Diesel pusher chassis supplier Spartan Motors Inc. was profitable during the fourth quarter although it reported a loss for the full year 2000.

The company earned $1.4 million during the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $4.8 million incurred a year earlier.

Spartan returned to profitability despite the fact its sales declined 18% during the quarter to $57.3 million. President and COO John Sztykiel attributed the improved performance to “becoming a leaner and more efficient manufacturer.”

For the full year 2000, Spartan lost $5.6 million, compared with a loss of $1.4 million in 1999. A major reason for the larger loss was problems at Spartan’s school bus manufacturing operation, which eventually was closed last year.

Spartan’s full year 2000 sales declined 12% to $251.4 million. Sales revenue declined due to the soft RV market, although Sztykiel said the company’s fire truck and ambulance chassis sales increased $4.9 million last year.