Spartan Introducing ‘Passive Steer Tag Axle’

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

                                                                                    Spartan Chassis Inc., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., introduced its new Passive Steer Tag Axle for motorhomes, producing a 7% reduction in curb-to-curb turning radius.

“Spartan’s Passive Steer Tag Axle has been designed, engineered and purpose-built for motorhomes in the recreational vehicle industry,” said Timothy Hamm, vice president, sales and business development of the specialty vehicles business unit, in a press release. “We take great pride in the competencies of the technical staff at Spartan and the ground-up approach they bring to chassis engineering. This passive tag is not an adaptation of an existing design.”

Spartan Chassis has designed and packaged its Passive Steer Tag Axle to “minimize intrusion” into the OEM’s floorplans. Additionally, reduced system mass achieved through a unique design enables increased cargo carrying capacity, depending on the configuration of the OEM’s floorplan.

When a motorhome equipped with the Spartan Passive Steer Tag Axle is shifted into reverse, the alignment mechanism automatically straightens the tires to further reduce tire wear.

The Passive Steer Tag Axle is standard equipment on the 2015 Newmar Corp. Essex and King Aire motorhomes on a Spartan Chassis platform.

Spartan custom manufactures chassis to the individual specifications of its RV OEM customers such as Entegra Coach, Newmar, and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc.

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Spartan Reports 1Q Loss; Revenue Grows 33%

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

                                                                                    Spartan Motors Inc., parent to Spartan Chassis Inc., reported a net loss for its first quarter, ended March 31, while revenue rose 33.2%.

Sales during the period totaled $128 million versus $96.1 million the year prior. The Charlotte Mich.-based company reported that its Specialty Chassis & Vehicles (SCV) unit reported lower first-quarter revenue and operating income compared to the previous year despite despite sales of motorhome and bus chassis edging up 6.8% to $21.8 million from $20.4 million.

Spartan incurred a net loss of $2.1 million, or 6 cents per share, versus a net loss of $4.3 million, or 13 cents per share a year ago.

CEO John Sztykiel noted, “In the first quarter of 2014, our DSV and Delivery & Service (SCV) segments reported operating profits while we continued to improve the performance of our Emergency Response (ER) group. DSV reported a $2.6 million operating profit and continued on their path to operating cost reductions. SCV was profitable for the quarter despite the anticipated drop in defense-related aftermarket parts revenue, demonstrating our focus on disciplined execution.”

Other highlights from the first quarter include:

• Gross margin of 10% of sales versus 6.6%.

• Operating loss of $3.5 million compared to an operating loss of $6.8 million.

• Cash balance of $27.2 million at March 31, 2014, compared to $16.6 million at March 31, 2013.

• Order backlog increased to $274 million at March 31, 2014, from $242.7 million at Dec. 31, 2013.

To view the full report click here.




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Spartan Chassis FMCA Chapter Marks 25 Years

March 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Chassis Inc., a business unit of Spartan Motors Inc., celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Spartan Chassis International Chapter (SCIC) of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) this week (March 17-20) during the FMCA’s 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Perry, Ga.

According to a press release, the SCIC was founded by Marsh Carson and Scott Brady after generating support among other Spartan owners and was chartered as an official chapter on March 8, 1989, with the FMCA.

“SCIC members are Spartan Chassis’ true ambassadors of the product,” said Timothy Hamm, vice president, sales and business development of the specialty vehicles business unit, Spartan Chassis. “Spartan Chassis is grateful that SCIC members tout the quality of Spartan products. Owners who run on a Spartan chassis continuously speak to the ride quality, handling and dependability.”

Spartan Chassis associates joined current SCIC President Bob Clipfell and several SCIC members during the Perry Rally to commemorate the founding of the organization and the 25 anniversary. While at the gathering, SCIC members learned about several upcoming innovations to be featured beginning with the 2015 model year.

