Coburg Begins Search to Occupy Monaco Plant
Much of Monaco RV’s 1 million-square-foot Coburg, Ore., facility will be idle by early next year when the company transfers its motorhome production to Wakarusa, Ind.
As reported by the Register Guard, Eugene, local economic development officials are working with Monaco’s parent, Chicago-based Navistar International Corp., to see if the transportation equipment giant could use the Coburg property for one of its other divisions.
Navistar makes International brand commercial trucks, school buses, military trucks, concrete mixers and other products.
“It’s still too early in the process to be able to speculate on that,” Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier said.
Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro Partnership, a business recruitment and retention agency, said he recently phoned Navistar officials offering to work with them to find another use for the Coburg site.
“They’re going to try to look for other potential uses in their divisions,” he said. “They said at the time they didn’t know of any, but they’re going to explore that.”
Roberts said he’s not pinning his hopes on that scenario because the same factors that drove Navistar’s decision to consolidate motorhome manufacturing in the Midwest also would apply to its other products.
“It seems odd to think they would move something out here after consolidating motor home manufacturing in Indiana,” he said.
“That didn’t seem likely, but we didn’t want to foreclose any opportunities.”
If Navistar can’t use the Coburg property itself, it would be attractive to other manufacturers, Roberts said.
“It’s a lot less limited in its use than the Hynix building (in west Eugene), for example, because it’s a large open space and it has a great location right there by I-5,” he said. “It’s a terrific space for a large manufacturer. We just have to find one.”
Inquiries about manufacturing space have picked up a bit this year, but usually in the range of 200,000 square feet, he said.
Roberts said he talked with Navistar a couple of years ago about possibly making some of its other products in Coburg.
“The reaction I got even then is their supply chain is all back there, and it’s a significant expense to try to bring it out here.”