Big Crowd Expected for Tuesday’s Thor Auction

March 24, 2014 by · Comments Off on Big Crowd Expected for Tuesday’s Thor Auction 

A large crowd is expected for Thor Industries Inc.’s auction Tuesday (March 25) of remaining towable inventory, work-in-progress units and assorted componentry at a former Monaco RV towable manufacturing plant in Elkhart, Ind.

Hahn Auctioneers Inc., which is overseeing the liquidation, told they expect as many as 500 people. The auction is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. while a preview of inventory is running today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thor has designs to expand production of its Thor Motor Coach Inc. division at the 220,000-square-foot plant on the south side of Elkhart. Thor acquired the facility in February from Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc., which took ownership when it purchased the RV assets of Navistar Inc.

According to a sales flier, the auction will include “enough inventory to run production for weeks,” including three completed RVs, several partially finished vehicles and a lengthy list of supplies.

Phil Hahn told The Elkhart Truth that it’s not unusual for his company to auction off the remnants of a shuttered RV plant, but he doesn’t usually see this much needing liquidation.

To read the entire Truth story click here.


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Navistar CEO Considers Further Cuts, Closings

October 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Navistar CEO Considers Further Cuts, Closings 

Embattled U.S. truck and engine maker Navistar International Corp. is cutting administrative and engineering spending and may close factories as it lowers costs, the company’s newly named CEO said on Thursday (Oct. 4).

The maker of International-brand trucks is reviewing all operations beyond its core North American truck and parts business to see whether any need to be fixed, sold or closed, as it seeks to revive profits, CEO Lewis Campbell said in his first interview since taking the reins at Navistar on August 27.

Navistar has largely completed a wave of white-collar layoffs and buyouts that led to about 800 job cuts. It is also reducing engineering spending by 28%, and will review whether it needs all 19 of its North American factories at a time when a shaky U.S. economy is hitting demand for trucks.

“More than likely we’ll have to adjust our footprint. And we’re ready to do that,” said Campbell. “Since I’ve been here we’ve taken every single element of cost and said, ‘Is that where we want to be two years from now, one year from now?’ And if it’s not, let’s get a project in place to do something about it.”

Navistar shares have tumbled some 32% over the past year as the company struggled to win U.S. regulatory approval for a new style of diesel engine. It ended the effort in July and chose to adopt the engine technology used by rivals such as Paccar Inc and Volvo AB .

The Lisle, Ill.-based company, which also makes Monaco recreational vehicles, school buses and military vehicles, lost $241 million through the first nine months of its fiscal year ending Oct 31, after charges of more than $200 million to repair engines made in 2010 and 2011.

Analysts do not expect Navistar to return to profitability until the third quarter of fiscal 2013, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Navistar had 19,000 employees at the end of its last fiscal year.


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Navistar Shifts Chassis Work to Monaco Facility

June 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on Navistar Shifts Chassis Work to Monaco Facility 

The decision by Navistar International Corp. to idle its Workhorse Custom Chassis operation will not bring an end to its entire chassis production, according to a report in the Elkhart Truth.

Instead, the recreational vehicle chassis manufacturing will be shifted to Navistar’s subsidiary Monaco RV LLC, bringing more work and more jobs to the plant on Nelson’s Parkway in Elkhart, according to Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier. Monaco is in the process of hiring 250 new employees to help with the incoming chassis work as well as the additional motorhome production.

Navistar, based in Lisle, Ill., included the announcement about shuttering Workhorse when it released its second quarter results for the fiscal year 2012. The vehicle and engine manufacturer posted a loss of $172 million during the quarter, largely because of $104 million in warranty charges to repair its engines.

To view the entire article in the Elkhart Truth click here.


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Ore. Developer Buys Former Monaco Complex

June 8, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Eugene, Ore., developer Steve Lee said he has struck a deal to buy the sprawling former Monaco Coach Corp. recreational vehicle manufacturing plant.

The Register Guard reported that Lee on Thursday (July 7) said he and his wife, Sally, have agreed to purchase the 69-acre complex that produced RVs for Coburg-based Monaco Coach before plummeting sales pushed the firm into bankruptcy three years ago.

Lee’s deal to buy nine buildings totaling nearly 1 million square feet is with a division of Navistar International Corp., which acquired the property as part of its acquisition of Monaco Coach in 2009. Lee said terms of the deal with Illinois-based Navistar prevent him from disclosing the purchase price or the date the property will change hands.

