Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors Inc., a manufacturer of specialty chassis and vehicles, will be relocating its motorhome chassis manufacturing operations to Wakarusa, Ind., from Michigan and creating up to 60 new jobs by the second half of 2012.
The company, which acquired Wakarusa-based Utilimaster Corp. in 2009, plans to invest an estimated $1.8 million on machinery, equipment, tooling and facilities, according to a press release.
“It’s becoming well-known that Indiana’s automotive and RV workers are some of the best in the world and Utilimaster’s expansion in Elkhart County is further validation of the strength and value of the Hoosier work force,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Spartan Motors acquired more than 550,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity in it purchase of Utilimaster. Operations consist of four manufacturing and 15 sub-assembly, support and paint plants. The company will continue to employ its existing work force of nearly 600 associates at this location.
“Eighty-two percent of all recreational vehicles are manufactured in Northern Indiana,” said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors. “By moving production of RV chassis to Wakarusa, we can improve operational execution through alignment of strategic assets with the geographic location of our customer base. This initiative allows for effective and efficient collaboration with our customers, as well as reaffirms our commitment to the industry.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Spartan Motors up to $450,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $75,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Elkhart County will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.
“John Forbes and team have been collaborative partners with the EDC of Elkhart County,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “We continue to see enhanced efficiencies and increased employment through their innovation. We are fortunate to have Utilimaster as a growing and expanding business in Elkhart County.”