Conversion vehicle manufacturer and auto industry supplier Starcraft Corp. reports it lost $1.8 million during the first quarter of its fiscal year 2001, which ended Dec. 31.

The loss during the October-through-December period compares with a profit of $533,000 earned during the same period a year earlier.

The loss occurred largely because Starcraft’s sales revenue declined 48% during the period to $18.8 million. The company’s auto industry supply business declined $19.7 million and its conversion vehicle business shrunk by $2.3 million. However, its bus and mobility vehicle grew by $4.6 million.

Starcraft’s auto industry supply business shrunk dramatically because of “an extended plant shutdown in Texas due to a contract changeover.”

Meanwhile, high gas prices and high interest rates hurt the demand for van conversions, according to the company.

But during the January-through-March period, Starcraft believes all three of its auto industry supply plants will operate at “expected capacity” and the demand for buses and mobility vehicles “remains strong.”

Starcraft also believes the demand for van conversions will improve during the current quarter “especially from overseas. In the meantime, we will continue to explore cost reduction opportunities in the conversion vehicle segment.”