Immediately following the Perry rally, the SCIC attendees proceeded up the East Coast for its “Hop, Skip and Jump Post Rally,” featuring stops in Hardeeville, Ga. (March 21-23), Hollywood, S.C. (March 24-26) and Myrtle Beach, S.C. (March 27-29).

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FMCA Report: Innovation Drives Spartan Chassis

March 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

At the rolling stage in Spartan Chassis factory, the engine, emissions equipment, and driveline components are added.

Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by Mark Quasius for the March issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine published by the Cincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)offers an overview of Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Chassis Inc. A division of Spartan Motors Inc., the company specializes in the design, engineering and production of specialty chassis and vehicles for myriad applications, including motorhomes. For the full report click here.

Motorhome owners are quite familiar with the Spartan chassis, which has been used as the foundation of a large selection of motorhomes for a number of years. But Spartan also is well known for its emergency response vehicles, defense vehicles, delivery vans, and trucks.

The Spartan Chassis company dates back to 1975 when Diamond Reo Inc., producer of trucks and other vehicles, went bankrupt. A group of four young engineers decided to strike out on their own and continue doing what they knew best, which was building trucks. Their goal to produce well-engineered custom trucks led to success, and Spartan Chassis grew.

Spartan entered the RV chassis business in 1986 and produced its first diesel-pusher RV chassis the following year. In 1996 a cooperative venture with Granning resulted in the introduction of independent front suspension (IFS) to the RV market. Continued engineering advances led to the production of a mid-engine diesel-pusher chassis in 2002, and the pioneering of an electronic ride height control system in 2003. Spartan also introduced the 650-horsepower K3 chassis in 2005, a no-camber design that eliminated bowed frames during the coach-building process. A joint engineering effort with TRW resulted in the introduction of Comfort Drive steering in 2006.

Today Spartan Chassis is a division of Spartan Motors Inc. In addition to Spartan Chassis’ offerings, the parent company designs, engineers, and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies, and aftermarket parts for the emergency response, government services, defense, delivery, fleet, and service markets. Spartan Motors collectively employs approximately 1,800 workers at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, and Florida.

A trip around the Spartan Chassis plant in Charlotte, Michigan, reveals a flurry of activity. The defense segment is producing mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, such as the Cougar, to protect U.S. troops from the dangers of land mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Spartan recently received the Gold Medal Award from the Department of Defense for the fourth year in a row with a perfect score of 100. This distinction is in recognition of its quality control and on-time delivery. In fact, Spartan was one of only 38 companies out of nearly 6,000 suppliers to receive this award.

The company’s Emergency Response Vehicle segment is filled with fire apparatus custom-designed to each customer’s specifications. The familiar UPS and FedEx delivery vans are also being produced by Spartan in record numbers, although some of them are handled by the company’s Utilimaster facility in Bristol, Indiana.

Current RV Chassis

Spartan offers chassis with front, rear, or mid-engine designs, but the bulk of its RV chassis segment centers around three basic models. The most popular is the Mountain Master GT; this model is equipped with a Cummins ISL engine ranging between 380 and 450 horsepower and is coupled with an Allison 3000 MH transmission. Chassis can be custom-ordered by an RV builder and fitted with solid front axles or IFS and with disc or drum brakes.

Spartan also produces rear-radiator models, as well as chassis with hydraulic-fan-driven side radiators. The 500-horsepower K2 chassis steps up to the larger Cummins ISX12 engine and incorporates a side radiator equipped with a mechanical fan drive. IFS and front disc brakes are typical on the K2.

The 600-horsepower K3 chassis is the king of the field. A Cummins ISX15 engine is coupled with an Allison 4000 MH transmission. IFS, disc brakes on all three axles, automatic traction control, Hadley air leveling, and a side radiator with mechanical fan drive are all optional features on this chassis.

Every RV chassis is put on a chassis dynamometer and tested to verify powertrain operation and to test all of the electrical accessories and gauge functions. A laser wheel alignment is performed at the factory, but each motorhome builder must also check the wheel alignment once a coach is completed to allow for changes that may have occurred from the additional weight.

