Skinner hopes the company can reach $1 billion in sales this year, primarily through the growth of its modular housing business.

Skinner presented her remarks during the Coachmen annual shareholders meeting in Elkhart, Ind., on Thursday.

“It’s not that we will not invest in our RV business, we want that to grow too,” Skinner said. “It’s just that we will invest in housing more aggressively.”

During 1999, Coachmen had $847 million in sales and 17% of its revenues came from its modular housing business.

Skinner admitted 1999 was a disappointing year because the company’s profits declined and its RV market share eroded primarily due to problems involved in putting into operation a new computer system for ordering supplies.

Coachmen also faces fierce price competition in the travel trailer and fifth wheel segments because start-up firms are selling their units at lower prices. The start-ups do not have the backlog of warranty claims that established builders face, so they can under-price the established firms, she said.

Consequently, Coachmen is looking to lower the prices of its travel trailers and fifth wheels while maintaining their value and high customer satisfaction rates.

Selling “under-performing businesses” is another tactic Coachmen plans to use to improve its profitability, she added.