“It will be in the near future,” said Lee, a local developer with experience in housing, office and retail construction.

At its peak before financial troubles hit the RV industry, Monaco employed about 2,000 people in Coburg. Employment at Monaco had shrunk dramatically since 2008, and Navistar earlier this year moved production of Monaco RVs, along with some management work, from Coburg to Wakarusa, Ind., plus other management jobs to Illinois.

Navistar employs a total of 150 people in Oregon’s Lane and Linn counties, including at a manufacturing plant in Harrisburg that makes RV trailers.

Lee said he will convert the empty buildings in Coburg to a business park called Coburg North. A Monaco RV service center, with about 70 employees, operates from one of the buildings, and the firm will remain there and lease the structure after the property is acquired. Lee said he will seek tenants for the buildings that range in size from 3,700 square feet to 330,000 square feet.

Lee said he worked for Monaco Coach as its construction representative in the mid 1990s when the firm built the manufacturing facility. When he learned a few months ago that the property was for sale, he became interested in buying it.

“I poured my heart into this creation, and when I heard it was going to be sold, I could not imagine anyone else having the chance to buy it and bring it back to life,” he said. “I love the city of Coburg and wanted to be able to help breathe some new air back into the town. The facility is an ideal location for business and I cannot wait to get started.”


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Navistar Incurs 2Q Net Loss, Workhorse Idled

June 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on Navistar Incurs 2Q Net Loss, Workhorse Idled 

Navistar International Corp. posted a second-quarter net loss of $172 million, or $2.50 per share, compared to net income of $74 million, or $0.93 per share, a year ago. Adjusted net loss was $137 million, or $1.99 per share, versus net income of $102 million, or $1.30 per share, last year.

Sales and revenues for the quarter were $3.3 billion compared to $3.36 billion in the prior year. Results included unfavorable shifts in military product mix reflective of lower military budgets, industry-wide higher commodity and fuel costs, an asset impairment charge of $28 million relating to the company’s decision to idle its Workhorse Custom Chassis business, and a charge for $24 million for certain extended warranty costs.

“Certainly, our first half performance was unacceptable. It included a warranty reserve to repair early 2010 and 2011 vehicles,” said Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and CEO for Navistar, parent to Monaco RV LLC. “We were also affected by speculation surrounding our engine certification for our Class 8 engine, which is why we are working tirelessly with the U.S. EPA to get resolution.”

The company further announced a management realignment designed to give momentum to its strategy of “great products, competitive cost and profitable growth.” Troy Clarke, currently president of Navistar Asia Pacific, will assume responsibility for all Navistar’s operations in the newly-created role of president, Truck and Engine.

Jack Allen will become president of North America Truck and Parts, an expansion of his current role, and Engine Group President Eric Tech will expand his role to become president of Global Truck and Engine, responsible for all of our business operations outside of North America. The changes will take effect from July 1, following board approval.

Looking forward, for fiscal year ending Oct. 31, Navistar expects adjusted net income to be between break-even and $140 million, or $0 to $2.00 adjusted earnings per share. Analysts expect the company to earn $3.73 per share for the year.

To view the entire report click here.

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Monaco Continues to Add Workers in Indiana

June 4, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Negative news about jobs sent the markets nose-diving last week as the Labor Department said employers hired just 69,000 workers last month, less than half of what was expected.

Despite that negative news, Monaco RV is in the process of adding 250 new jobs at its plant in Wakarusa, Ind., according to a report by WSBT TV.

Only four years ago, Monaco cut about 1,400 workers and filed for bankruptcy. Since then, the manufacturer was purchased by Navistar Inc. and employment has been steadily climbing.

“I start my job today,” David BeMiller, a new hire said.

BeMiller is just one of the nearly 250 new employees Monaco is hiring. He’s worked in the RV industry nearly his entire life, but like many RV workers, he had been laid off for several months.

“I kept on looking for jobs and it seemed like there wasn’t much of anything out there,” he said.

This is just the latest job announcement for Monaco. In August, the company consolidated its motorhome operations in Oregon with the factory in Wakarusa. That brought about 300 new jobs to the Elkhart County factory. Now, the company is ramping up production and needs to add to its work force.

“We’re ramping up production as we speak,” Bill Osborne, vice president of custom products for Navistar’s Monaco and Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC subsidiaries. “We started diesel production and we’re currently building 15 per week and are on our way to ramping up to 22 per week in late June time period.”