For the full report click here.


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Spartan Hires Timothy Hamm to Drive RV Sales

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Chassis Inc., a business unit of Spartan Motors Inc., announced the addition of Timothy Hamm as vice president, sales and business development, specialty vehicles. According to a press release, the hiring of Hamm demonstrates Spartan Chassis’s continued commitment to the recreational vehicle industry.

“Spartan Chassis is fortunate to be able to welcome someone of Tim Hamm’s caliber to the team. His sales and extensive RV experience will aid in our continued development process,” said Russell Chick, executive director, sales, program management and business development at Spartan Motors Specialty Vehicles. “Tim’s wealth of experience in the industry and his experience driving business success, will aid Spartan Motors Specialty Vehicles in continued business development and improvements. With that experience, Tim will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the RV business at Spartan.”

Hamm joins Spartan Chassis after serving as regional manager for St. Paul, Minn.-based H.B. Fuller. During his tenure with the company, Hamm was responsible for the acquisition of several accounts and incremental sales.

Hamm will be located full time in Indiana’s Elkhart County and will maintain his office in Bristol, where Spartan Motors has offices and manufacturing facilities. He will report to Russell Chick who is located in Charlotte, Mich., at the Spartan Motors headquarters location.

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Spartan Reporting 11.7% Growth in 3Q Revenue

October 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Motors Inc., parent to industry supplier Spartan Chassis Inc., reported an 11.7% increase in revenue during its third quarter, ended Sept. 30.

Sales during the period totaled $126.1 million compared to $112.9 million a year ago. After an income tax provision of $1.3 million to adjust income tax expense for 2013 to a projected 20% rate for the year, Spartan reported net income of $0.6 million, or 2 cents per diluted share, versus a net loss of $0.3 million, or 1 cent per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012.

Third-quarter operating income totaled $1.8 million compared with an operating loss of $0.3 million the year prior. Spartan reported a cash balance of $20 million as of September 30, up from $15.6 million at June 30, 2013.

Spartan CEO John Sztykiel noted, “The third quarter was another quarter in which we executed the plan, the “I” in DRIVE (Integrated Operational Improvement), and delivered improved operating results. All three of our segments, Emergency Response (ER), Delivery and Service (DSV), and Specialty Vehicles (SV), posted operating income, a reflection that DRIVE is delivering positive results across Spartan Motors. Our backlog grew by 37.8% compared to Q3 2012, and we improved our cash position by $4.4 million from June 30, 2013, both positive indicators as we close out 2013.

“DRIVE is working, and we are moving forward. This progress is expected to lead to better operating performance in the fourth quarter of 2013 and into 2014. With our major operational initiatives showing positive results and our greatest challenges behind us, we are shifting more attention to generating diversified growth.”

For the first nine months, Spartan reported revenue of $343.1 million versus $346.1 million in the same period of 2012. The decline in revenue from the prior year was due to the disruption caused by Utilimaster’s move of walk-in van production to Bristol, Ind., in the first quarter of 2013 and the completion of a large field service solutions program in mid-2012. Spartan booked an operating loss of $3.9 million for 2013 year-to-date, compared to operating income of $0.2 million for the first three quarters of 2012.

To view the full report click here.

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Spartan 2Q Sales Increase on Chassis Strength

August 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Motors Inc., parent to Spartan Chassis Inc, reported lower net income for its second quarter on an increase in revenue, boosted by improved motorhome sales.

The Charlotte, Mich.-based firm posted sales of $120.9 million, up 5.7% from $114.4 million a year ago. Net income totaled $0.7 million, or 2 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.4 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the year prior.

For the six months, Spartan reported sales of $270 million versus $233.2 million the previous year while the company incurred a net loss of $3.6 million compared with net income of $0.3 million.

The Specialty Vehicle (SV) segment drove Spartan’s revenue growth for the second quarter. Demand for the company’s custom chassis grew, particularly for RV and bus applications, which led to a revenue increase of 42.9% year-over-year. Operating income for the SV segment rose sharply to $3.9 million from $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2012. Growth in operating income was due to higher revenue in the most recent quarter, as well as the operational improvement actions taken in this segment over the past year.

