NEWS IN FOCUS
Heartland Announces Major Expansion Project
Thor Industries Inc. announced Tuesday (Feb. 21) that its Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC subsidiary will undergo several building projects in 2017 that will add more than 500,000 square feet of production space to its Indiana campuses in Elkhart, Middlebury and Howe, as well as its West Coast operations in Nampa, Idaho.
Construction of the new facilities, which are said to be in response to the growing demand for Heartland’s travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy haulers, is expected to be continuing through the end of calendar 2017.
“We continue to see significant growth in the demand for Heartland’s family of travel trailer and fifth-wheel brands,” stated Heartland President Chris Hermon in a company release. “In response to this demand growth, which has stretched our existing capacity to its limits, we have embarked on a significant expansion plan that will add more than 500,000 square feet of total space in Indiana as well as our West Coast facility in Idaho.”
The expansion in Elkhart includes three facilities. The first facility, which began operations in November 2016, is a 78,000-square-foot plant to produce the Road Warrior and Edge toy haulers. The second facility, which is set to open in March 2017, is a 77,000-square-foot plant that will be used to produce smaller travel trailers under the Terry, Prowler and Trail Runner brands. The third facility will be dedicated to pre-delivery inspection (PDI) for 100% of Heartland’s products.
“We have greatly improved quality, warranty, and response times to our dealers over the past 24 months, but we are not satisfied. With these expansions in Elkhart, Heartland will be positioned to further improve our quality and service to our dealers and end users,” Hermon continued. “The PDI facility will allow for all of Heartland’s units to undergo an inspection of stringent pre-delivery conditions that must be passed prior to shipment. This process will allow us to ship units to dealers that are prepared for display on their lots with the level of quality consumers expect.”
Additional facilities to be added in Indiana include a 139,000-square-foot towable production facility in Middlebury that is expected to begin operation in August 2017, as well as two buildings to be constructed in Howe. The first of these new buildings in Howe is expected to be completed in September, 2017, and will be used to produce Cruiser RV’s MPG and Radiance laminated travel trailers. The second building in Howe is expected to be completed in early 2018 and will be used to produce Cruiser RV’s Shadow Cruiser and Fun Finder laminated travel trailers.
The Idaho expansion includes the addition of a second production line covering 97,000 square feet for the production of Cruiser RV’s Shadow Cruiser line and Heartland’s Sundance line of travel trailers. This additional line began operation in January 2017.
“Our products have been hitting the right note with dealers and consumers, resulting in continued strong growth in orders and backlogs,” said Hermon. “As we expand capacity to meet demand, our facilities will have a brand focus and production layout that will enhance our product quality. With these moves, Heartland will be well positioned to meet the already strong, yet still growing demand for its products.”