Osborne says adding jobs has been the plan since the move from Oregon.

Despite the most recent job numbers that were much lower than expected, he says the RV industry is on the rebound.

“What happens with one month’s job numbers may mean something for those whose business plans go to quarter to quarter, but our goal is to be in this for the long haul.” Osborne said.

Monaco RV now employs more than 550 hourly workers, plus around another 100 administrative employees.

A job fair at the Wakarusa facility was held last week.


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‘Motorhead Garage’ Features Alliance Coach

May 29, 2012 by · Comments Off on ‘Motorhead Garage’ Features Alliance Coach 

Alliance Coach, the first Monaco RV platinum sales and service dealer, was featured in the “RVing“ episode of this past weekend’s Motorhead Garage TV series on FoxSports Network (FSN).

Highlights of the visit to Alliance Coach, located in Wildwood Fla., included a segment on RV maintenance and repair with Alliance Coach Vice President Brett Howard, a tour of new Monaco and Holiday Rambler RV products with Alliance Coach General Sales Manager Cy Whisnant and a search for the right RV part to fit your needs with Alliance Coach GM Caroline Champion.

Click here to watch a video of the program.

Hosts Sam Memmolo and Dave Bowman also experienced a sneak peek on the latest technology for RV dealership service departments from a leading software company called Systems 2000. Alliance Coach’s service department has gone paperless using Systems 2000ds. This software interacts directly with Apple iPads to enable service advisors to start, track, and complete the entire repair order process electronically – without ever filling out a paper form.

Customers will also benefit from the new paperless system that enhances the ease of repair confirmations and monitoring. These customers are able to electronically sign service orders, receive email confirmations, and even track their units’ repair progress in real time on a monitor in the dealership’s waiting room.

The “Motorhead Garage TV Series” with the original “Dynamic Duo” of Sam Memmolo and Dave Bowman, formerly of Shadetree Mechanic, and the Two Guys Garage, bring the audience a behind the scenes look into the fascinating worlds of trucking, RVing, motorsports, ands innovations. Motorhead Garage can be seen on Fox Sports Network (FSN) national television series each Sunday at 11:30 a.m., and Monday at 4:30 p.m. EST (check your local listings, as times may vary).



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Monaco to Hire Another 125 for Wakarusa Facility

March 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on Monaco to Hire Another 125 for Wakarusa Facility 

The Monaco RV LLC plant in Wakarusa, Ind., is ramping up production of its diesel-powered motorhomes. That means it expects to hire another 125 workers between now and the end of April, according to a report by WSBT TV, South Bend.

Its parent company, Navistar Inc., recently consolidated a diesel motorhome operation from Coburg, Ore., moving that production to Wakarusa. There are currently 175 workers at the plant, which began manufacturing operations in February.

Bill Osborne, vice president of custom products for Navistar’s Monaco and Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC subsidiaries, noted that the company has been preparing the facility since last fall when it announced its consolidation plans.

He noted that with a launch of this size, it was important “that we didn’t ramp up quickly, making sure the quality is right.”

To view an accompanying video from WSBT click here.



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Monaco’s Downsizing at Ore. Facility Continues

March 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on Monaco’s Downsizing at Ore. Facility Continues 

Navistar International Corp. continues with plans to cease production of motorized RVs at its Monaco RV manufacturing facility in Coburg, Ore,, resulting in a loss of 255 jobs.

The Portland Business Journal reported that a notice filed with the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development indicated Navistar will lay off the employees between March 16 and April 27.

It’s the latest downsizing by Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar, which purchased Monaco out of bankruptcy in 2009 for $47 million. Roughly 450 jobs were lost in Coburg last year when Navistar consolidated all of Monaco’s motorcoach manufacturing at a plant in Wakarusa, Ind., and moved administrative positions to Navistar’s Illinois corporate campus.

At one time, Monaco was one of Oregon’s biggest employers. When it filed for bankruptcy in March 2009, it employed 2,225. In 2007 it had $1.27 billion in sales, making it Oregon’s eighth-largest public company.


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Monaco to Sponsor LPGA Event, Hold RV Rally

September 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Monaco RV LLC, a manufacturer of motorized and towable recreational vehicles, will again be the presenting sponsor for the Navistar LPGA Classic at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Ala., according to a press release.

In conjunction with the golf tournament, over 130 Monaco RV coach owners will assemble to hold their East Coast Come Home LPGA Rally on Sept. 15-18.

