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    December 2003 Volume 29 - Number 5    

Business News     


    

Coachmen Celebrates Opening of New Motorhome Plant

Facility to Add 175 Jobs, Build New Concord • and Other Class C Models

Local and state dignitaries celebrate opening of new Coachmen motorhome plant Left to right: Gary O’Dell, President of the Middlebury Town Council; Phil Penn, President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce; Indiana Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis; Coachmen Co-Founder Tom Corson; Michael Terlep, President of Coachmen RV Company. Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company employees and executives were joined by Indiana Lt. Governor Kathy Davis and other state and local dignitaries to celebrate the grand opening of the Company’s newest production facility.

“This new motorhome plant is symbolic of the achievements of our past as well as our promising future. Coachmen RV Company has a proud 40-year history made possible by the hard work of our many valued Team Members. Dedicated Coachmen employees continue to build on our successes as we carry our Company’s legacy into the future,” said Michael R. Terlep, President of Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company.

Because of strong demand for its Class C motorhomes, Coachmen designed this 127,000 square-foot plant specifically for Class C production. The plant is Coachmen’s largest and is expected to create up to 175 new jobs when it reaches full production capacity.

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“The investment in this new plant demonstrates Coachmen’s commitment to the long-term growth of our Company, our community and our industry,” said Claire C. Skinner, Chairman, CEO and President of Coachmen Industries, Inc., the parent Company of Coachmen RV Company. “In terms of retail market share, Coachmen is the number two name in Class C’s. The additional manufacturing capacity and increased production rates afforded us by this new plant should help drive market share gains for Coachmen at both the retail and wholesale levels.”

“Today’s announcement reflects Coachmen’s commitment to producing innovative, quality products right here in Indiana,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis. “This new Middlebury plant creates a win-win situation for the company and residents as we look towards increased production and up to 175 employment opportunities.”

One of the models currently being produced in the new plant is the just-introduced Concord™, a downsized Class C motorhome without the normal front overhead bunk area and with a curved, eye-catching design. The Concord has been enjoying rave reviews from dealers and consumers. Coachmen’s popular Freedom™, Freelander ™, Leprechaun®, Santara®, and Shasta® Cheyenne™ Class C models will also be built in the new plant.

The plant, which began producing the Concord in August and Coachmen’s conventional Class C’s in October, features two assembly lines that allow for increased production efficiency by segregating production based on the complexity of models. It also includes over 24,000 sq. ft. of mezzanines for offline manufacturing processes, such as assembling cabinets and other modules, providing improved material flow and manufacturing processes. Cranes will lower finished sections for installation in the motorhomes.

The new plant provides Coachmen RV Company with much-needed additional production capacity to meet growing demand for its overall lineup of Class A and Class C motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels. Last July, when Coachmen introduced its 2004 models to its dealer body, the Company received $100 million in orders for its products, leading to an RV order backlog that was 78% larger on Sept. 30 than it was on June 30. “Our products are capturing the attention of the market at both wholesale and retail levels. The result is increased demand for our RVs and we are now 22 December 2003 RV NEWS Coachmen Celebrates Opening of New Motorhome Plant Facility to Add 175 Jobs, Build New Concord • and Other Class C Models Local and state dignitaries celebrate opening of new Coachmen motorhome plant Left to right: Gary O’Dell, President of the Middlebury Town Council; Phil Penn, President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce; Indiana Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis; Coachmen Co-Founder Tom Corson; Michael Terlep, President of Coachmen RV Company. fully prepared to meet that demand,” noted Terlep.

In addition, the third quarter of 2003 was the best in four years for Coachmen Industries, Inc. Its earnings were up 25% compared to the third quarter of 2002, and 89% higher than the second quarter of this year. Sales for Coachmen Industries’ RV segment rose 20% from its third quarter 2002 figures. “Thanks to the talented employees at Coachmen, we have tremendous momentum in the market place, which makes the timing perfect for launching our newest state-ofthe- art production facility. This plant, as well as the investments we’ve made in several other manufacturing facilities throughout our Company, will provide continued growth for Coachmen as we build upon our momentum,” added Terlep.

“We’re delighted Coachmen chose to expand their operations here,” said Phil Penn, President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. “They’re a leader in Elkhart County’s leading industry, and we’re pleased with their continuing strength and growth. They’re a homegrown company that we know will be here for a long time. We’re very proud of Coachmen RV Company and what it means to this area.”

Gary O'Dell, President of the Middlebury Town Council, is also pleased with Coachmen’s expansion. “This is good for our community and good for Coachmen, and we should all reap the benefits of new jobs coming here. We’re very happy that Coachmen wants to stay here in Middlebury.”

Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, LLC markets travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, class A and class C motorhomes. A subsidiary of Elkhart, Indiana-based Coachmen Industries, Inc., Coachmen RV Company was founded in 1964 in Middlebury, Ind., where its headquarters and largest manufacturing facility are located. Manufacturing sites are also located in Goshen, IN, and Fitzgerald, GA. WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort has designated Coachmen as the official recreational vehicle of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and Disney's Wide World of Sports™ complex in Florida. Coachmen can be seen on the Discovery Channel’s hit television series, Monster House.


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