Diesel pusher chassis supplier Spartan Motors Inc. reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings despite lower sales revenue.
The company, which also builds fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles, reported its fourth quarter earnings increased 31% to $1.8 million despite a 7% decline in sales revenue to $53.3 million.
During the full year 2001, Spartan earned $6.1 million, more than offsetting the $5.6 million loss it incurred during 2000.
Spartan’s full year 2001 sales revenue declined 10% to $226.3 million.
The company’s sales revenue declined because of lower motorhome chassis order volume, which was partially offset by “a strong, double-digit gain in sales” at its EVTeam emergency vehicle manufacturing subsidiary, said John Sztykiel, president and COO.
Spartan’s motorhome chassis order volume declined 3% during the fourth quarter, although it “continued to outpace the industry,” Sztykiel said.
The company introduced new products and new technology during the RV industry’s national trade show in Louisville in November which generated “strong interest and orders” from motorhome manufactures and motorhome dealers, he added.
Spartan has received commitments from motorhome builders for chassis including Spartan’s intelligent suspension system (ISS) on model year 2003 units that will be introduced next summer, Sztykiel said.
“The dynamics of the motorhome industry are favorable right now, as dealers look to restock depleted inventory and OEMs increase their order rates for the first half of 2002,” he continued.
Although the RV industry has a track record for being “first-in, first-out of recessionary periods,” Sztykiel said he is “cautious about the recovery of the RV industry” and will have Spartan “focus on new product innovation and providing dealers with new technology and sales tools.”