Strong demand for diesel-pusher motorhome chassis made a major contribution to Spartan Motors Inc., which reported sharply higher fourth-quarter sales and earnings and record earnings for all of 2002.
Spartan, which also builds fire-truck chassis and emergency-rescue vehicles, reports its earnings increased 23% during the three months ended Dec. 31 to $2.2 million and its sales in the period climbed 19% to $63.4 million.
For all of 2002, Spartan’s earnings increased 91% to $11.7 million and its sales rose 15% to $259.5 million.
Its motorhome chassis sales increased 36% in the fourth quarter, “reflecting growth in the diesel-pusher segment of the Class A motorhome business,” according to a company statement.
Sales of Spartan’s highline motorhome chassis, which include engines with at least 330 horsepower, increased 209% in the fourth quarter, when compared with the final three months of 2001.
“We were able to outpace the RV market by offering innovative products and superior service,” said John Sztykiel, president and CEO. “In 2003, we need to leverage our investments in marketing, sales and R&D to increase our penetration among the motorhome OEMs and build market share.”
As of Dec. 31, Spartan’s order backlog was valued at $75.3 million, the same as a year earlier. However, the number of units in the backlog was down 17%, reflecting “the trend toward higher-margin units that feature more content and benefits,” Sztykiel said.
“We are approaching 2003 cautiously but with confidence,” he said. “While the markets we serve are experiencing some short-term change, we have positioned Spartan Motors to react to change and to react from a position of strength.
“We will continue to invest in innovation, marketing and customer service in order to increase our market share — not by buying it, but by taking market share,” he continued. “Our drive is to increase sales by outexecuting the competition — without ever losing our focus on delivering a great customer experience, quality products and bottom-line profitability.”