The Navistar LPGA Classic will feature 144 stars of the LPGA, including the top ranked players in the world. RVs are the choice of transportation for many players as they travel between tournaments. Several LPGA players are actually camping alongside Monaco RV Rally participants.

The Monaco RV East Coast Come Home LPGA Rally will offer many free-of-charge amenities for rally participants including: tickets to all of the LPGA tournaments, four nights dry-camping, two catered breakfasts, three cocktail hours, three catered dinners, entertainment on Friday and Saturday, leisure activities and games.

One of Monaco RV’s premier dealer partners, Alliance Coach of Wildwood, Fla., will be on site displaying Monaco’s new and innovative “Next Generation of RV’s” for 2012. A customer service team from Monaco RV will also be hand for the four-day event, to provide any needed maintenance and ensure rally participants have a safe and enjoyable time.


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Five RV Builders Sharing Space at Open House

September 1, 2011 by · Comments Off on Five RV Builders Sharing Space at Open House 

Monaco RV LLC, Carriage Inc., Travel Lite Inc., Fleetwood RV Inc. and Newmar Corp. are joining forces to display new products Sept. 19-22 on a 17-acre parcel of land on the northeast corner of U.S. 20 and C.R. 17 during Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week.

In what amounts to a classic case of how the emerging Open House casts industry competitors in unusually cooperative roles, the five adjacent exhibits will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily – and later when necessary — with a joint catered luncheon available 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. all four days, according to Ed Kinney, vice president of sales and marketing for Carriage, who played a pivotal role in organizing the display area.

The five-company exhibit, on the southeast side of Elkhart and a few minutes from the larger Forest River Inc. and Thor Industries Inc. displays, offers easy access, ample parking and close proximity to other manufacturer displays in the area, according to a Thursday (Sept. 1) Monaco release.

“We’re all splitting the costs, which are really low,” says Kinney, adding that there will be well over 100 units on display at the joint exhibit. “Everybody’s in this together.”

Kinney says this corporate cluster results from the experiences of some companies that felt their locations during last year’s Open House were too remote from the daily dealer traffic. Carriage’s management last year hosted dealers at the company’s home plant in Millersburg, a good 20-minute drive south and east of Elkhart.

Monaco’s main plant is in Wakarusa, Ind., while Newmar is in Nappanee, Ind., Travel Lite is based in New Paris, Ind., and Fleetwood is located about an hour’s drive southeast in Decatur, Ind.

There will be a tent set up amid the displays, said Kinney, adding that access to the paved parking area is off of C.R. 17.

“We look forward to bringing our products closer to dealers who will be in the Elkhart area,” noted Monaco’s Mike Snell, senior vice president of sales and product development. “We want it to be effortless for dealers to see our products, to learn about our advantages and connect with our employees and company. The manufacturer-dealer relationship is all about fostering good relationships based on open communication. At the same time, we want to provide the best, most state-of-the-art RVs on the market.”

“We’ll have lunches every day for dealers and visitors,” Kinney added. “We’re just real excited. It’s going to be a great turnout. It’s a nice layout. It’s a perfect piece of property – easy in, easy out, lots of easy parking. So, we’re just thinking of convenience for the dealers. And, you know, we’re three minutes from the Hall of Fame (where Thor will be set up). It doesn’t get better than that.”

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Coburg Begins Search to Occupy Monaco Plant

August 5, 2011 by · Comments Off on 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.”



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Wakarusa is Enthused Following Navistar News

August 5, 2011 by · Comments Off on Wakarusa is Enthused Following Navistar News 

Good news travels fast in this small Indiana community in western Elkhart County.

The Goshen News reported that the morning after Navistar International Corp. announced it would move 400 manufacturing jobs from Oregon to Wakarusa, the town was buzzing with optimism.

As retiree Don Foster walked his Chihuahua down Elkhart Street near the post office Wednesday morning he was excited about the good news.

“I think it is good for the community,” he said. “It is going to put a lot of people back to work. That’s what we need.”

Foster and other town residents are well aware of the long-term economic woes that hit the town when Monaco Coach closed and terminated more than 1,000 people at its Wakarusa plant. Now, this new iteration of Monaco will be adding to the 250 employees producing Class A and Class C motorhomes at the massive complex that dominates the industrial park along Nelson Parkway.

Foster said he has friends who have worked in the recreational vehicle industry.

