Jeep Partnership Drives Livin’ Lite’s Expansion
Livin’ Lite Corp., maker of ultra lightweight recreational vehicles, announced Tuesday (June 1) it will expand its operations in Wakarusa, ind., creating up to 25 new jobs by 2011.
The company, which manufactures aluminum and composite-built recreational vehicles, will invest $750,000 to expand its existing 35,000 square-foot headquarters to accommodate production of a 1,000-pound camping trailer designed exclusively for Chrysler Jeep vehicles, according to a news release.
“Indiana’s RV producers, old and new, are developing and implementing technologies in their products that are revolutionizing the industry and creating opportunities for our workers,” said Mitch Roob, secretary of commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC)
Founded in 2002, Livin’ Lite has developed more than a dozen different models of specialty automotive campers that can sleep up to six and be towed by passenger cars, minivans and motorcycles. The company will begin hiring production associates in June to coincide with the start of production for the Jeep trailers.
“With more and more consumers trading in their larger vehicles for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the demand for ultra lightweight campers continues to increase,” said Scott Tuttle, president of Livin’ Lite. “Our all-aluminum and composite campers are a great fit for this next generation of automobiles as they are both ultra lightweight and will stand the test of time. Orders for each of our unique product lines are up, and with the new Jeep project coming later this month, we needed to expand our facilities to accommodate the growth.”
In 2009, Livin’ Lite was selected by the IEDC and its Small Business Development Center network as one of the “50 Indiana Companies to Watch.” The accolade, presented in partnership with Purdue University and the Edward Lowe Foundation, recognizes the state’s privately held businesses that employ up to 150 employees and have between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue or working capital.
“There was some pressure to move this project closer to Detroit, but Wakarusa is my hometown and I preferred to cultivate the jobs here,” Tuttle added. “The tax incentive from the state is very much appreciated and I hope that we can do our part by continuing to grow this business and provide quality jobs here in Elkhart County.”
The IEDC offered Livin’ Lite Corp. up to $150,000 in performance-based tax credits. The town of Wakarusa has approved additional property tax abatement at the request of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.
“In a community where there has been a loss of jobs, Livin’ Lite’s promise of 25 new jobs is great news and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Tom Roeder, Wakarusa town manager.