Canada’s Vanguard Seeking U.S. Partner
Canada’s Vanguard Inc., the successor to bankrupt motorhome and towable builder Peak Manufacturing Inc., is looking for a U.S. partner to move ahead with Peak’s plans to build an American version of the Kodiak Class C motorhome.
“We don’t want to go in totally on our own,” said Vanguard Vice President Blair Bondar. “We’d like to go in with someone who already is building towables and has the room for us to build a Class C on a separate line.”
Peak’s plans to build the Liberty Touring Coach minimotorhome in Indiana came into question with the company’s bankruptcy and the unrelated closing of an Indiana plant that built manufactured homes operated by Winalta Inc. of Edmonton. Winalta is Vanguard’s parent company.
RV industry veteran Jim Baxter, a former Coachmen executive who was directing Peak’s U.S. initiative, also left the company when Winalta acquired Peak’s assets in early December.
Bondar said Baxter left because Vanguard wasn’t set to aggressively pursue a U.S. manufacturing presence until stabilizing operations at Vanguard’s plant in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
“From a financial standpoint, we just weren’t ready to attack that project,” Bondar said. Meanwhile, Vanguard has added a second line to build the Kodiak minimotorhome in North Battleford and is producing three to four Kodiaks a day with a work force of 180.
“We will ramp up from there,” Bondar said, noting that only 80 people were working at the plant at the time Winalta acquired Peak’s assets. “We have not stopped building for a minute.”
The Kodiak is sold in the United States by 15 dealers. Vanguard also manufactures Kodiak, Vanguard and Frontier fifth-wheels and travel trailers, which are sold exclusively in Canada.