Goshen News, Goshen, IN

June 3, 2013

Thor buys Navistar complex in Wakarusa


THE GOSHEN NEWS

ELKHART —  Thor Industries Inc. and Thor Wakarusa LLC, a subsidiary of Thor Industries, have purchased the former Monaco recreational vehicle production campus in Wakarusa.

According to Thor officials, the land and production facilities, including certain related equipment, are to be purchased from a company owned by New York-based American Industrial Partners.

Monaco was owned by Navistar International, which sold the brand to Allied Speciality Vehicles. The facility produced Monaco and Holiday Rambler RVs.

ASV announced in May that it would move production to its Decatur, Ind. facility, leaving 520 Wakarusa employees without jobs. Production of Monaco and Holiday Rambler RVs in Wakarusa is expected to last through August to fill orders.

Bob Martin, Thor president and chief operating officer, said, “This purchase marks an important step forward in the growth of our RV business. With this new production complex, we will be better positioned to achieve our long-term strategic growth initiatives. Even more compelling, this purchase will allow us to expand capacity faster and at a lower cost than other options. We are excited about the future prospects of reinvigorating the Wakarusa facilities.”

The Navistar facilities comprise nearly one million square feet of production space on more than 150 acres in Wakarusa. The complex includes more than 35 paint booths designed specifically for painting recreational vehicles, according to Thor officials. Initially, Thor plans to use the facilities for motorized production to better enable Thor Motor Coach to meet current and expected demand, and to integrate paint operations through a facility operated by Thor’s Keystone subsidiary. The facility includes space that offers the potential for additional production as well, according to the company.

Thor officials said transition planning will be finalized when Navistar vacates the facilities later this summer.

Jeff Kime, President of Thor Motor Coach, commented, “We are pleased to add the Wakarusa facilities to our existing motorhome campus in Elkhart, as this significant increase in capacity will help us continue our rapid growth.  We have been looking at a variety of options to meet the surging demand in the motorized RV market and purchasing the Wakarusa facility was an ideal solution to expand our motorhome production. In addition, it will enhance our ability to provide our outstanding dealer network with greater and more innovative products in the future.”