John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors Inc., stated, “For Spartan, the second quarter of 2013 was about demonstrating operational improvement in every market segment from the first quarter of 2013 and backlog growth, both sequentially and year-over-year. The Company generated improved results by implementing the D (Diversified Growth) and I (Integrated Operational Improvement) in DRIVE. We expect improved results in the third and fourth quarters of 2013 as we execute our DRIVE strategy and deliver on our shareholder commitments.”

He added, “Eighteen months ago, the motorhome and bus chassis business was a serious drag on Spartan’s earnings. In early 2012, we began executing the DRIVE strategy in a disciplined manner, increasing revenue and operating profit. The success we have demonstrated in the SV segment should enhance confidence that we will successfully address the operational challenges we are working through in the Emergency Response Vehicles and Delivery & Service Vehicles units.”

Gross margin for the second quarter of 2013 was 12.9% of sales versus 16.4% for the second quarter of 2012. Operating expenses were reduced by $0.3 million from the second quarter of 2012, to $14.6 million from $14.9 million.

The company also reported on its relocation of Utilimaster operations from Wakarusa, Ind., to nearby Bristol.

John Forbes, president of Utilimaster, noted, “Production launch activities at Bristol continued throughout the second quarter. Production increased from 93 units in the first quarter of 2013 to 914 units in the second quarter. Daily vehicle output continues to increase and we are meeting delivery commitments to our customers. Our team continues to make progress on materials storage and distribution, improving production processes and increasing daily unit volumes in our operations.”

To view the entire report click here.


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Spartan Posts 1Q Net Loss; RV Revenue Rises

May 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Motors Inc., parent to Spartan Chasis Inc., reported a net loss for its first quarter, ended March 31, on a 19% decline in revenue.

Sales during the three-month period totaled $96.1 million versus $118.8 million in the first quarter of 2012 due to a decline in sales in the Delivery & Service (DSV) segment. Spartan posted a net loss of $4.3 million, 13 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2 million, or 6 cents per diluted share a year ago, primarily due to the impact of lower revenue, an accrual for a product recall and costs related to the move of walk-in van production to Bristol, Ind.

John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors, stated, “As we indicated in our fourth quarter 2012 press release and conference call, we expected an operating loss in the first quarter of 2013. Most of the loss during the quarter was due to lower DSV revenue and expenses incurred to move and start walk-in van production at Bristol. During the first quarter, we moved the bulk of our Utilimaster business 22 miles to a much more efficient plant and began ramping up production. Our relocation plan was aggressive and complex, so it is not surprising that we encountered some growing pains during the launch phase at Bristol.”

He added, “We believe the first quarter will prove to be the most difficult quarter of 2013 and is now behind us. Although meeting our targets for the rest of the year is not without its own challenges, I have confidence in our people, our plan and our ability to turn strong backlog growth of 41.1% from the end of 2012, into a profitable second quarter and full year 2013.”

Sales in the company’s Specialty Vehicle segment, which services the RV industry, totaled $29.3 million in the first quarter of 2013 versus $26.1 million in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 12.3%. The revenue increase was due to higher sales of recreational vehicle chassis and aftermarket parts and accessories (APA), more than offsetting a net decline in production of other specialty vehicles. Chassis sales rose by $2 million to $20.4 million in the first quarter of 2013 while APA sales totaled $6.9 million, up $2.2 million from the first quarter of 2012.

Other highlights included:

• Emergency Response (ER) revenue rose 2.9% to $34.9 million from $33.9 million.

• Delivery & Service (DSV) revenue declined 45.7% to $31.9 million from $58.8 million.

• Gross margin of 6.6% of sales versus 11.6% in the first quarter of 2012.

• Operating loss of $6.8 million compared to an operating loss of $3.4 million in Q1 2012.

