Diesel pusher motorhome chassis supplier Spartan Motors Inc. reported its first quarter sales declined 24% and its earnings were down 25%.

The company earned $1.5 million on sales of $58.7 million during the three months ended March 31.

Spartan’s first quarter earnings is equivalent to 14 cents a share, which beat the forecast by the Red Chip Review of investment analysts, which expected Spartan to earn 9 cents a share.

The company reported lower total sales because of weak demand for its motorhome chassis. Meanwhile, Spartan’s fire truck chassis revenue increased 11% during the first three months of this year.

“As with others in the RV industry, we expected to be challenged by softer sales during the first half of 2001,” said John Sztykiel, president and COO. “We could see sales picking up during the second half of the year, and we will continue to reduce operating expenses in order to maintain a solid bottom line.”

Spartan believes lower interest rates will encourage consumer spending and that its motorhome chassis business will improve because “the RV lifestyle remains popular and consumers are continuing to buy new motorhomes. They are looking for products that allow them to fully enjoy their time on the road,” said Richard Schalter, CFO.