“Some of them,” he said, “have had a hard time finding work.”

‘That kind of excitement’

Down the street at the Chamber of Commerce, President Deb Shively had already met with her board of directors.

“It’s great news,” she said. “We are excited about that growth. And Utilimaster will be up to 1,000 employees by Labor Day and we feel Wakarusa is going to get back to where it used to be. There is that kind of excitement.”

Utilimaster converts box trucks for parcel delivery companies and a variety of other applications. The company has a joint venture with Isuzu Motors of Japan to build a line of new, light-weight vans and is adding jobs to fill orders.

Wakarusa developed in the 20th century as a hub of manufacturing activity. The small town — with its wide, tree-lined streets and early 20th century homes with large front porches — is bordered by industrial plants to its east. The industrial complexes reach out to Ind. 19 and line that highway to the north and south of C.R. 40.

Besides building RVs, Navistar builds its eStar electric truck in town. Visitors gawk at the site of the quiet electric trucks being test-driven around the town, something the locals have become used to.

“It’s like you are in the space age,” Shively said. “It is two extremes — it’s where small town USA and high-tech meet. It is very cool.”

Monaco and Navistar not only provide jobs to the town’s residents, Shively said, but the companies provide vital financial support for town activities. The companies returned as sponsors of the annual Maple Syrup Festival last year, Shively said.

“It was nice to see that support come back,” she said.

But it is the paychecks and the turn of those dollars from Monaco workers that will boost the local economy the most.

“Hopefully we will get people moving in and they will plug into the community, shopping locally and attending events,” Shively said.

Shane Weldy knows all about the hard hurt the economic downturn has visited upon Wakarusa families. He had been selling insurance for home warranties to local real estate agencies when the recession killed his career. Since then he and his wife, Charlotte, opened The New To You resale shop on Elkhart Street and also work part-time jobs as well to get by.

“Four hundred jobs is a lot,” Weldy said. “If we can get people to move to town it would be great for the community.”

He said people visit his store all the time who say they would like to live in Wakarusa. Now, with jobs being created in town, Weldy believes that will help sell homes.

“It’s definitely going to help the market,” he said.

To read  the entire article click here.


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Oregon Facing Another Blow With Monaco Exit

August 3, 2011 by · Comments Off on Oregon Facing Another Blow With Monaco Exit 

Monaco RV LLC will quit making big luxury coaches in Oregon, and that means 450 Lane County workers will be out of a job by early next year.

The Register Guard, Eugene, reported that parent company Navistar International Corp. assembled its Coburg RV plant workers at 1 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 2) and delivered the long-expected news: To reduce excess manufacturing capacity, Navistar will consolidate its Monaco coach manufacturing at its Indiana plant. That will leave only 150 employees in Coburg.

“One guy was actually clapping,” probably out of frustration, said Barry Phillips, a 30-year-old floor installer at the plant.

The announcement caps years of wildly swinging ups and downs for the local Monaco work force, which already had been winnowed down in recent years from 2,200 to 600.

The employees went from record-breaking production in the mid-2000s to increased furloughs as the recession took hold to a massive layoff in late 2008 to a takeover by Navistar and rehiring with pay cuts — and now to a shutdown of motor coach manufacturing, which means curtains for the welders, cutters, assemblers and painters who worked on the RVs.

Many already have faced foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Lydia Short, 23, has worked at the plant for about a year after moving to Eugene from Indiana. She said she won’t go back to Indiana because her husband is a student at the University of Oregon.

“I’ll look for a job,” she said, “and that’s hard to do in Eugene.”

The layoffs will happen sometime in the next six to nine months, Monaco spokesman Steve Schrier said.

“They will continue making motorhomes here throughout the transition. It will not be a light switch event,” he said. “But at the end of the day, diesel motorhomes will be made at Wakarusa, Ind.”

After Navistar ends RV production here, about 150 workers will remain in Coburg to continue producing towable travel trailers, operate the Monaco RV service center and maintain other finance and information system functions for the company.

Navistar, which also makes trucks and truck engines, is having a good year financially. In the second quarter, its profits soared 86% compared to a year ago, to $80 million on sales of $3.3 billion, company financial statements show.

The departure from Lane County of 450 RV manufacturing jobs will leave only about 450 transportation equipment manufacturing jobs in the county, regional economist Brian Rooney said.