• Consolidated order backlog at March 31, 2013, increased 41.1% to $228.6 million versus $162.0 million at December 31, 2012, and up 64.5% from $135.7 million at March 31, 2012.

• Cash balance of $16.6 million at March 31, 2013, compared to $21.7 million at December 31, 2012.

Looking forward, Spartan’s interim CFO Lori Wade noted, “We expect the company to be modestly profitable in the second quarter of 2013, with improving profitability during the second half of 2013. We expect Spartan to be profitable for the year as a whole. For the year, we expect to realize mid-single-digit revenue growth.

To view the entire report click here.

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Spartan’s CFO, Treasurer Nowicki Steps Down

March 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Spartan Motors Inc., parent to Spartan Chassis Inc., today (March 6) announced that Joseph M. Nowicki is stepping down as CFO and treasurer to accept a position with another company. Lori L. Wade has been named Interim CFO and treasurer, effective March 22.

“Joe Nowicki was instrumental in building our finance team and in leading our business transformation,” said John Sztykiel, CEO of Spartan Motors, Inc. “Due to Joe’s financial leadership, Spartan has a solid balance sheet with great liquidity. We wish him the very best in his new position.

“I am pleased that Lori Wade has agreed to take on the additional duties of interim CFO. She knows our business well and has the support of the entire company in her new role, and particularly the support of a tremendous finance team.”

Wade has served as the company’s executive director of finance since February 2008. Prior to joining Spartan, she spent more than 21 years at Eaton Corp. where she served as worldwide Sarbanes-Oxley manager, logistics center controller and other financial management positions.

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Spartan Incurs 4Q Net Loss on Increased Sales

February 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors Inc. reported a net loss on higher revenue for its fourth quarter.

The company, parent to Spartan Chassis Inc., said fourth-quarter revenue totaled $124.5 million compared to $111.2 million a year ago, an increase of 12.0%. For the three-month period, Spartan reported a net loss of $2.5 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $0.7 million, or 2 cents per diluted share.

Excluding pre-tax restructuring charges of $1.4 million and a $1.9 million earn-out accrual related to the 2009 purchase of Utilimaster Corp., Spartan posted an adjusted net income of $0.5 million, or 1 cent per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2012.

For the full year, Spartan posted revenue of $470.6 million, an increase of 10.5% from 2011 revenue of $426 million. The company reported a net loss of $2.5 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $0.8 million, or 2 cents per diluted share, in 2011.

Results for 2012 include pre-tax restructuring charges of $9.1 million and an earn-out accrual of $2.9 million, while for 2011 Spartan incurred pre-tax restructuring charges of $2.8 million and a $1.0 million earn-out accrual. On an adjusted basis, excluding restructuring charges and the Utilimaster earn-out, Spartan’s 2012 earnings were $6.3 million, or $0.19 per diluted share compared to $3.6 million, or $0.11 per diluted share in 2011, an increase of 75.0%.

CEO John Sztykiel stated, “The fourth quarter and full year 2012 reflected Spartan’s diversified growth strategy, with fourth-quarter revenues rising 12% over last year and full-year revenues up 10.5% from 2011. We also posted full-year adjusted earnings growth compared to 2011 and a total order backlog that increased 20.0% from year end 2011. Revenue growth was a result of Spartan’s brand strength, new product initiatives and market recovery. In addition to generating revenue growth, we did a very good job of managing operating expenses and the balance sheet.

“Although we posted sales and adjusted earnings growth in 2012, our results also show that we have more work to do on improving operations, particularly the gross margin.”

Spartan also reported that Utilimaster’s relocation from Wakarusa, Ind., to Bristol continues, with most of the physical move to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2013. Production of walk-in vans is expected to begin at the end of the first quarter of 2013 with the move substantially completed during the second quarter.

Spartan closed the sale on 15 of the 16 buildings at its Wakarusa, Ind., complex to Forest River Inc. The company retains one building at Wakarusa, currently held for sale.

To view the entire report click here.

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