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Coming out of this past winter’s Louisville Show, Dicor Corp. President Gregg Fore essentially threw down the gauntlet to his RV industry supplier peers by listing an array of new products Dicor and its affiliated companies were bringing to the table in 2009 and 2010. In so doing, he said he was “challenging the status quo” and “setting a tone for the RV industry to think differently when it comes to new product design and the choice of options that are now available.”
Now, he’s apparently taking that challenge to the next level with a plan to reinvent the composite side panel business by launching a new company that will build lightweight RV sidewalls and other structural components called Vixen Composites LLC. Toward that end, Vixen is currently installing $6.1 million in equipment in a once-vacant plant on the northwest side of Elkhart, Ind.
“We’re in the process now of setting up the facility and the equipment,” Fore said in an interview. “We expect to be running limited production sometime in the third quarter and hopefully be in full production by the fourth quarter of 2010.”
Fact is, as Fore points out in a new RVBUSINESS.com video, the recession hasn’t prevented the Elkhart-based Dicor group of companies, including Alta Resources LLC, Seal Design LLC, United Shade LLC and Dicor Corp., from moving ahead on all fronts.
“Well, there’s never not a time to do new things,” says Fore, “and Dicor spent over two years in developing the (composite wall) process because we believe that lighter weight is here to stay. We believe that structural integrity is a more important factor than it has been before and we’ve developed a process using old and new technology mixed together to provide a product that’s lighter and more sustainable.
“The manufacturing process allows us to build a panel that is not susceptible to some of the same kind of warranty issues that people have experienced in the past.”
Fore says that Vixen’s products, which contain no wood and resist mold, are to appeal to other markets utilizing “high gloss finished products.”
“The market we believe is actually larger outside the RV business than it is inside the RV business,” adds Fore, who serves as president of both Dicor and Vixen. “We’re focusing to start out with exterior panels because it’s one of the most difficult things to do, but we expect very soon to stretch out into the commercial trucking industry and into the residential, military and marine markets.”
Vixen in January obtained $224,000 in property tax abatement over five years from the Elkhart City Council. Approval of the tax abatement also made Vixen, which plans to employ 34 people by 2012, eligible for $320,000 in state incentives, including tax credits and training grants.