That’s 10% of the jobs the sector had in its 2005 heyday, when about 4,500 workers in Lane County were churning out motorhomes.

Monaco notified Oregon officials a month ago that it would consolidate RV manufacturing either at Coburg or Wakarusa, said Jack Roberts, executive director of Lane Metro Partnership, which recruits businesses.

Lane Metro Partnership, along with the Oregon Economic Development Department and the governor’s office, put together a pitch to persuade Navistar to keep the plant here, Roberts said.

“I’ve heard unofficially that the package we put forward was as good or better than theirs, but the fundamental advantage of being in the Midwest where a lot of their suppliers are — and where their connections are — made the difference,” Roberts said.

Coburg’s loss is Wakarusa’s gain. Economic development officials there were “elated” when the company said it would create 400 new jobs at its consolidated plant by next year.

The loss of the Monaco jobs is another blow for Lane County, where the unemployment rate was 9.4% in July.

The RV manufacturing jobs are part of a dwindling class of employment that pays well and has good benefits but doesn’t require a college degree, Rooney said. The broader community also will miss the Monaco paychecks, he said.

“You take that income out of the economy, it has a multiplier effect but in a negative way,” Rooney said. “Those jobs help support retail and services — and that can affect other services.”

The laid-off Monaco employees will have a struggle to find comparable work.

“The manufacturing that is here has been pretty flat,” Rooney said. “Some (former employees) may have to move out of the area.”

Roberts said he’s not giving up on the RV industry as a job creator in Lane County yet.

The demographics are favorable, Rooney said. Retired baby boomers buy the luxury coaches. The stock market has recovered, some, from its historic lows. And gas prices have receded a bit.

“We would love to be a part of this,” Roberts said. “But if that doesn’t happen, we’ll just have to find something else.”


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Elkhart County Welcomes Monaco Job Infusion

August 3, 2011 by · Comments Off on Elkhart County Welcomes Monaco Job Infusion 

Indiana’s Elkhart County got the kind of news Tuesday (Aug. 2) that communities dream about, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.

Navistar International Corp. announced plans to relocate all motor coach manufacturing for Monaco RV LLC from Coburg, Ore., to Wakarusa, creating up to 400 new jobs here by next year.

“We are elated,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.

“It’s terrific for the whole region,” said Phil Penn, president and chief executive of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.

The jobs are mostly assembly-line production with employees earning $15 an hour or more, Heiden-Guss said.

Heiden-Guss said there were several reasons why Wakarusa was selected.

“I think Gov. Daniels and Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob have worked very hard for the last couple years on consolidation projects to take place in Indiana because companies clearly, because of the market, are shrinking their product footprint. So when consolidations occur, normally our state is a contender for those projects.”

The logistics of Wakarusa and Elkhart County being so close to the Toll Road was another factor, she said.

“And thirdly, the supplier base and what already exists in Elkhart County as well as within the Michiana region,” she said. “From a cost of doing business, Indiana looks great.”

The fact that the company already employed 251 workers in Wakarusa did not hurt it, either, Heiden-Guss said. “They have a number of structures in Wakarusa that are not currently being used in full capacity,” she said.

Another factor was incentives given by the state of Indiana, which included offering Monaco up to $2.8 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $125,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans, according to figures in a release by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“It’s a given in today’s society,” Heiden-Guss said. “Anytime you can offset the initial burden of cost for a company, you do what you can.”

Wakarusa’s big break was in stark contrast to places like Coburg where 450 workers will be impacted by the move. Navistar also announced that it would be shutting down Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC operations in Union City, Ind., affecting 225 employees, along with a Chatham, Ontario, truck manufacturing facility that has been idled since June 2009.

“We are trying to make the best use of our capacity and assets,” said Karen Denning, a company spokeswoman.

Tuesday’s announcement comes a little more than three years after Monaco Coach, which eventually went bankrupt with its assets being purchased by Navistar, announced in July 2008 that it was cutting 1,400 from its work force besides the 500 it had cut earlier that year.

Monaco RV, owned by Navistar since 2009, manufactures RVs under brand names Holiday Rambler, Monaco Coach, Beaver, Safari, McKenzie and R-Vision, and utilizes some of the same facilities that Monaco Coach used for years in Wakarusa.

Monaco RV will invest more than $1 million to bring the additional production to Wakarusa.

“These folks live all over the place, they shop all over the place,” Penn said. “We’re a mobile society. It’s good for the whole region.”


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