Spartan Motors Inc. reported lower fourth-quarter and full-year sales and earnings for 2003 because of investments made to improve its fire-truck and ambulance operations, according to John Sztykiel, president and CEO.
“From a pure financial perspective, 2003 was not a great year, just a good year,” Sztykiel said. “However, it was critical for us to focus on building the foundation and improving our operations from a long-term perspective.”
Specifically, Spartan’s net earnings declined 44% in the fourth quarter to $1.3 million and its total sales revenue slipped 4% to $61.1 million.
For the entire year, the company’s net profit declined 48% to $6.1 million and its total sales declined 9% to 237.4 million.
Sales revenue for the firm’s diesel pusher chassis assembly business increased 4% in the fourth quarter when compared with last year’s third quarter, but trailed the near-record sales levels it experienced during the fourth quarter of 2002.
“The Class A (motorhome) market was up slightly in the fourth quarter and projections are for continued growth in 2004 spurred by improving consumer confidence and economic conditions coupled with favorable demographics,” Sztykiel said.
Spartan anticipates being able to “keep pace with or exceed industry growth in 2004” based on its strong showing during the National RV Trade Show in Louisville last December.
“With the addition of our entry-level RV chassis, the Competitor, Spartan now has the broadest line of diesel chassis and a formidable challenger to the gas chassis market. We also launched our premium-level RV chassis (called the K3), providing the ultimate performance chassis to meet the growing super-premium segment of the Class A market.
Sztykiel said the firm already is seeing those products open new doors and help Spartan extend its market penetration in the motorhome OEM sector.
“We expect that our motorhome chassis sales will benefit from these add-on products in the second half of 2004,” he said.
The Competitor features the same Ford 325-hp, 6.0-liter diesel engine that is used in Ford’s F-150 pickup while the K3 features a reinforced raised structural frame that allows OEMs to design floorplans where slideouts can be deployed on both sides of the coach at the same time.